Air Travel Plus-Size Fliers: Airlines Share Policies For People Who Need More Space On Flights
Photo Credit: TN

Photo Credit: TN

Air Travel Plus-Size Fliers: Airlines Share Policies For People Who Need More Space On Flights

American Airlines , Delta Airlines , jetblue , southwest airlines , United Airlines
Brunno Braga
Brunno Braga Mar 24, 2022

We live in an era where body acceptance has gained great popularity throughout this country. There are Miss Plus-Size pageants, stores specializing in plus- size clothing, commercials that display models that promote body-positive ideas and much more. Although many advancements have been seen for the body positive movement, they face some obstacles to having a comfortable trip, mainly in the Economy class of planes. Recently, a TikTok video went viral showing a plus-size blogger trying to fit into a plane seat. Some people were saying she deserves to travel comfortably while others were caught saying she should pay for an extra seat. 

Given that situation, a question must be posed: What are the current policies for plus-size fliers?

In fact, recently some airlines decided to narrow the seats to fit more and more passengers on flights, causing a big problem for these type of airlines travelers. However, it is also important to notice that seat dimensions vary depending on the airline, aircraft model, flight duration and cabin type (economy, premium, executive, etc.).

Travel Noire found out the airline rules for plus-size fliers in Economy class for plus-size people avoid being targeted and shamed during their travel.

1. Southwest Airlines

Courtesy of SouthWest Airlines

Considered one of the top plus-size friendly airlines, Southwest Airlines offer through its Customer of Size policy, which allows the purchase of additional seats to adequately plan for the number of seats that will be occupied on the aircraft.  The airline says that it helps to accommodate all passengers on the flight for which they purchased a ticket and avoid asking passengers to relinquish their seats for an unplanned accommodation. The passenger may contact Southwest Airlines for a refund of the cost of additional seating after travel.

Also, plus-size passengers who prefer not to purchase an additional seat in advance have the option of purchasing just one seat and then discussing their seating needs with the Customer Service Agent at their departure gate.

2. Delta Airlines

Courtesy of Delta Air Lines
Delta is also considered a plus-size friendly airline, offering seats in its Economy Class that range from 17.9 to 19 inches.  Delta’s seatbelts range in size from 40 to 45 inches.
Although the company does not require plus-size customers to purchase an extra seat, when a passenger decides to purchases it, they are entitled to checked baggage allowances/restrictions for each ticket/seat.

3. Jet Blue

Courtesy of Jet Blue

Jet Blue does not have a policy for plus-size passengers. It is up to the passengers to decide on their personal comfort as to whether a second seat would be necessary. However, its economy seats are between 17.8 and 18.25 inches, which are larger than the average size offered by other airlines’ economy seats.

Jet Blue also offers the premium Economy Even More Space product, with super-spacious seats (with 38-inch pitch), which provide even more of that much-sought-after inflight space product.

4. United Airlines

liquor sales on flights
Courtesy of United Airlines

If you are a plus-size passenger, United Airlines states that you must purchase an additional seat or upgrade to a different seat in order to board. It will happen if the passenger doesn’t fit into the seat with both armrests down and intrudes on the seat of the passenger next to you.

The company also offers United Premium Plus seats,  which are closer to the front of the aircraft and more spacious with additional legroom, elbow room and recline.


5. American Airlines


Photo: American Airlines
Courtesy of American Airlines

According to American Airlines, if a plus-size customer needs more space outside a single seat to travel, another seat must be purchased.

AA states that when the customer calls to book, its reservations team will make sure the passenger gets two adjacent seats at the same rate.

“If you didn’t book an extra seat in advance, ask an airport agent to find out if 2 adjacent seats are available,” said American Airlines.

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