April 18, 2009

Rights group seeks United policy change

The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance says the U.S. carrier United Airlines should change its policy regarding overweight passengers.

The civil rights organization said in a news release Friday that United's new policy of charging over-sized passengers for two seats when necessary is discriminatory.

Tall, short, thin or fat, broad shoulders, wide hips or longer legs "¦ people come in all sizes and it is rare for any coach seat to provide a comfortable and pleasant travel experience, the group said in its release. The responsibility of serving customers of all sizes is the cost of doing business in today's modern world and that cost should not come at the expense of any one group of individuals.

An unidentified United spokeswoman said her company's new policy is focused on making all passengers comfortable, not just forcing an overweight individual to buy two tickets.

Under United guidelines, an overweight passenger is seen as someone who is physically incapable of fitting into a single seat or who cannot properly buckle their seatbelt or have their armrest fully down when seated.