Your baggage + you = Ira’s total airline weight formula

Posted by: on Jul 18, 2010 | 8 Comments

IraSez TShirt

Your baggage + you = Ira’s total airline weight formula

My friend Ted and I were talking today on our way to the golf course about the problem of obesity in America, which led to a conversation about airplane travel and overweight people, which led to my facebook post in which I stated “If they charge extra for overweight baggage, why don’t they charge extra for overweight people?,” which got a whole lot of comments, which now leads to this blog post.

I have decided that the airlines need to devise a new system for how they charge for baggage, which needs to include the weight of the passenger. Their theory is they can charge for baggage based on weight and my theory is they need to devise a total weight formula. For example, I weigh about 170 pounds…OK, 175…fine…180.  My last flight to Florida, my 2 bags weighed a total of about 85 pounds, making my total weight 265 pounds. Now, the guy on the aisle next to me (who’s stomach came down below his schmeckel…really, it did) very easily weighed over 300 pounds, probably closer to 350. Shouldn’t he be charged an excess baggage fee? Seriously, he had a whole lot of excess baggage. Make this guy step on a scale – with his baggage – when checking in for the flight or when he goes through security. If the airlines contend that excess weight costs them more to fly, shouldn’t the weight of the passenger be taken into consideration as well?

Based on the comments my recent facebook post received, many of you also share my opinion that people whose bodies spread over into your space should be forced to pay for more for that space.  As my friend Jennifer called it, a “width fee.” If you have ever had the unfortunate experience of sitting next to a person whose arms, legs and other body parts, extend into your seat and onto your body, all I can say is “get the hell out my space!” They don’t allow smoking on planes anymore because of the discomfort and health risks to the other passengers. Well, same thing here. More discomfort than health, unless of course the plane goes down and you have to navigate your way over some 350 blob of humanity who is now stuck in his seat.

The airlines offer seat belt extenders. Guess what? If you need one of these things than you need more than just an extension, you need another seat or maybe one in first class. It is simply not fair to the passengers sitting next to you to put them through this for even a few moments, let alone an airline flight of any duration.

So, to all you thin (or less than fat) people out there, stand up for your rights. The next time some person’s leg or arm invades your airplane seat space, hit them over the head with a piece of oversized carry on luggage.


  1. julianne
    July 18, 2010

    This is one of the funniest of all!!! LOL – really, i can’t stop! 🙂 The funny thing is.. i’ts so true!!!!!

  2. Melinda
    July 18, 2010

    Amen! Health risk? How about an almost 400 lb. woman since “next to me” or should I say her left leg was literally on top of mine cutting off blood flow! No first class option on a Canadair jet. Maybe, special seats in the back?

  3. Melinda
    July 18, 2010

    “since” = sitting….sorry the sun is finally getting to me

  4. john doe
    July 18, 2010

    My height is 77 inches, weight 220 and my shoulders and elbow to elbow width are proportionately wider than average height males. I sit in coach and have never even a whisper of a complaint from folks sharing my seat. The regular seat belt works fine. My body extremities can be easily contained within my space. The only thing I notice is I am having to contort a bit when standing in my seats and going through the hatch, and the dimensions of the seats are way less comfortable for me than the are for ALL the passengers under 74″. The thing is, most people are under 5’10, 50% of males and 95% of females. Why not have 60 % of the seats on the plane downsized to the width and spacing that made a 5’10 non-overweight person the same level of slight discomfort I endure when I travel? Kids, nearly all women, and smallish guys would have no extra discomfort at all and then only need to pay for what they need and save a little money, lots more people between say 5’5 and 5’10 would (if they’re like me) continue saving the big money it costs for a first class seat and endure a little discomfort.

    I obviously don’t get to choose to have the little people squeezed in tight as a drum to make the market for the rest of the space more favorable to me, but why not? The totally market driven seat size results and options are what they are to maximize airline revenue and profit and it seems average and even slightly above average sized people here think that’s unfair to them. The world isn’t fair. You can always get even by gaining a bunch of weight and booking airline tickets to annoy normal sized people, with all the fat people entitlement going on you could be enjoying life just like them!

  5. Pauline
    July 19, 2010

    Ira, amen! The last time we flew (4th of July weekend, and when did that become such a prime time weekend for flying) there were four oversized persons in the gate area and my husband looked at me and said I WILL have a panic attack if I get stuck next to one of them. Luckily our daughter was with us so we were in the same row together, thus no panic attack, but a lot of arms were getting mangled if you were sitting in your seat and didn’t lean in as they made their way down the aisle.

  6. RBS
    July 20, 2010

    What about putting the overweight people into the suitcases?

  7. bonniejoffe
    July 20, 2010

    LOL Ira! Noah and I were just having a conversation about this. So true! Lauren was charged $400 for a 50lb bag going to prague last semester. She ways 125! GO FIGURE.

  8. Ira Sez » Airline Seating Daze
    March 20, 2015

    […] If you’ve read any of my previous blogs on airline travel, you know that one of my major issues is people who really don’t fit into one seat. I know a few folks who were not happy with me when this subject has come up in the past but I’m sorry. When you are 30, 40, 50 or more pounds overweight and your thighs barely fit between the arm rests, you need 2 seats.  To review my opine on this subject, take a look at […]