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"Passenger of Size" (PoS) - What's the policy, experiences, issues, ...[Consolidated]

"Passenger of Size" (PoS) - What's the policy, experiences, issues, ...[Consolidated]

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Old Feb 4, 19, 3:00 am   -   Wikipost
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Customers requiring extra seating

A customer flying in the economy cabin who is not able to safely and comfortably fit in a single seat is required to purchase an additional seat for each leg of their itinerary. The second seat may be purchased for the same fare as the original seat, provided it is purchased at the same time. A customer who does not purchase an extra seat in advance may be required to do so on the day of departure for the fare level available on the day of departure. The customer may instead choose to purchase a ticket for United First®, United Business® or United BusinessFirst®, or elect to pay for an upgrade to a premium cabin if there is availability to do so. United Airlines is not required to provide additional seats or upgrades free of charge.

A customer is required to purchase an additional seat or upgrade if they do not meet one of the following criteria:

The customer must be able to properly attach, buckle and wear the seat belt, with one extension if necessary, whenever the seatbelt sign is illuminated or as instructed by a crew member.*
The customer must be able to remain seated with the seat armrest(s) down for the entirety of the flight.
The customer must not significantly encroach upon the adjacent seating space. See our seat maps.

United will not board a customer who declines to purchase a ticket for an additional seat or upgrade for each leg of their itinerary when required.

*The average length of the seatbelt extension is approximately 25 inches. As the seat designs on our aircraft vary, it is possible that the seatbelt extension presented on your flight provides less than 25 inches of additional coverage. Regardless of the actual additional length the extension provides, if you do not meet the first criteria listed above when using the extension provided on your flight, it will be necessary for you to purchase an additional seat or an upgrade, where available.

Additional procedures


The additional seat must be available without downgrading or unseating another customer. If an additional seat is not available on the flight for which the customer is confirmed, he or she is required to rebook on the next United flight with seats available for accommodation. United will waive penalties or fees that may otherwise apply to this change.

If the customer is away from his or her home and must rebook for a flight for the following day, amenities including applicable meals and hotel accommodations for one night will be provided as appropriate. When the customer is able to rebook for a later flight on the same day as originally scheduled, amenities will not be provided.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 3:30 pm
  #376  
 
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I think there is one very important aspect to this: the person sitting next to the "person of size". When a person buys a seat, he or she is buying space. It is not ok if an overweight passenger intrudes into the space purchased by another person. That includes legs and the arm rest. If the overweight person can't fit into his or her allotted space, buy two seats or a higher class of service with more space. It's that simple. You are buying space and you can't use more space than the fare you purchase affords you.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 3:40 pm
  #377  
 
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Originally Posted by artemis View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbleby


Except that as of right now, the airlines have no way to link one extra seat to two passengers (even if they are flying on the same ticket). I agree with Loren Pechtel that it would be great if they'd find a way to do that (at least with parties traveling together on a single PRN), so people wouldn't be forced into paying double just because they need an extra 2-3 inches of space.

As a marginal POS who chooses to fly First Class rather than book two seats because of the hassle factor involved, I'll mention a couple of other problematic issues that people often forget to mention when the "buy two seats" comments are made.

1. In the case of IRROPS requiring rebooking on another flight, you may not be able to get that second seat (even though you booked it). That may not matter on a leisure trip, but if you're flying on a deadline, this can be a huge issue. If I absolutely, positively have to be at my destination by X time, someone's getting squished in that situation because arriving late is simply not an option.

2. Larger people flying for work may be trapped by rigid company policies which won't pay for more than a single Economy seat.

3. Believe it or not, if the airline doesn't think you're big enough, they'll put a standby passenger into that second seat even though you paid for it. Sure, you'll get a refund (eventually), but you won't get the space you paid for, and the unlucky standby passenger is going to get squished despite your best attempts to avoid that. Southwest (where I do book two seats out of necessity, since they don't offer First Class) has given me the hairy eyeball more than once, and I've had to argue with the ticket agent to keep my second seat. (And I'm 5'2" and 240 lbs, so I'm not anyone's definition of svelte!)

4. Small but annoying: you can't check in online and receive electronic boarding passes on your smartphone.

There are a lot of problems associated with booking two seats (even on Southwest, which is by far the most accommodating airline for POS). It's time for an Economy Wide section on planes. And it's also time for the airlines and OTAs to give maximum height/width estimates for each class of seating, prominently displayed as part of the booking process, so people can tell before they buy their tickets which class of seating they should book. Most people don't even fly once a year, and a lot are in denial about just how tall/wide they are relative to what the Economy seating is designed for.
Surprised by your WN story. I thought they actually refunded the second ticket if the flight wasn't full, not the other way around.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 4:35 pm
  #378  
 
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Originally Posted by aCavalierInCoach View Post
Surprised by your WN story. I thought they actually refunded the second ticket if the flight wasn't full, not the other way around.
No, they changed that a few years ago. Now the cost of the second ticket is automatically refunded regardless of whether or not the flight is fully booked. I actually told the Southwest ticket agent who was questioning my need for two seats that I didn't care about receiving the refund just in case that was what was prompting his view that I didn't need the extra seat. But I think the real issue is that while I do need the second seat (as I have trouble getting the armrest fully down), so do about 30% of the other passengers - but they are not reserving the second seat they need. I''m heavy, but I don't look like the people on "My 600 Pound Life," which makes it more likely that airlines will decide that they can put a skinny standby passenger in my second seat as I'm only sitting on about 2 inches of it.

Who wants to buy a second seat only to lose it as a result of an IRROPS situation or an oversold flight and then be blamed for squishing a seatmate? A first class ticket is just easier to deal with than that (except on Southwest, which I avoid if at all possible).
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Old Feb 4, 19, 5:52 pm
  #379  
 
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Originally Posted by artemis View Post
No, they changed that a few years ago. Now the cost of the second ticket is automatically refunded regardless of whether or not the flight is fully booked.
I am confused. What is the Southwest policy on refunding the extra seat bought by POS?
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Old Feb 4, 19, 6:03 pm
  #380  
 
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Originally Posted by Tizzette View Post
I am confused. What is the Southwest policy on refunding the extra seat bought by POS?
Right now, it works like this:

The POS books two tickets (either by phone, or by booking two tickets on the website using the middle initials XS to indicate the second ticket is for extra space - John Smith and John XS Smith). The POS pays for both tickets at the time they are booked. When the POS checks in at the ticket counter, the price of the second ticket is refunded. The POS is given one boarding pass and one piece of paper saying "RESERVED" on it, and is allowed to preboard in order to ensure they'll be able to get two seats together (since Southwest doesn't assign seats). The POS picks out their seat, and then puts the "RESERVED" paper on the middle seat to indicate that it's taken. Southwest Customer of Size Policy

Of course, like everything else involving airlines, this is subject to change with little or no advance warning.

Last edited by artemis; Feb 4, 19 at 6:24 pm Reason: fixing typos
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Old Feb 5, 19, 12:08 am
  #381  
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Originally Posted by BB2220 View Post

Do you know what 6’2” 300 looks like? I do. I’m an inch taller and 20 lbs lighter. He’s not going to be spilling into the next seat. It’s not going to be luxurious, but with E+ it’s ok. E- is another story, but he’s not going to encroach on someone else’s space. If he was 5’5” 300 it would be a different story, but his weight is vertical, not horizontal.
Not that I'm doubting you, but I'm 5'11 and 165, so upon seeing those numbers, my instinct would be to assume it's quite large. That's 45 pounds per inch on top of my frame, which is otherwise 2.32 pounds per inch.

That being said, I have a friend who's the same height as me, slightly heavier, and is much skinnier, but also not too muscular.

So I both agree and disagree with you. No one knows what 6'2 / 300 looks like on a random internet stranger. I tend not to make assumptions based on numbers, because I can show you two guys who are 5'11 / 165, but with drastically different frames.
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Old Feb 5, 19, 9:17 am
  #382  
 
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Originally Posted by jetaway96 View Post
If the armrest come down, you have no case. If the armrest could not go down, that is the problem.
I beg to differ. During my work life domestic travels were always in Y. I remember spending miserable hours when stuck with POS who did strain the width and could put the armrests down. ( most board early and just lift it like it is their right !
Let us consider scence......no matter if you can fir in at 350 lbs at 5-5 height, the body mass does not reduce ! It just OVER into the adjoining seat. I have experienced such pax who just stay nonchalant ...I have also asked them that I cannot travel like this and they need to lean forward or find other ways, but your shoulders or girth cannot overflow into my seat ( am 5, 8, 175 lbs).

Time to be straightforward or if you want to be PC, keep quiet and suffer !
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Old Feb 5, 19, 9:37 am
  #383  
 
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The armrest is such an odd test, it basically tests width at a point, when that particular point is not always the problem as it doesn't address the shoulders at all. People have gotten heavier, yes, but they've also gotten taller and larger boned, so pretty much every part of the seat is fair game to overflow. I'm on the shorter side (5' 4") and I frequently get some rather uncomfortable elbows to the upper arms or head from pretty normal sized people.

The other factor, there's no way to enforce anything beforehand. Buying an extra seat, or getting someone who needs it an extra seat is something that's really difficult to do last minute at the gate or after boarding. Airlines really should be more up-front about their policies, kind of like they are with luggage policies.
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Old Feb 5, 19, 10:26 am
  #384  
 
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Originally Posted by zymm View Post
The armrest is such an odd test, it basically tests width at a point, when that particular point is not always the problem as it doesn't address the shoulders at all. People have gotten heavier, yes, but they've also gotten taller and larger boned, so pretty much every part of the seat is fair game to overflow.
Exactly. if a person is wide through the waist and/or hips, the armrest test works. But if they are wide through the thighs, butt, or shoulders, they may be able to get the armrest down with no problems, but still be significantly encroaching on their seatmate's space.

The other factor, there's no way to enforce anything beforehand. Buying an extra seat, or getting someone who needs it an extra seat is something that's really difficult to do last minute at the gate or after boarding. Airlines really should be more up-front about their policies, kind of like they are with luggage policies.
I absolutely agree with this! And the fact that everything from ticket purchase to receiving your boarding pass can now be done online just adds to the problem; the first time the person is seen by an actual airline agent may well be at the gate. With so many planes flying nearly 100% full, that doesn't leave either the airline or the large passenger much in the way of options (particularly if the passenger is flying a complicated multi-segment itinerary).

It's easy for those of us who post here to forget just how rarely the average person actually flies. Someone who's on the large side but who fits in seating in other public venues such as movie theaters may honestly not realize just how tight the seating is in Economy these days, and that they should play it safe and book a second ticket. And the airlines don't display either the seat width or how to go about booking a second ticket prominently on their websites; you have to go digging for that information. Even Southwest, with their very customer-friendly COS policy, has that information hidden pretty well. The airlines need to be much more proactive about informing their passengers that they DO need to book a second seat if they are large, and make it easy to do.
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