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Squawks & HeadlinesAirline launches in-flight 'couch' for hefty passengers

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Airline launches in-flight 'couch' for hefty passengers

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Samoa Air has taken the next lunge in the debate on air travel and overweight fliers with a new extra-large seat for extra-wide passengers. (edition.cnn.com) More...

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tcmarks
Tim Marks 3
Weight is everything to an airline. As people in general have increased in size, the calculations for weight & balance, fuel load and cargo load have become more challenging. Seats should be 'sized' for the passengers that will be flying, narrower seats with less pitch for smaller people and wider seats with more pitch for larger passengers. If you are bringing along a 50lb. check-in and 40lb. carry-on bags, then they get charged like the freight in the cargo hold, by the pound. The implementation of the total weight ticket by Samoa Air should be appluded as it creates a very fair system. I am not a small person by any means (6'4" @275) and would be willing to pay for my 'extra' weight if it gets me into a seat I can actually sit in.
Moviela
Ric Wernicke 3
Hey, if you pay more you get more. In Samoa a person that weighs 250 carries the nickname "Tiny" and we are talking about the women here.
RECOR10
RECOR10 2
Funny - same thing happens in Ethiopia...
grahbag
grahbag 2
If they ever tried that here, the seats would remain the same size, only the fees would be bigger!
FedExCargoPilot
FedExCargoPilot 2
The issue is also that the seats are getting smaller and smaller, it would be interesting if the U.S airlines ever adopted charging by weight(so petite people can carry 100 pounds of luggage for the price of an average person), its not perfect but not a bad idea either.
Moviela
Ric Wernicke 1
There might be some merit to your idea for charter flights which tend to be in smaller aircraft more sensitive weight and volume, however, most scheduled passenger airlines are a transportation business, not a freight business. Transportation charges by the person, freight charges by the pound (or volume in some cases.)
SootBox
SootBox 2
Just sell 3 sizes of seats, small, medium and large and price accordingly, $50 for a med over the ticket price and $100 over for the large. My wish would be a longer seat where I can actually move my legs straight out.
dwheyer
Daniel Heyer 2
What's next. Playpens for crying babies?
jor689
Jim OReilly 2
they should weight you and your luggage together. it's not fair that i'm 150 lbs and get overcharged for a 55lb bag and the guy next to me is 330 lbs and has a 45 lb bag
eichmat
Tim Eichman 1
Samoa Air already has that in place...
Av8nut
Michael Fuquay -1
Bingo. Makes perfect sense. Have a unit price per pound. After all, the bottom line for a flight's fuel costs, is directly affected by the weight it carries.

Unfortunately, there would be such an uproar from the fatties, especially considering how "sensitive" America has become.
captainjman
Jason Feldman 1
As a passenger, I think its pretty shitty to charge extra for heavy people. IN fact, overweight people are made fun of, ridicluled, and now charged extra money. Many overweight people have medical issues. Would you charge more for someone who needs oxygen? insulin? its idiotic.

How much abuse do you think passengers are going to take? There are many who refuse to fly now. even though it takes a lot longer, they decide to drive. The more people the airline ticks off - the less people we fly, the less jobs there are

Lets not forget that the airlines is really a service industry not just travel.

ON THE OTHER HAND,

why should someone have to be squished by a guy who is eating non stop. That big guy takes up both armrests and his thighs are oozing under the armrest and into my seat!! yuck. Who wants to sit by John Candy from planes trains and automobiles. Dell Grifith was a fat disgusting blob. how do you feel about having so much of the fat guys body pressed against you - its almost an intimate affair

AND THE AIRLINES

Its not fair that they have to pay more for the fat guy! a pound per flight will cost 100,000 dollars by the end of an aircrafts lifespan in gas. thats crazy. But, let not forget that the airlines are one of the biggest and powerful businesses on earth.l When they offer a price on a flight, they knew already that overweight folks will be on the plane - these guys calculate everything, including the magazine and its value vs its cost in extra weight!

what about fat pilots, should they get a pay cut? What if its a large tumor? LOL - this is a stupid discussion - the airlines want more money, land thats it. They have been shortening the seat pitch and width year after year. Many of the CRJ's are built for Japanese sized people. You cant even look out the window on the crj200 if you are over 6 feet tall! and where do you put your feet while sitting in the window seat.

what about flight kits, or soda - should we have the passengers pay for the cost of soda AND its weight too? LOL What a jokek
Mauilaw
Mauilaw 1
If you're big, fly first class and there won't be a problem. Let's work on the carry on luggage, it's really out of control. Half the bags coming on will NOT fit in the templates there airlines provide. When was the last time you actually saw someone have to put their bag in the template? Samoa Airlines weighing passengers, that's a hoot, Samoa, really? Some of the biggest guys I know!
DallasDave214
Dave Dallas 1
On of the Cirque Du Soleil shows, Zumanity, has a "couch"..... they call it a love seat. Maybe it will become the new craze.

Another new craze - a company that says "thanks again" and gives you bonus miles for buying anything at the airport, eating at the airport, or parking there...

Pretty cool concept... www.thanksagain.com I love these guys, sign-up is free....
ADXbear
craig horton 1
Look.. If you big,, the your big,, lets not get into regulating.. I'm on the large size.. 280, 6.4" and I have found it easy and the airline appreciate it when I buy 2 seats.. I usually get a deal on the second seat and many time I get it refunded if the flight was not full of paying passengers..
All the airlines have procedures to buy the second seat in you name... for TSA purposes... Don't crush the little people.. but little people/// stay out of my pre-Paid second seat and respect my space... its not for your carry on's...it does work both ways...

Just saying..
Mauilaw
Mauilaw 1
It will be interesting now that obesity is classified as an illness/disease. That will put all kinds of road blocks up for airlines to single out a group of people. It's the screaming kid who runs up and down the aisle and the parent think it's cute that rattles my cage. Guess I'm getting old, no wait, I am, but not medicare yet! Larger problems loom for the airlines in my opinion than dealing with a classification of passenger. Can you just see them weighing every person getting on board - heck we can't get them through security lines now, can you imagine weight lines?
Mauilaw
Mauilaw 1
Toward the end of our career we flew the Navy transports state side, and every passenger was weighed, and every piece of luggage weighed. Then you calculate how much fuel you'll need to get from point A to B. And even then we didn't/couldn't fill up, you had to calculate the most efficient amount. For example - Chicago to LA - going west usually required a refuel in Pueblo, CO, flying east typically required a refuel in Lincoln, NB.

Ah, those were the days! I enjoyed those flights, just put her on auto and sit back a read a good book. It was much easier than my days flying the F4 over the rice paddies that's for sure. Much calmer too!
99NY
99NY 1
Hah, itll be like those old Greyhound buses with the bench in the back row!
7express
max lyons 1
I'm 5"10 165 lbs, so not only does my 55 lb bag cost more than the 345 lb persons 40 lb bag behind me, but I get squished by them as well??
captainjman
Jason Feldman 1
what we really need to do is synthesize fuel efficiently and logically - then we won't really care about fuel costs - and this issue is mute. If oil wasn't trading so high, the airlines wouldn't care if you had too many cheeseburgers, if your carry on was too large, etc etc.

The only effect that needs to monitored is weight and balance. There are times that using universal weights can put a plane way outside of its envelope and that is definitely of concern. Imagine universal weights being used on a flight full of samoans. It could be a real scary flight from an aircraft control standpoint depending on what the margin of error is, etc etc.

If oil was still trading at say 25 dollars a barrel this would not be such a big issue. We can talk about peak oil, we can talk about reduced production to artificially boost prices, we can talk about wall streets effect on fuel prices, or how susceptible we are when dependent on foreign oil, especially from nations that really do not like us.

seat pitch would not have been drastically reduced over the years, seats would have remained large.... lets put our attention on the real issues, not on how many calories someone eats, body structure of variant people, or medical conditions.

How well would it be recieved if those that are weak would be ridiculed as much as those who are overweight. Someday it will be scorned to make fun of people for weight / size conditions the same way it is not acceptable to make fun of people for mental retardation, people with disabilities, etc etc. Not many people actually choose to be overweight - most wake up every day feeling horrible about how they look and feel. I would like to see a society that refrains from calling people fat, just as they would not use the N word, or using racial remarks. Its almost as if everyone has chosen to make fun of "fat" people because they aren't allowed to make fun of other groups anymore. Plus they make large, slow moving targets - yes, how powerful you must feel making fun of "fat" people. right?

Its a good thing those who do make fun of overweight folks have a good metabolism right? - what would happen if you weren't blessed with one? How would you feel knowing everyone makes fun of you all the time?

Just a thought. As aviators we should lead the way showing the best humanity can be in every way possible.
captainjman
Jason Feldman 2
fly first class - really, like that is an option for everyone. Most people cannot afford first class fares, and even those who can - what should they do on aircraft not featuring a first class section?

Perhaps if the seats and seat pitch were geared for comfort for ALL passengers it would be better for everyone.

Lets not forget our passengers are the ones that pay our salary, pay dividends - being rude to the very people who allow us to make a living is counter productive. We are a transportation industry, but every industry is a service industry.

there are two MAIN types of economic viewpoints in a capitalistic system - cost based and value based. Cost based is a narrow minded way of operation that leads to a "race to the bottom" - as to where the value based viewpoint focuses on quality and customer satisfaction despite the fact it comes at a premium.

Anytime you choose a slightly more expensive ticket just to travel on the day or time you want to depart you are no longer completely focused on the cost base system. When you buy a BMW instead of a hyundai you are doing the same. (not interested in a discussion on your hyundai). When you buy a car with extras instead of the best price possible - you are showing signs of value vs price system preference.

Why anyone would give up 2 inches of seat pitch to save 5 dollars on a flight is beyond me. People need to focus on the total experience of flight again, and many do. We have people who will stick with a full service airline even if they can fly on a cheaper flight that has the same arrival time- because they understand that supporting a full service airline that serves more than just parts of the USA and has a global network, offers reclining seats that lay down fully on super long flights, movie selections, pre boarding etc etc.

When people chose price as the only criterion, and allow a low cost airline over a 5-10 dollar difference it causes the entire system to spiral down - racheting down on a competition to the bottom. This is the true cause of all the furloughs, increased duty hours, lower wages, loss of pensions, foreign carriers scooping up more and more business - which due to the size of airlines effects us all.

Lets focus on ways not to make flying any worse an experience than it already is, focus more on how we can add value to the experience rather than nickel and dime tactics, and focusing on the lowest price possible. Even the king of low cost , southwest, is now offering more value benefits because even they know price alone is not a sustainable business model. That is why they now give nice snacks, free carry ons, free baggage, etc etc.

Lets not alienate any more of our passengers, lets find ways of making them feel good rather than bad - lets table these kind of concepts before the public ever hears of them - lets make aviation fun again. I would pay a little extra (not a lot) to have drinks, food, legroom, free bags, saved seats, etc etc.