Are airline seats designed and tested for comfort and safety in the case where a person of size is occupying two seats? From personal experience, I can say that it is very uncomfortable to straddle two seats. Typically there is a hard ridge in between the seats that is directly below the tailbone. The raised armrests often protrude and contact the spine. The seat belt receptacle is directly underneath the person sitting this way.
Each airline has a policy for persons of size. The airline policies vary widely. Southwest Airlines has a progressive policy and is continuously improving their process for persons of size. Alaska Airlines has a clear policy. The remaining airlines in the U.S. top five, approach the issue with varying levels of concern for persons of size and quality of their policies and process. These excerpts of person of size policies were retrieved on July 1, 2017.
All travelers should know their rights and responsibilities relative to the seating policies of the airline. A person meeting the airline definition of person of size may opt to purchase one or more extra seats in advance. Alternately, if they board the aircraft and it comes to the flight attendants attention that they are a person of size, if there is an available seat they will be accommodated. If not, the policies say they will be de-boarded.
Welcome to the Person of Size website. This site is for everyone. The goal of this site is to bring awareness to Person of Size and Customer of Size issues and to advocate for lawmakers, policy-makers, and businesses take steps to improve the safety and comfort of all people who are persons of size and those around them. There is no single precise definition for Person of Size. Although we can define the term broadly, the specific situation may use a narrower definition.