This issue has been covered in the European media quite widely in the past week, but it doesn’t seem to have made it elsewhere yet. Here’s piece from the Daily Telegraph about it.
Airbus is going to offer an option for airlines to order the A320 aircraft in a configuration that shrinks the window and middle seats by an inch and gives the extra space for the aisle seats to better accommodate the larger passengers. Airlines in turn could charge higher price for these wider seats.
Above’s the BBC’s take about the subject with less catchy headline.
It is not a surprise that the population in many countries (not just the US) has a growing problem (read overweight) and has difficulty fitting to the airplane seats. I am not sure, however, if the correct approach is to make two thirds of the seats even more miserable width vise than they already are today.
But this is very sensitive subject.
There are airlines that require a person that cannot fit into the seat hand rest down to purchase two seats i.e. Southwest. They do (Southwest), however, refund the extra seat payment IF the flight is not full and can accommodate someone that requires the extra space.
On long-haul flights there is always an option to purchase premium economy, business or first class seat. The pricing of these, however, is often at the minimum double or triple compared to cheapest economy seats.
I guess that the question is, whether flying is a right or privilege. Is the airline required to accommodate a passenger that requires the extra space without a fee or not?
Touchy subject, but my personal opinion is that individuals should take some responsibility over their actions. I have to pay attention to what I eat on the ground and in the air and remember to go to the gym regularly. Otherwise, my weight goes up.