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United: Overweight Flyers Need to Buy Two Seats

Ben Mutzabaugh reports that United will begin charging overweight passengers for two seats when they cannot comfortably fit into one. The carrier wants gate attendants and ticket agents to be on the lookout for passengers that may need two seats. The qualifications, so to speak, are whether or not a passenger can fasten the seatbelt with one extension or sit comfortably with the armrests down. United will try to find two open seats on a plane, but if it cannot, overweight passengers will be forced to rebook and purchase two seats or upgrade to business or first class.

We’ve already been down this road before here at SmarterTravel, so I don’t want to start another frenzied back-and-forth about whether or not this rule is fair. Obviously it’s controversial. And Mutzabaugh says at least one carrier, American, said it will not match the policy. It’s not surprising, considering the backlash United will probably receive. I can’t see too many airlines implementing such a strict policy, especially during a time when few people are flying. What do you think? Will more airlines start adding this kind of charge? Leave a comment below, but keep it civil, please! Thanks!

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