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Overweight Passenger Policies

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Special-size Passenger Policies

It is no big secret that airline coach seats are not exactly spacious. Passengers often sit cramped and uncomfortable for the duration of their travels, as airline seats have shrunk significantly in the past few decades, making the process of flying less comfortable. Today, many passengers find that they have just enough space in their seat to buckle up and remain in virtually the same position during their flight.

However, there are some flyers who find they do not have enough space to even sit in their seat and buckle their seatbelt. These passengers are referred to as passengers of size, and many airlines require that these passengers pay an additional fee to have a second seat. In general, obese passengers on airlines who require a seatbelt extender and/or cannot lower the armrests between seats are asked to pay for a second seat on their flight, unless there are two empty seats together somewhere on the plane.

Special size passengers have little to no choice when it comes to this rule. Every airline has an overweight passenger policy, and passengers are required to accept the rule. Since each airline has its own policy, airline passengers of size need to become familiar with the policies of their airline prior to travel.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines emphasizes the safety and comfort of all its passengers. For customers who need additional space that extends beyond the confines of a single seat, the airline encourages proactively purchasing the necessary number of seats prior to travel. This approach ensures adequate planning for the number of occupied seats onboard and prevents unplanned accommodations that may cause inconvenience to other passengers. The armrest is considered the definitive boundary between seats.

The airline is considerate of such needs, and customers can request a refund of the cost of the additional seating post-travel. If a customer prefers not to pre-purchase an additional seat, they can opt for one seat and discuss their seating requirements with the Customer Service Agent at the departure gate. If it is decided that more seating is necessary, a complimentary additional seat will be provided.

American Airlines

American Airlines advocates for customers' safety and comfort throughout their journey. If a customer needs more space that transcends a single seat, the airline requires the purchase of an additional seat. It urges customers to address their seating requirements when booking their tickets.

To ensure the comfort of all passengers, if customers didn’t pre-book an extra seat, they can ask an airport agent if two adjacent seats are available. There's also an option to be offered a seat in a higher class of service for more space, with the customer bearing the fare difference. If the desired seating accommodations can't be made on the originally planned AA flight, customers have the option to book seats on a different flight for the same price as their original seats.

United Airlines

United Airlines emphasizes that customers must be able to sit safely and comfortably in their seats. If a customer is unable to fit comfortably within a single seat in United Economy®, they are obliged to purchase an additional seat for each part of their journey. The fare for the second seat is the same as the original if both are purchased concurrently.

Should a customer fail to meet certain criteria, such as properly attaching and wearing the seat belt, staying seated with the armrest(s) down for the entire flight, and not significantly encroaching upon adjacent seating space, they must buy an additional seat or upgrade. If an additional seat isn't available on the confirmed United flight, the customer is obliged to rebook on the next United flight with sufficient seats. The baggage allowance is determined by the number of seats purchased. When two seats are bought by one customer, the checked baggage allowance is doubled, although the carry-on allowance isn’t.

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines is committed to ensuring the comfort of its passengers during travel. While it does not necessitate the purchase of an additional seat for passengers requiring a seatbelt extender or those unable to lower the armrest, the airline encourages such passengers to buy an extra seat for their comfort.

Delta emphasizes that any passenger whose physical dimensions extend into another passenger's space may be requested to move to another seat that offers more space or, in the event of a fully booked flight, be asked to opt for a later flight with available seating. To prevent such potential discomfort and inconvenience, the airline recommends that passengers consider purchasing an extra seat.

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