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AirTran to force plus-size passengers to buy second seat

October 13, 2011

Plus-size passenger

Plus-size passenger

Sitting on an airplane next to a plus-size passenger is definitely not a great experience to fly, especially now when most airlines are squeezing leg-space and space in between seats. So after receiving many complaints from customers, AirTran will force overweight passengers to buy a second seat.

Similar to its parent company, Southwest Airlines, flight attendants and check-in staff of AirTran will identify those who can’t sit in a single seat with the armrest lowered and require them to buy a second place, starting March next year.

Southwest or AirTran never had any definitive ‘customers of size’ policy, but employees at the airport gate usually offered a second seat or an upgrade for a fee to passengers considered larger than average. The policy states that ‘Customers of size,’ are those ‘who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat[s]. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats.’

What if there are open seats on the airplane? In that case plus-size passengers who have been charged for an extra seat will be entitled apply for a refund.

And by the way, excess baggage fees on AirTran will also increase from $50 to $110 per item from April as part of the merger.

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