Too big for airplane seat?

“Everything okay in there?” Olivia knocked on her friend’s dressing room door.

Trish whispered back, “This bathing suit is size twenty! And it’s still too small! The doctor said with my thyroid condition, I may never lose weight.”

“We’re going to Miami not the Riviera!” Olivia admired her own curves. “We won’t be the only big women!”

“Well, that’s not much comfort.”

“I’ll get the salesgirl.” Olivia strutted out of the dressing room. “Hello! My friend needs a size 22 in that black suit.”

“Olivia, please!” Trish blushed.

She called out again. “And bring me a size twenty-eight. In a thong!”

After shopping, they went for lunch at a bistro.

“I’ll just have a salad with no dressing,” Trish said to the waiter.

Olivia turned to the waiter. “I’ll have a double cheeseburger with extra cheese, large fries and a side of veggies. Easy on the veggies.”

The food came and Trish dug into her dry salad. “That bathing suit shopping was humiliating.”

“Well, now it’s over and we can enjoy the anticipation of the trip!”

“What about the humiliation of flying?” Trish cried. “Last time, they had to add a seat belt extension! My hips were overflowing onto the passenger beside me.”

“It is humiliating.” Olive took a massive bite of her burger.

“So, we’re not going?”

Olivia pumped her fist. “We’re going to demand the airline provide us with two seats each!”

Olivia made the request while they checked in a week later. The airline refused.

“When we get back, we’re suing!,” Olivia promised.


Olivia fought for justice. “The airline must recognize the needs of obese customers. It’s not fair to squeeze us into those tiny seats.”

The airline refused to budge. “That would cause undue hardship to us. Why should we accommodate people who eat too much?”

Should obese customers have a right to two seats? You! Be The Judge. Then look below for the decision.


“The airline must give obese passengers an extra free seat on domestic flights if they are too large for a single seat,” decided the Judge. “Disabled travelers may also secure two seats for the price of one if they need in-flight attendants. This will allow everyone to fly on an equal basis.”

Today’s column is based on a federal case from Canada. The characters and the scenarios are fictional. Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. The information in this column does not constitute legal advice. If you have a similar problem, consult a lawyer in your province. Elissa Bernstein is a lawyer and internationally syndicated columnist. Copyright 2009 Haika Enterprises, all rights reserved.