Seated Next To a Fat Person On a Plane: What To Do?

Getting through a long-distance flight is difficult enough. Regardless if you are flying for business or pleasure, there is nothing agreeable about spending 7 to 10 hours (or more!) inside a flying sardine can.

Being seated right next to an overweight passenger can make the experience even more terrible! Commercial planes may be getting bigger and bigger these days, but their economy seats are getting smaller and smaller. This is why everyone cannot help but pray before boarding to be seated next to a person who is also of average weight.

So what should you do upon finding out that you are seated next to an overweight person on a plane? Have a word with the flight attendant. It has to be done away from earshot of everybody, including especially the obese person who’s seated beside you. Asking to be seated elsewhere is best done in the galley to avoid offending the fat passenger who may be as uncomfortable as you are.

There are actually a few other things that you may do if you are not happy being next to an overweight passenger for the next few hours of your life. If you want to learn some of the most effective steps that you may take, keep on reading this article.

Bear in mind the tips and tricks you will encounter in a few, and you can rest assured that being seated next to a big person does not have to make your flight a nightmarish experience.

How to Effectively Escape Such Massive Flight-Related Issue

Pressure, friction, warmth, sweat — these are just some of the things that you may constantly encounter for as long as you are seated right next to a passenger whose build is much larger than that of everybody else.

That is why being on a flight in which the seat beside you is given to an overweight individual can be very distressing! You may find yourself asking, “what did I do to deserve this?” Well, if there’s a question that you should be asking yourself, it should instead be “what can I do to get out of this unfortunate situation?”

Other than the tip already given early on in this article, there are a few other things that you may try. Yes, sitting beside an obese individual, thousand of feet in the air need not wreak havoc on your flight.

See which of the following would work best for you:

Upgrade to business or first class

There is a world of difference between economy and business or first class, and one of the things that set the two apart is that the seats are generally wider in business or first class. And there’s more legroom available for you to enjoy, too!

Upgrading to business or first class not only saves you from fighting for your personal space but also allows you to travel in style.

Make friends with an overweight person

Have no budget for upgrading to the business of first class? There’s a cost-free way to deal with the problem. And it is none other than trying to be friends with the overweight human being right next to you.

Yes, he or she is a human being with feelings just like you. Being friends with him or she can make an uncomfortable flight more bearable.

Just suck it up

Just in case a big guy sitting right next to you does not show any willingness to be friends with you, then you may have to make peace with the fact that you have no other choice but to accept the unpleasant circumstance with open arms.

Grumbling can drain your energy, which can make flying exhausting and horrid. Especially if you will have to put up with it for just a couple of hours, just ride it out.

Get rid of excess weight

If you’re big, it is definitely a huge disaster if you get seated next to another big person on a flight! No matter where you get seated, it is for certain that you will feel uncomfortable and make others feel that way, too.

This is why if you weigh more than necessary, you should consider shedding off excess pounds. Aside from making long-distance flights easier to bear, it also lets you live a long and happy life.

But wait — there is something else that may be done about it. So don’t stop reading now!

Some Airline Companies Refuse to Take Things Sitting Down

Planes were not really designed with the proper accommodation of obese passengers in mind. The economy seats they’re installed with are the one-size-fits-all kind. All people who travel the economy, including overweight persons themselves, know for a fact that the comfort of all passengers is not the main concern of airline seats anyway.

The good news is that even though it is true that all economy seats have the same sizes, different airlines have varying courses of action when it comes to accommodating their overweight passengers. Thanks to these policies, there is hope for someone like you who feels that you do not deserve to be deprived of much-deserved personal space on a flight.

Let’s check out how some of the most popular airline companies these days attempt to deal with the matter:

  • United Airlines. If an overweight person cannot fit comfortably in one seat, then he or she will have to pay for another seat. The individual will be asked to buy one more seat (whose price is set at the day of departure) prior to taking off if he or she was not able to do so ahead of time.
  • Southwest Airlines. Unlike United Airlines, Southwest Airlines does not require an overweight passenger to buy one more seat if he or she cannot fit properly in a single seat. However, he or she is strongly advised to talk to the gate agent so that a better seating arrangement may be carried out.
  • Hawaiian Airlines. The airline company recommends an overweight passenger to buy a couple of seats in advance or upgrade to business or first class where seats are much wider. Or he or she may contact customer service and request to be seated right next to an empty seat.
  • American Airlines. An overweight passenger has no other choice but to buy two seats if he or she is not able to fit comfortably in just one. This is true, especially if his or her body extends more than 1 inch from the edge of the armrest. Buying one more seat is also the step that has to be taken if the individual needs a seat belt extension.
  • Delta Airlines. A couple of things may be done by a passenger who is larger than everyone else. First, he or she may upgrade to business or first class. Second, the person may contact the airline company ahead of time to ask to be seated next to a vacant seat.
  • Allegiant Airlines. The airline company has only one policy when it comes to accommodating an obese person. And that is none other than purchasing an extra seat if he or she is too big to fit in the seat with the armrests in the down position. He or she will not be allowed to travel if the flight is sold out, and he or she failed to buy one more seat.

As you can see, many airline companies are aware of the hassle of being seated to an overweight passenger. That is why they have different policies when it comes to accommodating a large person. So when traveling by air, it is definitely a good idea for you to choose your airline company very well.

Related Questions

Can I buy two seats for myself just to be safe?

Unfortunately, your favorite airline company may allow you to purchase an extra seat only when certain criteria are met. Some of them include being overweight, being disabled, or carrying a large musical instrument.

Which airlines have wider seats and bigger legroom?

Some of those that are known to provide much-needed space in the economy are (in order) JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines.

Reed Harris

Reed is a traveler and blogger. He's planning to visit all states in the USA. He's been in 31 states so far.

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