With United Airlines announcing they will charge extra-wide passengers with an extra seat (if it’s available), William Saletan comes up with a pretty good solution.
Two days ago, I spent seven hours on a United flight to London. The passenger in front of me was reclining the whole way. To stretch my legs, I had to angle them diagonally.
But if your legs don’t fit, United doesn’t ask you to buy an extra seat. It offers you a deal. On Monday, I’m going to fly back to Washington. I’m sitting here looking at my return flight online, and United is inviting me to buy “Economy Plus” (“the comfort of extra legroom near the front of the Economy cabin”) for “as low as $69.00.” That’s about one-fifth the price of the ticket.
How much leg room would I get? “Up to five extra inches,” says the company.
Why shouldn’t fat people have a similar option? Most of them don’t need two seats side-by-side any more than we long-legged guys need two seats front-to-back. Like us, they just need a few extra inches.
If United can swap out a row of three normal coach seats for two wide ones, two fat people should be able to buy those seats for an extra 50 percent instead of an extra 100 percent.