SINGAPORE: Amidst air travel reaching an all-time high around this time of year since most people are going on vacation, a Singaporean recently raised the issue of whether plus-size passengers should need to book two seats on flights rather than just one.

“Do you think it should be made mandatory for plus size people to book 2 seats instead of 1?” u/Asta2019 wrote on Reddit r/SingaporeRaw on Friday (Dec 29). “So I was on a flight from LA to SG and I am being squeezed by this plus size lady that I nearly suffocated. I tried to get a refund from the airline but they didn’t reimburse me the money,” the post author shared.

Netizens call for Airlines to mandate plus-size people to get two seats

One wrote: “Unpopular opinion: Airlines should be mandating two seat purchase for people beyond a specific waistline if they already are scrutinizing our luggage size so stingily.”

Another one added that in addition to waistlines, those who had “huge shoulders” should also be required to book two seats.

“Don’t think it should be just waistline, I just spent an uncomfortable trip with someone in the middle seat who had huge shoulders. He was in the middle seat and because of politeness rules, it meant he spread across both my aisle seat and the window seat. I fit nicely in my seat, annoying when others encroach.”

Another user suggested that “airlines should just make seats bigger without any extra charges / price increase”.

However, several netizens dismissed the idea and said this would increase air ticket prices.

SG Airlines tops for plus-sized people

At the moment, Singapore Airlines is hailed throughout the nation as having the best aircraft for plus-sized travellers. The seat widths for long-haul Economy class vary from 71 to 76 centimetres (28 to 30 inches). 

On a long-range flight, however, one should purchase a business-class ticket for the most comfortable seating. The airline’s business class boasts a spacious chair with a pitch of 152 cm (60 in) and a width of up to 76 cm (30 in).

Do airlines have policies regarding plus-sized people?

Airlines have different policies when it comes to plus-size individuals. While some don’t force them to purchase two tickets, others have incorporated it into their policy.

In 2008, the Canadian Transportation Agency implemented the “one person, one fare” policy, which stipulates that individuals who are obese are entitled to two seats for the price of one on domestic flights.

Parallel to this, airlines in Australia are not allowed to charge passengers different prices depending on the size of their bodies, according to the Australian Consumer Law.

Southwest Airlines in the US has also made it a rule to give away free ‘extra seats’ to plus-sized passengers, which has received praise from all over the globe.

Other airlines, meanwhile, have tight policies mandating that passengers who are ‘plus-sized’ should buy two tickets.

Budget international carrier Scoot, for example, has included in its policy: “If you are a guest of size who requires 2 seats … fares and fees for 2 guests apply.”

Additionally, Allegiant Air made it clear that customers who cannot comfortably fit into the 17.8-inch seat with the armrests down must reserve two seats at the time of booking.