United Forces 'Seatmates of Size' to Buy Extra Ticket

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2009 12:25 PM CDT
The cabin of a JetBlue airliner.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – United Airlines is coming down hard on its chubbier passengers with a new rule requiring those who can’t fit into one seat to buy another ticket, MSNBC reports. “Seatmates of size” are defined as the unlucky passengers who can’t buckle their seatbelts—even with an extension—or lower the armrest. The upside: With the extra ticket comes an extra checked-baggage allowance.

“If there is another seat on the airplane that is next to an empty seat,” a United spokeswoman said, “we will re-accommodate our guest in that seat and there is no charge.” The rule is similar to other carriers' policies. A hefty passenger can refuse to buy another ticket and get a full refund; if a flight is fully booked, a passenger who requires an extra seat must wait for the next departure.