AirTran 'Customers of Size' Will Have to Buy 2 Seats

Southwest will bring its policy to the company
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2011 3:13 PM CDT
AirTran Airways seats.   (PRNewsFoto/AirTran Airways)

(Newser) – Now that Southwest Airlines has bought AirTran Airways and is beginning to integrate the company, AirTran will get a “customer of size” policy for the first time. Southwest’s policy requires that larger passengers, who cannot fit in one seat with the armrest down, purchase a second seat. AirTran will enforce the same rule for coach passengers starting in March, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The policy has its critics. “We are paying customers,” says a spokesperson for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, adding that some passengers are “embarrassed and humiliated” when directed to purchase a second seat. The problem, she says, is that the issue is left up to the staff to decide, rather than having a clear policy for enforcement. Southwest does offer refunds for the cost of the second seat if the flight does not oversell, and AirTran will follow suit.

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