Starting February 1st, overweight passengers on Air France may have the option of paying no additional money for a second seat. Since 2005, Air France’s system for overweight customers has allowed travelers to buy a second seat at a 25% discount. But starting next month, Air France will refund overweight travelers who have booked a second ticket if the economy section is not fully booked.
Air France also released a statement in conjunction with this new change denying a report that they would force overweight customers to purchase two seats. However, Air France has reserved the right to refuse overweight passengers to board full flights should the passenger not fit comfortably in one seat. Air France reiterated that these measures are not to force people into buying two tickets or humiliate passengers who are overweight, but to allow travelers the room they want in order to have the best travel experience available.
In recent years, many different airlines have had to grapple with complaining travelers, both overweight and their seat partners who feel intruded on in their purchased travel space. In an effort to accomodate all types of travelers, new options are being offered by many other airlines as well.
United Airlines says any one passenger who cannot fit in one seat must purchase an additional one, unless the plane is not full and in which case the second seat is free. Southwest refunds the second seat if seat are open and available. Many airlines determine overweight status by whether or not both armrests can be lowered and seat belt can be securely fastened over the passenger.
What do you think? Should all passengers have to pay for the space they inhabit on the plane or should airlines help out those in need of a little extra room?