United To Charge Heavier Passengers Twice To Fly


Senior Member
Mar 10, 2009
United To Charge Heavier Passengers Twice To Fly
Airline Says Overweight Travelers Will Need To Buy Extra Seats Or Be Denied Entry To Planes
If "beefy" or "curvy" describes you, here is a word of warning: United Airlines will begin aggressively enforcing a new policy that allows it to charge heavier passengers twice to fly.

United will now implement new policies for passengers they deem to be overweight.

Under the rules outlined by United, passengers who "are unable to fit into a single seat in the ticketed cabin; are unable to properly buckle the seatbelt using a single seatbelt extender; and/or are unable to put the seat's armrests down when seated" will be denied boarding unless they purchase an extra seat.

If no empty seat exists, the passenger will be forced to take a later flight.

"The seat purchase or upgrade must be completed for each leg of the itinerary," the United policy states. "If a customer meeting any of the above-listed criteria decides not to upgrade or purchase a ticket for an additional seat, he or she will not be permitted to board the flight."

The policy applies to tickets bought on or after March 4, for travel on Wednesday or later, according to the United Web site.

"Please understand that we care a great deal about all of our customers' well-being, and we have implemented this policy to help ensure that everyone's travel experiences with United are comfortable and pleasant," United said on its Web site.

While the directive has some United customer service representatives questioning the wisdom or legality of such charges, the double charge has become common practice in the industry.

The other major carrier at O'Hare International Airport, American Airlines, begs to differ.

American spokesman Tim Smith said that while the airline has the right to require a second ticket, it will do so only if it can find no other solution, such as re-seating the passenger next to an empty seat at no extra charge.

"I don't remember us ever having to impose such a charge," said American spokesperson Mary Frances Fagan.

Southwest Airlines also is known to be aggressive about imposing the double charge.

WBBM 780's Bob Roberts contributed to this report.

(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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