A petition calling on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish rules that airlines must adhere to in order to accommodate plus-size passengers has received thousands of signatures.
More than 6,900 people have signed the Change.org petition that was started by plus-size travel, fashion, and lifestyle influencer Jae’lynn Chaney. The FAA is urged to “require all airlines to implement a clear customer-of-size policy that prioritizes the comfort and well-being of all passengers,” which should include standards for offering bigger seats, seat belt extenders, and alternate seating arrangements.
As reported by Chaney to Travel & Leisure, “it’s an incredible feeling to see the petition gaining traction and to witness the diverse range of people coming together to support this movement.” “It has been an honor to be a voice for individuals who have felt powerless for too long… It’s time for the travel industry to promote inclusion and give each passenger’s comfort and welfare top priority.
After her fiance received “hateful comments, disapproving looks, and even refusal to sit next to them” on a flight from Pasco to Denver, Chaney claimed she began the petition. On a different trip, Chaney said she was “forced to occupy only one seat with immovable armrests” and as a result, experienced agony and bruising.
She told T+L, “As a plus-size traveler, I’ve personally witnessed the difficulties and mistreatment that many of us encounter in the air.” The objective is to increase public awareness of the problems that many visitors encounter when their bodies don’t conform to social norms. It’s time for the business to acknowledge the diversity of people’s bodies and life experiences and take appropriate steps to make sure that everyone traveling feels appreciated and at home.
At this time, each airline has a different policy regarding customer size. For instance, Southwest Airlines requires passengers who “encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat(s)” to reserve an additional seat in advance; however, these reservations are refunded. Another example is Alaska Airlines, which asks passengers who “cannot comfortably fit within one seat with the armrests in the down position” to purchase an additional seat but reimburses passengers if there are open seats on the flight.
However, it adds that “if a passenger impedes on another passenger, they may be asked to move to another location that provides additional space, or in the event of a full flight, be asked to take a later flight with available seating.” On the other end of the spectrum is Delta Air Lines, which does not require passengers to purchase an additional seat.
When T+L contacted the FAA, a representative cited a 90-day public comment period that was held on the minimum seat dimensions required for airline passenger safety. The agency is presently evaluating the tens of thousands of submissions, the representative claimed.
Source: Travel + Leisure