I saw this item this morning. The woman was as big as the people she was sitting between. Just find it interesting that she was a white woman sitting between 2 Black people and wanted to move. I once had a white woman in first class who didn't want me to sit beside her. Come to find out? She was also an airline employee and she was junior to me. So? They kicked her out of First class and upgraded somebody Else. The Problem was? I had the window seat and didn't want to trade.
From the article, it doesn't seem like this lady has any problem speaking her mind, so if she had a problem with the race of the other passengers, I have no doubts we would have heard about it.
Until we hear otherwise, I'm going to assume this was a problem of size, not race.
No one should verbally abuse anyone. Glad she was removed.
I totally agree that she could have been more, (or even a little), diplomatic...but if her space was being usurped by her fellow passengers, she absolutely had a valid complaint.
The thing is...I don't blame the passengers...I blame the airlines. They know the size of their seats and yet they set no standards regarding the size of people who can comfortably fit in them. When tickets are purchased, seat size should be clearly stated so passengers are aware of how much space they are allotted.
It's not just a social issue...it's also a safety issue. Airline flying itself is not a right. Not everybody can fit in every airline seat, the same way that not everyone can fit in every car or pair of pants.
What is, (or should be), a right, is being able to use all of the space you pay for.
Sorry Joe but I have to disagree. I just had this conversation with a friend last week. When it comes to obese passengers, airlines are in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.
1) If airlines started to ask passengers their weight and dimensions prior to purchase there would be a public uproar. Beyond that, people lie. I used to do weight and balance for a helicopter tour company and it was mandatory for us to ask the weight of passengers during the booking process. People would lie all the time only to find a scale at the front counter during check in for their tour.
1.5) Years ago, many airlines started enforcing policies that mandated that obese customers would need to buy two seats upon check in at the airport but this is harder to enforce now that a passenger can go from curbside to the gate without talking to an employee. Moreover, broaching that subject with a customer is an extremely delicate matter and rarely has or had a good outcome which is why most airlines have abandoned the initiative.
2) We live in the age of instant information. In my opinion, ignorance is not no one else's fault but one's own these days. Since this specific incident happened on United, I checked both united.com and the United mobile app and both provide information on seat width and pitch. Took me less than 30 seconds to look up both. The website even gives definitions of seat width, pitch," etc... There are also third party resources like SeatGuru that will provide that information should the specific airline you're flying not publish that info. Buying airline tickets is generally not an inexpensive purchase for the majority of people. Why people wouldn't take the time to look up what exactly they are getting for their money is beyond me, but their burden to bare if they don't, because the information is out there. Most people wouldn't buy a smart phone, a TV or laptop without looking up what they are getting. Airline tickets can easily be as expensive as each of them.
3) I've been seated next to my fair share of larger passengers, including on a 8.5 hr flight so I get how frustrating and uncomfortable it can be. But passive aggressively calling someone on the phone to complain about passengers seated on either side of you is just tasteless. Instead of conducting yourself in a way that's sure to make a scene, perhaps, ask the aisle seat customer to please get up to allow you the chance to speak to a flight attendant or even the gate agent and explain the situation discretely and get an understanding about what can be done.
I have no problem being critical of airlines when they are in the wrong but I struggle to see how an airline can be blamed for this. Her poor decision to talk about these customers essentially to their faces is likely to create the type of tensions you don't want to escalate once in the air. Best to remove the customer who caused it and move on.