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Southwest Airlines to charge larger fliers extra fare.
June 19, 2002 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Southwest Airlines to charge larger fliers extra fare. Is this a legitimate charge, discrimination, or are seats simply built too small in airplanes these days? Being a tall fellow, I can attest to never having enough legroom, but what about width-room? Remember to be nice with your discussion kids, as things got a bit ugly the last time something like this was posted...
posted by almostcool (201 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Of course this is legitimate. Airlines should have Assboxes(tm)* the same way many airlines have boxes in which your carry-on luggage must fit.

If a seating unit costs N, and you require two of them, you should be charged with 2N. Quite simple, really, and fair.

*Seriously!
posted by dagny at 9:12 AM on June 19, 2002


It's at the airlines discretion. But you can't say that it is unfair if you need 2 seats, you pay for two seats. Why should I sub a 2 seater on a plane, when I probably already sub their disability benefit through my taxes?

..and seats aren't too small, people are getting too fat, I mean, almostcool, you are from the country of porkness. The states wields professionals in obesity.

I recall being at Boston airport last year and in front of me was this guy who had a young thin face but was incredibly fat. His girlfriend (or sister maybe?) was just as big with sores all on her legs and looking very unhealthy. Anyway, suddenly they whip out these massive packs of chocolate and start cracking full sugar Cokes, and I am thinking "What the f*ck?", nearly jumping up and slapping them and shouting "EAT FRUIT YOU DUMB F*CKS ! "

I didn't however as it would have set a precedent for my trip to the states that even my lithe energetic self could not have maintained.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:13 AM on June 19, 2002


well, the larger the person riding the larger the load. It seems fairly legitimate, but just a little on the rude side.
posted by howa2396 at 9:13 AM on June 19, 2002


Frasermoo, don't you know it's not their fault? They probably suffer from a Chemical Imbalance, or might be Addicted to Food, or maybe It's Their Glands, but it's certainly not related to poor eating habits.
posted by skwm at 9:18 AM on June 19, 2002


I recall being at Boston airport last year and in front of me was this guy who had a young thin face but was incredibly fat. His girlfriend (or sister maybe?) was just as big with sores all on her legs and looking very unhealthy.

I love it when he tells this story. I think every Christmas I'll call Frasermoo and ask him to tell me the story about the overweight couple with the sores. It just makes you feel so good, you know, deep down.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:19 AM on June 19, 2002 [1 favorite]


If you take up two seats you should pay for two seats. I don't see what the big deal is. SW and all other airlines choose a seat size that is large enough for most people but small enough to make flights profitable and tickets cheap. If seats were made larger everyone would have to pay extra, but why should I pay extra for someone else's handicap? Besides, most other airlines have addressed this problem by providing two additional categories of larger seats for those who choose to pay extra for extra space they want (or need).
posted by plaino at 9:22 AM on June 19, 2002


So I'm 6'4" and if they reduce the pitch (spacing) between seats another 2 inches, I won't fit (even sitting up, my knees are against the seat in front.)

Flying back from China, some poor guy had my knees in his back for 14 hrs, and every time he tried to put his seat back I could feel my kneecaps dislocating. My only alternative would be to put my legs/knees into the space of the people besides me.

So will Southwest eventually charge tall people extra if they choose to reduce the pitch again? I know that the domestic airlines in China use a much smaller spacing -- it lets them fit more people in per flight.
posted by tomkarlo at 9:22 AM on June 19, 2002


skwm - There was chemical imbalance, and I was watching it happen in front of me. It was a Hershey imbalance (chemical symbol Ch for Chocolate fakeness).

I appreciate not everyone can help wieght gain, but look me in the eye and tell me there is no relation between America's obesity and America's gluttony.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:24 AM on June 19, 2002


It costs more to ship 100lbs of cargo than it does to ship 50lbs of cargo. Why should shipping 200lbs of human cargo cost the same as shipping 400lbs?
posted by bondcliff at 9:25 AM on June 19, 2002


PS - I saw a handicapped person using a normal person's parking space the other day. You will be pleased to know I reported him to the correct authorities.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:26 AM on June 19, 2002


I'm an american glutton and I'm not obese...I'm not even big boned.
posted by dangerman at 9:27 AM on June 19, 2002


Seems like the airline cant make the judgement call on when exactly a person requires the additional seat, so they are telling you that if you request a second seat you'll have to pay for it. I think just about everyone has to squeeze uncomfortably into those seats, if you need 2 you can pay for them. Southwest flights are usually not full, and you can choose to sit next to an empty space, and if its going to be full you could fly on a less crowded flight (theres usually 10+ a day for southwest) and just take your chances. They'll refund your extra money if the flights not full as well. seems like a good policy to me.
posted by outsider at 9:27 AM on June 19, 2002


regardless of whether its their fault or not, if they require more than one seat of space, its fair that they pay extra. Its not really rude. Its fair to others on the plane.
posted by srw12 at 9:28 AM on June 19, 2002


Remember to be nice with your discussion kids...
- Strike 1: "..you are from the country of porkness.."

- Strike 2: "..."EAT FRUIT YOU DUMB F*CKS ! "

I'm on tenterhooks now...:)

Come on, Moo, don't keep us waiting too long, eh!
posted by dash_slot- at 9:31 AM on June 19, 2002


Here's the problem, IMHO. Large people still have a right to transportation, and they should not be discriminated against. If you're relying on the *ticket agent* to make the decision to charge them more, there's too much room for error (excuse the pun). They should keep it as a suggested option, then, if the big people don't get the 2 seats, the passenger next to them can legitimately call them an asshole.
posted by password at 9:32 AM on June 19, 2002


This is why I use miles and upgrade to Business or First Class.

I'm only 6'1, but I prefer not to have my legs cramp. I don't have the seat-size problem, although I do like the roominess of the larger seats.

As for the Chinese airlines, isn't it that the average size of a person is China is less than the average European/American? It makes total sense on why they would have smaller seats.
posted by rich at 9:39 AM on June 19, 2002


Since when is air transportation a "right?"
posted by bondcliff at 9:40 AM on June 19, 2002


Coming soon from SWA: Smaller seats.
posted by ColdChef at 9:42 AM on June 19, 2002


Frankly, I'm amazed at how much support that this policy has received here. So let me get this straight: in addition to allowing airlines to go beyond the normal expectations of basic security, frequently to idiotic effect, you're going to let the airlines discriminate on the basis of weight? If the airlines keep this kind of exclusionary protocol up and consumers don't even bat so much as an eye, when will they begin discriminating on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference and political beliefs?

It won't be too long before we see nothing but aneroxic Caucaisan twentysomethings allowed on airlines. And wouldn't that be the ultimate irony? We'd see an entire flying clientele that absolutely reflects the flawless, jejune and repetitive human imagery found in today's advertising.

As a tall guy with longass legs myself, I'm with almostcool on this. If you fly coach and you do not have the physique of Billy Barty, then you can get seriously screwed on seat space. And for those twelve-hour transatlantic flights, I've found myself going to the toilet every few hours, not because I have to urinate, but just so that I have a few more precious inches of space to unfold my body until the plane eventually hits land. If Southwest refuses to accommodate ALL passengers at the same price, if they want to maintain a policy in which getting from Airport A to Airport B is not a matter of reliability and comfort, but of packing as many goddam people into the plane as possible, then customers should boycott Southwest in toto and/or demand that the airlines maintain better flying conditions for their passengers.

If we're so willing to go through the hassles of airport security, has it ever occurred to anyone that the airlines and the airports exist to accommodate the passengers? And not necessarily the other way around?
posted by ed at 9:46 AM on June 19, 2002


Large people still have a right to transportation

Huh? People don't have rights to things/services. People have rights to freedoms.

In this case; the freedom to try to make money and offer some of it to people with airplanes to convince them to let you tag along. And the people with airplanes obviously have the right to choose whether certain amount is large enough.
posted by dagny at 9:46 AM on June 19, 2002


see airline tips for large passengers:
"DO THE BUMP - Consider being bumped voluntarily. Not only can this be extremely profitable for fat frequent flyers (see related article), but your chances of being re-assigned to a partially full plane are greatly enhanced. You won't mind the inconvenience of an odd departure/arrival time if your next trip by air is at a greatly reduced price. "
hmm... hadn't realized being fat can be so profitable on the airlines. pass the lard!
posted by wisdom at 9:47 AM on June 19, 2002


Seems like the airline cant make the judgement call on when exactly a person requires the additional seat, so they are telling you that if you request a second seat you'll have to pay for it

I don't think that's what's happening here at all -- I think people who request a second seat have ALWAYS had to pay for it.

This is different and more interesting -- it's about air rights. You have the right to a certain amount of space on the plane above and beyond your seat. If you're so big that it appears you're going to be spilling out of your airspace to the point of making life uncomfortable for your seatmate, they're going to charge you for that extra seat.

I once ate a lot of chili before a flight and the lady two seats down (the seat between us was empty) eventually asked to be moved. I'm lucky I didn't get charged for the whole back part of the plane that day. Let's add that one to Kafkaesque's Golden Book of Disgusting Air Travel Stories.

Finally, and most important, when is Fenway Park going to adopt this same policy?????
posted by luser at 9:48 AM on June 19, 2002


The market will punish those who discriminate wrongly based on the value or not that discrimination provides to the market. Think about it, if you're fat enough to require two seats, now you are going to stop flying SWA and start flying with one of their competitors. They are going to lose the business. However, if you're not fat, maybe you are more likely to choose SWA because you know you likely won't end up with a fat person spilling over into the seat you paid for.

There are still plenty of choices out there for obese folks regardless, and I applaud SWA for competing on something other than price.
posted by hitsman at 9:50 AM on June 19, 2002


you're going to let the airlines discriminate on the basis of weight? If the airlines keep this kind of exclusionary protocol up and consumers don't even bat so much as an eye, when will they begin discriminating on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference and political beliefs? It won't be too long before we see nothing but aneroxic Caucaisan twentysomethings allowed on airlines

Is this for real? Try sending a package to someone you know. Wouldn't you know, the delivery firms DISCRIMINATE LETTERS on the basis of their SIZE and WEIGHT! Oh, the horror!

And even if the airlines actually did instate such a policy, what would stop you from starting Rhino Size Airlines? That would be an opportunity, not a problem.
posted by dagny at 9:50 AM on June 19, 2002 [1 favorite]


I agree that people should be charged for two seats if they want two seats.

However, Frasermoo, your comments (while, I presume, an attempt at humour) are way over the line. Referring to nearby overweight people as "DUMB F*CKS!" is unnecessary, immature and stupid.
posted by Marquis at 9:54 AM on June 19, 2002


The whole "tall people" thing is a canard - tall people don't get two seats, because it wouldn't help.

If you don't like being forced to pay for an extra seat, there are other airlines out there that won't make you do so. Southwest has incredibly low fares because they skimp on a lot of the "amenities". To me, saving fifty bucks is not worth having my knees rammed into the seat in front of me or having to show up an hour early so that I can have a chance at getting a nice seat, so I pay extra to fly on American. That's how competition works.
posted by jaek at 9:54 AM on June 19, 2002


Well this discussion (save for a couple of posters) went right down the airplane toilet, didn't it? Maybe we should be happy, since it seems that fat is a more contentious topic on Metafilter than Israel/Palestine.

Frasermoo, you must be the kind of guy (I'm making the safe assumption you're a man) who chortles at kids in wheelchairs and screams at people in mental institutions to CHEER THE F**K UP! Or do you scream at homeless people to GET A F**KING JOB?

Life is hard, friend, and we all have to bear one cross or another. Make sure you check for that log in your eye while criticising the splinters in everyone elses.
posted by evanizer at 9:55 AM on June 19, 2002


Dagny: When a letter and package becomes a sentient human being, with real human emotions and accomplishments, let me know.

And would you be cool with this policy if the airlines began charging two seats for people who posted on Metafilter as dagny?
posted by ed at 9:55 AM on June 19, 2002


my brother was recently on a flight next to a large person, and he was very uncomfortable. the problem really is the small seats on the plane, but short of adding larger seats, i'm not sure what else you can do. sure, it sucks to have to pay more if you are a larger person, but it also sucks to be uncomfortable the entire flight. that goes for both people.
posted by moz at 9:56 AM on June 19, 2002


ed: Of course it would. It would be perfectly within the right of the airlines. Dumb, but legal. Silly, but within their right. Markets are based on voluntary transactions. If part A offers certain terms to part B, and part B doesn't want to or isn't able to uphold those terms, part A has the right to back away from the negotiation. Deal with it.
posted by dagny at 9:58 AM on June 19, 2002


Reminds me of the time I rode from Chicago to Dayton, Ohio on a Greyhound bus. The bus was full and I had an obese woman's fat-rolls over-flowing into my seat - spent the entire ride with the arm of the seat jammed into my ribs trying to accomodate her fatness by sitting with one buttock on the seat - all the while alternating between self-righteous rage and self-martyring pity... I truly believe there are very few people who are accidentally obese. You can eat well and be overweight and still not have to shoe-horn yourself into a small seat. Or when people with fat legs have to spread their legs wide when sitting and crowd your own space. Whether or not it is a legitimate problem or a right or whatever - it is a problem none-the-less. Fat people crowd space in cramped public seating conditions. At least they're not pretending the problem doesn't exist. For most of the general population, obesity is not a handicap. To lump it into the same bucket as blindless or using a wheelchair insults those that are disabled. Being a fucking fat ass doesn't guarantee you special treatment. Reminds me of the Simpsons where Homer decides to become so obese he can work at home and collect disability - he has to wear a mumu (sp?). Beefcake - beefCAKE!
posted by ao4047 at 10:00 AM on June 19, 2002


I'm an american glutton and I'm not obese...I'm not even big boned.

DM, that's because you've got a hot young wife to burn all of those calories off with.
posted by SpecialK at 10:02 AM on June 19, 2002


you're going to let the airlines discriminate on the basis of weight? If the airlines keep this kind of exclusionary protocol up and consumers don't even bat so much as an eye, when will they begin discriminating on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference and political beliefs?

I don't buy that slippery slope argument. It doesn't make sense for airlines to discriminate against customers based on race, gender, sexuality or politics. It does make sense to discriminate based on weight, because the weight of a passenger has a direct bearing on the performance of the plane and the cost and comfort of the other passengers. Large airplanes, just like small airplanes, carefully balance the weight load for each flight, and that includes balancing passengers. So when an airline evenly distributes passengers based on weight, they are already "discriminating."

Southwest is trying to avoid financially punishing their average sized passengers by making large passengers pay for 2 seats. (Imagine if the large passenger got the second space free, mandated by law. Then prices would go up).

Life isn't fair. Some people have to pay more for certain things than other people. Sometimes, maybe overweight people have to spend more on clothes, or food, or other things. The same principle can easily apply to seating.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:04 AM on June 19, 2002


I hate getting stuck between two large people when I'm on a flight and they should be required to buy the seat between them. This is not discrimination it's common sense. If you use an extra seat then you must pay for it.

If a person wants to eat two dinners at a restaurant do you think the second one should be free?
posted by MaddCutty at 10:04 AM on June 19, 2002


I would also like to add that Southwest has some of the best airfare prices in the industry. For short, slim people. Like me.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:08 AM on June 19, 2002


I'm 180 lbs. If I go to a car dealership I can buy the $10,000 compact model. If a 400lb guy goes to buy a car, he may not be able to fit into the compact model. Should the dealer give him the Mondo-SUV for $10,000 just to keep from "discriminating" against him?

Of course not.

It costs a lot of money to fuel up a big metal tube with humans, arrange for all the overhead like airport fees and packages of peanuts, and fly across the country. In order to make any profit whatsoever (and airlines aren't exactly the most profitable businesses) they must be as efficient about things as possible. This includes designing the seats to fit most reasonably sized people. If someone requires two of these seats they should have to pay for it. Why should the airline have to foot the bill and cut into their profits?
posted by bondcliff at 10:12 AM on June 19, 2002


I wonder if there's a weight-related corrolary to homophobia? Because it seems a lot of you are afflicted. Agreeing with the two-seat policy is one thing (though it's funny how not one of our leftist members is decrying the greed of airlines -who are making seats smaller and smaller to cram more people in them- at the expense of human beings) but the overboard defensiveness some of you are displaying is rather telling, no?
posted by evanizer at 10:12 AM on June 19, 2002


Evanizer: See above. ("of packing as many goddam people into the plane as possible")
posted by ed at 10:17 AM on June 19, 2002


Homosexuals happen to have a particular sexual orientation. Fat people eat too much and move around too little. There's a difference, as ao4047 eloquently explained.
posted by dagny at 10:20 AM on June 19, 2002


It's disturbing to see so many people use a pathetic issue like this to get some big-time prejudice off their chests. You think fat people are disgusting, so we should set up the rules to reflect that? I would no more criticize a fat person for being fat than I would a crack whore for sleeping around or a black person for having a shade of skin that might not match my ideal of beauty. Given our willingness to tell other people how they should live their lives and how they should look, Ashcroft's new KGB is going to fit right in here.

W/r/t the airplane seat issue, my impression is that a passenger ticket allows one human passenger to ride the plane. If you are a dwarf who weighs 50 pounds you do not pay less for your ticket because you allow someone else more space. The airlines are in the business of cramming as many people into a tube as they can get, and the space provided per passenger reflects this; as such, they should pay the price when someone does not fit into their height/weight requirements. If you're crammed into a seat because a larger person is sitting next to you (whether they are large for 'natural' reasons or not), blame the airlines before you blame a person who did not design the cabin.

How soon until we go back to having 'white' and 'colored' drinking fountains?
posted by troybob at 10:20 AM on June 19, 2002


Homosexuals happen to have a particular sexual orientation. Fat people eat too much and move around too little.

In neither case is it any of your fucking business!
posted by troybob at 10:22 AM on June 19, 2002


I have broad shoulders and I can fit into an airplane seat fine as long as I collapse my arms in front of my body for the entire flight. (I'm a former football player)
posted by LinemanBear at 10:25 AM on June 19, 2002


Anyone think that next the airlines will narrow their seats by 2-3 inches or more to increase the number of passengers that have to pay double fair?
posted by bobo123 at 10:26 AM on June 19, 2002


WOW, remind me not to fly southwest, the last two flights I was on were sold out. These flights were from Hawaii & Europe to Texas, yes SW would not qualify. Yet, I scored as I was seated in the middle section having two empty seats next to me, I stretched out. Now since my ass and feet rode for free, why can't a fee be waived when these extra seats are not being used. Plus, I weigh a buck 25 so the lack of weight can be transferred for them that need it, too. Lets not forget the customers. Or, no more wings.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:27 AM on June 19, 2002


Referring to nearby overweight people as "DUMB F*CKS!" is unnecessary, immature and stupid.

When said overweight people are obviously suffering serious health problems from that condition, and yet cram their faces full of Hershey's and Cokes, I think it is entirely justifiable to call them dumbf*cks.

Or are we now so broad-minded as to not call deliberate self-harm a stupid behaviour?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:28 AM on June 19, 2002


I think abcnews.com posted an article similar to this topic a while back and in it mentioned that the average airline seat fit around a 44inch waist comfortably.
posted by dangerman at 10:30 AM on June 19, 2002


here it is
posted by dangerman at 10:36 AM on June 19, 2002


In neither case is it any of your fucking business!

Just out of curiosity; how can I possibly not notice that a person standing in front of me is (say) four feet wide? And how will the airplanes know, so they will not increase the fuel consumption to compensate for the extra weight they're transporting?
posted by dagny at 10:39 AM on June 19, 2002


I am staying out of the horror that is going on here and saying that I have to do the same as LinemanBear. I do not like to stray into my seatmate's space, and the body origami is a killer on flights over an hour. I think of the pain, and constantly measure it versus the savings. It is usually worth it, but I imagine I am going to start flying more expensive airlines when I can afford to do so.
posted by thirteen at 10:41 AM on June 19, 2002


FFF: I've got no issue with people criticizing "deliberate self-harm". But insulting the person with scatalogical inflammatories is certainly unnecessary, probably immature, and, IMHO, stupid. Frasermoo's motives were not altruistic. He wasn't telling the overweight individuals, "You guys should watch out - you're hurting yourselves." He wasn't helping them.

He was calling them "FUCKS".
posted by Marquis at 10:42 AM on June 19, 2002


Would it be fairer if each airline had a formula which priced it seats per pound? Then you'd have a non-judgemental scheme which encouraged weight loss, treated everyone fairly and allowed for competition on price, as well as comfort?

Just an idea...
posted by dash_slot- at 10:43 AM on June 19, 2002


When said overweight people are obviously suffering serious health problems from that condition, and yet cram their faces full of Hershey's and Cokes, I think it is entirely justifiable to call them dumbf*cks.

Absolutely, why express any concern for the wellbeing of ill people? Instead, let's call them dumb fucks. Jolly good.

Asshole.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:44 AM on June 19, 2002


This will be an interesting dilemma for enforcement of the ADA. Suppose airlines have the right to force someone to purchase a second seat. At the same time, the traveler is billing expenses to his or her company (which in turn may be passing them along to the client.)

Who pays?
posted by PrinceValium at 10:46 AM on June 19, 2002


It's not just airlines...sports stadia are having to make space too.

As for the fat thing...in 90%+ of cases it is down to the person & what they eat. Too much &/or fatty, processed foods & not enough exercise. We in the West (for it is becoming as much of an issue in Europe as in the US) love our snack treats & will pay.

Such is the price of luxury...
posted by i_cola at 10:50 AM on June 19, 2002


As for the Chinese airlines, isn't it that the average size of a person is China is less than the average European/American? It makes total sense on why they would have smaller seats.

Good, in theory, until you realize that they're also compromising safety. The time it takes passengers to exit is fairly fixed (there have been many studies on this) per passenger... cram 15% more passengers into the cabin, don't add any exits, and you're compromising the original safety design of the plane just the same as if you removed exits to add seats.

Also: to those who argue that it's a case of ticket being a contract to transport one person you're ignoring the rights of the people on each side. I think the contract is for one seat and if you can't fit into that seat you should pay more. I note that up to certain age a ticket will cover two people (an adult at a child) so long as they fit into a single seat.

I don't care why someone is fat, just that their personage is spilling over into the precious space that my ticket paid for. What about that right?

(I'm not even going to get started on sitting next to people who have babies/children and don't control them.)
posted by tomkarlo at 10:53 AM on June 19, 2002


Anyone think that next the airlines will narrow their seats by 2-3 inches or more to increase the number of passengers that have to pay double fare?

Southwest already flies some of the smallest seats in the business -- 32" pitch, 16" width. They aren't going to shrink them much more -- they'd have to get them down to 12" before the could get another seat in the row.

I'll take American's MD-80s -- 34" x 18", since I'm 6"4" with long legs. Even the AA 737s have 17" width, and 737s are infamous for tiny seats. (Care to guess what SW flies exclusively?)

Also, note that on Southwest, there is no option to upgrade to First class, since there isn't one.

So, Southwest has now fallen from the "I'll fly them only if my Mom dies and it's the only way to make the funeral" list to the "I'll walk instead" list.
posted by eriko at 11:00 AM on June 19, 2002


I don't think our feelings about obese people are necessarily relevant. If you use two seats--whether for yourself, your pet, your luggage, or whatnot--you should pay for two seats.

It's not as if airlines have been handing out free seats willy-nilly to obese people. More often than not, they're forced to squeeze into a small seat, overflowing (literally) on to the people next to them. That doesn't sound fair or dignified to anyone.

Perhaps a policy such as this will encourage people who need two seats to pay for them up front, so they can enjoy their flights. This is a budget airline after all, so it may still cost less than flying a major.
posted by subgenius at 11:10 AM on June 19, 2002


First they shrank coach seats down to the point that I feel cramped (and I'm only 5'6"). Now they're gonna say, "sorry, you don't fit into our microseating so you have to buy 2 seats... At worst, that reaks of conflict of interest. At best, its a powerful disincentive to ever increase the seats. And the bottom line is that coach-class airline seats are on almost all airlines, unconscionably small. There is no excuse for this.

Worse still is that if you make an obese person pay for two fares, that person is logically entitled to two meals, which means the Airlines are contributing to that person's weight problem.

Coming soon: Weight-Watchers Airlines. Extra wide seats, buffet dining, and all for just a little less than it costs to buy 2 seats on Southwest Airlines.
posted by BentPenguin at 11:11 AM on June 19, 2002


So much for civility.

I'm really astonished at the hostility in here. Any of you fat-haters care to explain the cause of your loathing? I'm not talking to someone with a legitimate gripe about getting enough space in your seat. I can understand being annoyed in that situation. But what's with the outright abhorrence that makes you call fat people nasty names? It really doesn't sound like you care about those people's health. It sounds like you feel they are wronging you by their very existence. Honestly, what gives?
posted by Fenriss at 11:13 AM on June 19, 2002


I tip I learned in Hawaii, the biggest seats are next to the emergency exits, and no you don't have to be big to use them. Just understand that if they ask you, "if you can lift 120lbs" say yes. (I think that is the weight) And second why can't the airlines do a better job in arranging the seats.
Think, the duties of an airlines attendant is not to be your waiter, only. I have friends that are airline attendants so no rhetoric on there job duties please, I'm stating a fact about a business that wants not my ass but cash. And fuel & weight consumption is not the main factor, how many times have you all been delayed in the air, once I was up 3 hours after my flight made it to its destination. And for a small person, so I've been told, why am I wearing LARGE size shirts and compact cars are for kids.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:14 AM on June 19, 2002


The glaringly obvious problem with this policy (which I'm surprised that no one else has noticed) is that it is going to be at the discretion of individual ticket agents, and not according to any standard save their particular eyeballing of perspective passengers. The person who is two-seat fat in Ticket Agent Julie Smith's eyes -- jaundiced by her own personal body issues -- could be judged fine for one seat if they happen to be helped by Ticket Agent Tom Taylor, whose judgement may be equally impaired thanks to his recent 100lb. weight loss and lifelong sympathy for those who are where he once was.

This is a recipe for inequities and disasters. There have been numerous complaints against Southwest (going back into the late 90's) because their "too fat to fly" decisions are already arbitrary and capricious. There have been a number of fat passengers who have been refused boarding to a second leg flight in a connecting city, told that they are suddenly too fat to fly in a single seat, even though they did so during their trip's first leg. Their only option has been to buy a ticket for a second seat -- at the premium same day fare -- or be left stranded. Absent a standard -- like an actual seat somewhere in a private area where people can dispute an agent's judgement -- the potential for abuse, embarrassment and harassment is extraordinary.

And this is Southwest Airlines we're talking about -- the airline which nearly got hauled into court back in '99 because they were refusing to provide plus size uniforms for their female employees, effectively eliminating any large sized woman from working in a public capacity. They do not have a record which indicates that they are prepared to be fair and reasonable with fat people, and they should be ready to lose business over this -- something that they really cannot afford.

Would it be fairer if each airline had a formula which priced it seats per pound?

Two moments of common sense based contemplation of that idea should make the answer so clear that it need not even be written out.
posted by Dreama at 11:15 AM on June 19, 2002


When said overweight people are obviously suffering serious health problems from that condition, and yet cram their faces full of Hershey's and Cokes, I think it is entirely justifiable to call them dumbf*cks.

Or are we now so broad-minded as to not call deliberate self-harm a stupid behaviour?


Holy Shit! I guess that link someone posted about everyone being snobs is true, and it seems a vast majority of them post here on metafilter. It would also seem that a majority of you are physcially perfect specimens who never suffer from low self-esteem. Do you store all this vitriol up to use on fat people or is such venom also launched at people who smoke, abuse drugs and alcohol, practice unsafe sex, speed, jaywalk (all deliberate self-harm)?

As a tall and fat girl, i have the double-whammy when it comes to flying. I have no problem with the airline policy. I am used to paying more for everything-- cars, clothes, shoes. It's just a fact of life.
posted by jodic at 11:15 AM on June 19, 2002


You know maybe I'd think the extra charge was OK if the airlines weren't given billions by the government. Last time I checked fat people payed taxes too. I wonder when they'll charge extra for a person with a wheelchair? You know that guy that was a dumbass and went head first into the shallow pond.
posted by @homer at 11:32 AM on June 19, 2002


Absent a standard -- like an actual seat somewhere in a private area where people can dispute an agent's judgement -- the potential for abuse, embarrassment and harassment is extraordinary.

I totally agree. And if someone is denied the right to board a plane for a connecting flight (when the ticket has been sold and passenger approved) they should be able to sue the company for fraud or violation of contract.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:41 AM on June 19, 2002


My last issue on this: I live where they are headquartered. Bottom line, that is the line, if you ever been in Dallas. They think they are Hollywood, so why wouldn't the company, too. What about extra plastic body parts, are those factored in with what Dereama said about Ticket Agent Julie Smith's eyes. Plus it seems Dallas thinks you can afford it, compare American Airlines flights from DallasFortworth to a destination with a flight starting elsewhere nearby, and the Dallas starting point will be more in most cases and there based here also (you cannot compare SW to AA airlines because of the "Wright Amendment"). How many airlines are there, most have gone under or merged, seems no choice is the problem.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:43 AM on June 19, 2002


On a little reflection, I can see the 'Dumb F*ck' line partially offensive to those who took it out of context. If I have offended, I apologise. However, when said with the accent of someone from London saying it in lame American accent for comedic affect, it works somewhat
And if you take it in the context of being somewhat in awe of seriously (heart stoppingly) people still cramming crap down their gullets then it works on a concerned level. I would have no problem calling my sister a 'Dumb F*ck' if she bowled up one day with a crack pipe and a rock.
posted by Frasermoo at 11:44 AM on June 19, 2002


I think of fatness and cigarette smoking as kind of similar. Both flow from compulsions and aversions which override awareness of obvious health risks and problems, which bedevil plenty of good, smart, and otherwise decent people.

The elimination of smoking in airplanes, with nowhere else to go, was one of those things that went a long way to breaking the back of the 3-back-a-day smoking habit. I've seen articles which suggest that although the percentage of the population which smokes vs. not smokes hasn't moved considerably in the past 15 years or so, the amount of smoking that smokers do has dropped by half or more.

If these kind of actions can generate a similar reaction, maybe people in the range of weights (say, 200 for a 5'0" woman up to 400 for 6'4" guy) where you can comfortably fly but can't really fit in a single seat can drop the 50-100 pounds they need to fit into a seat.
posted by MattD at 11:47 AM on June 19, 2002


I'm with ya, jodic.

My tallness causes me endless strife when it comes to paying for clothing and food (disturbingly fast metabolism.) But I just sit there and take it. Of course, I also speed, drink, smoke, and expose myself to some disturbing people. (tallest/thinnest guy in pic)

These things define who I am and, self-destructive or not, I am willing to pay the monetary price for my lifestyle. Anyone not willing to do the same because they're fat needs to lose some weight, and anyone who ridicules them needs an ego tuck.
posted by fnord_prefect at 11:51 AM on June 19, 2002


I would have no problem calling my sister a 'Dumb F*ck' if she bowled up one day with a crack pipe and a rock.

Just because you're insensitive, brash and nasty (all in the guise of 'straight-talking', I'm sure) doesn't mean everybody else is.
posted by evanizer at 11:52 AM on June 19, 2002


I'm fine with this, as long as they offer substantial discounts to double amputees.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:53 AM on June 19, 2002


BitterOldPunk: Damn you. That's the 3rd coffee-related keyboard incident this week. Why must you people be funny in the morning?
posted by fnord_prefect at 11:57 AM on June 19, 2002


And, epidemiologically, a big person losing 50-100 pounds, even if they're still quite fat afterward, has really taken a huge step forward, health-wise.
posted by MattD at 12:00 PM on June 19, 2002


Call me insensitive if you must, but I'm not a fat person because, and only because, I get a lot of exercise, to, very consciously, avoid being a fat person.
So, when my svelte self plunks down some hard earned cash for the joy of having to spend a few hours wedged in between two monstrously heavy people (oh, of course there are medical conditions that cause it, but with a 60% obesity rate in the States, I'd also tend to learn towards gluttony as the most oft-responsible culprit) I get really pissed off at them.
Suddenly, we're sharing body heat for a few hours. Lucky fucking me.
posted by dong_resin at 12:21 PM on June 19, 2002


Wow. 72 comments and only one mention that I saw of ADA (Americans with Disablities Act). I don't want to suggest that obesity is necessarily a disablity but from what I can remember (when I was working full time as an architect) the ADA guidelines will suggest that airlines must provide a certain number of seats for larger people.

Why? The guide is intended to make public and private services available to all citizens -- perhaps it has ballooned beyond disabilities. Does anyone know if the ADA makes an exception for airplanes? After my last visit to the US, seeing extra wide seats in the cinema, my guess would be not. I would not be surprised to see a legal challenge to this policy resulting in a few seats on each plane to accomodate the extra tall or extra wide at standard fares. (Imagine the joy when an average sized person is blessed with one of those!)

One of my neighbors is a giant: he must be at least 6'-8" and 350 lbs. I can not imagine him flying anything but business class or above. (Just for the record, I'm a tad overweight (78 kilos) for my height (5'9" and shrinking) and the one indulgence* my wife and I have is to always fly business class across the Atlantic. Fact is, all airline seats are too small for human use. Bring on the Zeppelins I say!

*Okay, that and my Apple Cinema Display.
posted by Dick Paris at 12:33 PM on June 19, 2002


hey, southwest is moving to paper, too. instead of those plastic boarding card pass thingies. i wonder what they will do with them now that they will no longer be in service? they seem to be very useful :)

zeppelins, yes!
posted by kliuless at 12:44 PM on June 19, 2002


I tip I learned in Hawaii, the biggest seats are next to the emergency exits, and no you don't have to be big to use them. Just understand that if they ask you, "if you can lift 120lbs" say yes. (I think that is the weight) And second why can't the airlines do a better job in arranging the seats.

Ahhh.... if you can't lift out the exit door, don't lie and say you can. Nobody wants to be one of the 50 people waiting while you struggle with the door, as the cabin fills with smoke, all because you wanted an extra 6" of legroom. Plus, anyone who's big enough to need that room, sure as heck should be able to lift 120 lbs, considering they themselves probably weight 200 lbs or more.

Also the seats in exit rows aren't any wider. Sometimes they have slightly more shoulder space because they're offset from the bulkhead a bit, but the actual armrest-to-armrest seat area remains the same. The main plus is extra legroom for tall folks, esp since you don't have someone in front of you attempting to lean back (whoever is measuring the seat spacing seems to ignore that.)
posted by tomkarlo at 12:45 PM on June 19, 2002


They should keep it as a suggested option, then, if the big people don't get the 2 seats, the passenger next to them can legitimately call them an asshole.

Excuse me, but I object to your transferring the airline's problem to ME, as the random, minding-my-own-business passenger. Whatever the solution is to be, it is the airline that should enforce it.

It is interesting to me that those of you so quick to defend the "rights" of overweight people to demand more than the single seat they have paid for fall silent about the rights of the majority of passengers to utilize ALL of the single seat that they have paid for. Technically, taking something that does not belong to you (even if it has only been rented temporarily) is theft. What you are advocating is compelling people to pay for space utilized by strangers, which is preposterous and wrong.

People have the right to choose to become or accept being overweight, or to not do the things that it would take to not be overweight (dietary changes, exercise programs, etc.). But they have NO right to expect anyone to give them a single special consideration for their decision. Choices have consequences. Any self-destructive behavior is foolish, and the choice to engage is self-destructive behavior is contemptible (to me). But it IS a choice that people make, and they are entitled to make it, as the responsibility for their lives is their own. They are not, however, entitled to impose the consequences upon those of us who do not make these choices. Therefore, my comfort while flying (ha!) should not be compromised because of the bad habits of others. It is sufficiently compromised by the greed of those providing the service.
posted by rushmc at 12:52 PM on June 19, 2002 [1 favorite]


I would not be surprised to see a legal challenge to this policy resulting in a few seats on each plane to accomodate the extra tall or extra wide at standard fares. (Imagine the joy when an average sized person is blessed with one of those!)

And the resentment of the majority crammed into the standard inadequate seats.
posted by rushmc at 12:54 PM on June 19, 2002


Say dog, I get really pissed off at them.
Who are them? Maybe if you were at Burger King you could have it your way. I bet I'm smaller than you, and I take offense to what is considered Fat today. As I spent my early years trying to gain weight. I can give you horror stories to the torture I endeared being slim in a family that I guess most here would call fat. It is in your genes, then everything else like you said too. If I go w/o exercise I will loose weight, unless I gorge myself. And no I'm no freak, my Dad side has always had this problem. I bet if we used the standard height vs weight chart with you, you would be fat too. So where do you stand now, only eating bones. And hey them might be pissed you sat next to them too. I'm not trying to point, yet we were not created equal. :)
posted by thomcatspike at 12:57 PM on June 19, 2002


Lots of people have bad habits that affect their health - like drinking, smoking, using certain drugs, poor nutrition and not getting enough exercise. Yep, poor nutrition and lack of exercise make people fat. But what generates so much invective? It's not a moral failure, so chill a bit.
posted by theora55 at 1:03 PM on June 19, 2002


Honestly, I'm not really sure what you're trying to say, thomcatspike. All I'm saying is I get annoyed when the very obese crowd me in.
It's more and more frequent.
Genetics doesn't figure in. It's clearly a gluttony issue. If you're a special genetic circumstance, then bully for you. You know you're not responsible for your size. You know you're not the majority, and not what I'm talking about. The majority are getting fat due solely to a lifestyle, a lifestyle I could also indulge in but put effort into avoiding, yet I get to enjoy the result of their gluttony while simply trying to get somewhere. Them They. Them. They piss me off.
posted by dong_resin at 1:13 PM on June 19, 2002


Heh.
Maybe "bully for you" wasn't the phrase I wanted, there.
posted by dong_resin at 1:14 PM on June 19, 2002


A list of dumbfucks:

- that stone-cold stupid woman who borrowed a parachute without checking it out, then BASE-jumped illegally off El Capitan. Filmed by her equally stupid husband, right down to the splat.

- that Canadian kid, dumb as a post, who tipped a Coke machine on himself trying to scam a can.

- the idjit who had a loaded gun on his bedstand, and blew himself away "answering the phone" one night.

- anyone engaging in bareback sex with strangers.

- gluttons who choose to injure themselves by continuing to eat unhealthy foods.

And, yes, I've done stupid things in my life. There are several unroped cliff-climbing incidents that could have had dire consequences. If I'd hurt myself, you'd simply have to consider me a dumbfuck... and even though I didn't get hurt, the label for that particular behaviour probably still applies.

To hell with this nicey-nicey bullshit idea that everyone's feelings are oh-so-precious and that it's somehow wrong to be honest. Stupid is as stupid does, and chowing down on Hershey's and Coke when you body is screaming about the abuse is as stupid as jumping off a cliff with an unknown-quality parachute.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:15 PM on June 19, 2002


A passenger liner sunk off the coast of an isolated island in the south pacific, and after a couple weeks of waiting the people realized that rescue was improbable, so they began to get on with their lives. The French started planting vinyards, the Germans began building autobahns, and so forth. After a couple months someone realized that the British were missing and a search party was sent out. They were found on the beach, still waiting to be introduced.
posted by Mack Twain at 1:17 PM on June 19, 2002


It's not a moral failure, so chill a bit.

I disagree. But I'm interested in hearing why you think so.
posted by rushmc at 1:18 PM on June 19, 2002


To hell with this nicey-nicey bullshit idea that everyone's feelings are oh-so-precious and that it's somehow wrong to be honest.

I'm calling bullshit on that, fff, and your entire specious post. You don't have to be a willing daredevil. You do have to eat. When you have a compulsion for food, an addiction to eating, you can't fight it like you can all other addictions, because the human body does not respond well to being completely deprived of food, whether you're 50 pounds or 5,000.

Besides, the issue here is fairness and propriety of a corporate decision, not your continued moral outrage at people who are overweight. You think that we're all stupid, and that's fine. I (and I'm probably not alone) think that you are a self-righteous, judgmental fool.

None of that has anything to do with the topic at hand. Why don't you try addressing the policy, and its reported method of use and defend it from your anti-fat position. I'm interested in seeing if you're capable of doing so, or if you'd rather continue to spew your vitriolic namecalling because that's all you've got.
posted by Dreama at 1:29 PM on June 19, 2002


Look, the idea that fat people are nearly always fat because they're immoral gluttons is just not factual.

I'm pretty fat (not hugely, but I could stand to shed 50 pounds). I'm a vegetarian, I have no taste for junk food and I eat dessert about 3 times a year, while eating at least 6 servings of fresh fruit and veggies a day. I consume about the same amount of food as my friends and coworkers around me, but I confess that I've been a bit sedentary in the last two years. A demanding job and a lot of personal activities have gotten in the way of my days at the gym, so I try to walk as much as I can. I'm not trying to deny that a lack of sufficient exercise has contributed to my weight gain, but I'm not going to sit here and be called a dumb fuck. The mathematical reality of weight gain is that only a 50 calorie surplus a day (say, an extra apple you didn't have time to burn off) can add up to a lot of extra pounds in a few years. I am not a glutton, and I'm not immoral. And I'm not espousing "nicey-nicey bullshit" when I say that abusive talk and name calling isn't gonna make me thin, nor provide you with a more comfortable airline seat!

Sheesh.
posted by Fenriss at 1:50 PM on June 19, 2002


It costs more to ship 100lbs of cargo than it does to ship 50lbs of cargo. Why should shipping 200lbs of human cargo cost the same as shipping 400lbs?

why should shipping 175 cost the same as shipping 180? honestly, when we buy tickets we should stand on a scale, just like at the post office, and we should also have to sign a non-deviation agreement so that we wouldn't move out of a predefined range before the actual flight (for people that book early) i mean, the airlines are on a tight budget, they have to have an idea of their flight-weight. oh and next time you see some handicapped guy waste your time on the bus loading and unloading demand that he pay more! honestly! do you think those wheelchair lifts are cheap?
posted by rhyax at 2:02 PM on June 19, 2002


With regard to the issue of whether obesity is a disability, it is my understanding that airlines are not governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Rather, they regulated by the Air Carrier Access Act (PDF), which does not consider obesity to be a disability.
posted by subgenius at 2:04 PM on June 19, 2002


Dreama: Oh, bullshit. I know people who have been addicted to nicotine and managed to break the habit; I know people who have been addicted to cocaine and managed to break the habit; and I've known gluttons who've been addicted to sweet, fat food and managed to break the habit. And it didn't require that they entirely quit eating, either.

You get as much respect from others as you give yourself. And someone with open sores on their thighs, who's out of breath from walking a block, and who's still stuffing their face with sugary, fat food is someone who has no self-respect at all.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:09 PM on June 19, 2002


Dong, sorry I dropped your "n". I agree with you and your latter comment. I'm saying unless you spend more you get screwed, whether your big, or small. It is no win for some customers. How do you think I feel when it happens to me, I'm just glad that "I" was the guy, being thin so those who are not, won't be inconvienced since it's something I can live with for a time. Since this is about a company and if your read my tip, and MHO above, the airlines has us, yet now they want to change the rules. No attack on anyone here, we should attack the airlines, how long have they been in business, these rules are for them, because they see what you said, fat due solely to a lifestyle, a lifestyle I could also indulge in but put effort into avoiding. Yes if our culture keeps it up, yuck. And dong on another thread I have your back completely, and let me say you have my respect for your control, I slowed down on my favorite thing as it makes me fat, beer. I'll be 34 so I appreciate being thin now. Yes they are a business that can do what they want, except there is no competition, except us. They know it and we are on a short end of the stick. But please go read my tip on finding a roomier seat. And yes I'm sticking up for the fat ones, who do you think stuck up for me being thin.
P. S. I could not find an authorized by MD weight chart, we should all see were we sit on that before we say what is thin, slender, pudgy, fat, freak, and walking dead. Because they will. If your counting, this is my 4th post. Oh and when I mentioned that weight, for United it not if you can lift it, that you UNDERSTAND whatever the weight is, and 120 I think I went hi.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:12 PM on June 19, 2002


Wait a minute. Air travel isn't covered by the ADA, but cheesy game shows are?

What's wrong with this picture?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:15 PM on June 19, 2002


The root of the problem is that the seats are too damn small.

But a lot of you people seem a bit obsessive concerned over possible intrusion of someone's love handle into your own personal space. I mean, there must be a hundred things about air travel that are more annoying than the possibility that your precious skin might come into contact with *shudder* a fat person.

Tolerance, people. I remember complaining (not very nicely) to a woman behind me because her kid was kicking the back of my seat. After having a little seatkicker of my own, I'd be a lot more likely to ignore it - the kid will either fall asleep or find something else to do in 2 minutes.

Sitting next to a kid with a dirty diaper must send y'all into seizures.

I used to work with a guy that was attracted to really heavy women. It's not an uncommon fetish - figure there's probably someone on any flight with the same attraction. Perhaps the gate agent could announce "we need a chubby chaser in 12D."

Lighten up, you'll live longer.
posted by groundhog at 2:33 PM on June 19, 2002


rhyax points to the problem in what I hope was sarcasm. The Airlines are treating passengers as cargo -- all of us -- and that is just ain't right! Fat or no, no one deserves to be treated as such.

rushmc: And the resentment of the majority crammed into the standard inadequate seats.

offtopic/ Sort of like that resentment I have paying $100 more or worse because I bought my ticket 30 seconds after the passenger next to me. Grrrr. /offtopic
posted by Dick Paris at 2:35 PM on June 19, 2002


But a lot of you people seem a bit obsessive concerned over possible intrusion of someone's love handle into your own personal space.

And what makes your willingness to be touched by strangers more right than our dismay or disgust at the thought of same? How people view personal space and the violation of same varies tremendously from person to person and from society to society. You have no right to impose YOUR comfort zone upon anyone else.
posted by rushmc at 2:50 PM on June 19, 2002


And I find your suggestion that it is my responsibility to endure the unpleasant disruption of having my seat kicked repeatedly or the stench of an unchanged diaper absurd. As a paying passenger, I have a reasonable expectation not to be inconvenienced because other people can't deal with their children. If they cannot, they should not take them out into public where other people are affected by them. Certainly, we all make allowances for others all the time, but there is no obligation to do so; it's a gift.

I think your point is probably "don't sweat the small stuff," but unfortunately it comes across more as a suggestion to let other people walk all over you because they happen to be louder, more offensive, confrontational or demanding, and less considerate.
posted by rushmc at 2:59 PM on June 19, 2002


OK, niceness over. I'm big enough and strong enough to crush all of the self-righteous fuckwits in this thread into a fine, insoluble powder. FFF, Frasermoo, rush and others, you sound like a bunch of puritans on a tirade against blasphemers and sinners. Take your little bird-seed munching coalition somewhere else and do your pamphleteering, or I'm going to sit my big gay ass on you, which will offer double the horror for one low price.

I'd rather flash my Zionist card in a hundred Israel vs. Palestine Metafilter threads, I'd rather talk of my low-level position in the Bush administration in a 'Bushtard' thread, I'd rather drive my Land Rover into one of our SUV discussions than endure the shrill, pathological disgust of a fat people thread.

Now, off to pound down some Double Quarter Pounders. With cheese.
posted by evanizer at 3:14 PM on June 19, 2002


Yep, as I figured. Fish, you're so overwhelmed with your hatred that you have nothing of substance to offer, even when the door is opened wide to you. It's a waste of time attempting to coerce something on-topic from you and I don't know why I bothered, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I can hear a little word of truth ringing oh so clearly: "Be sure your hate will find you out."
posted by Dreama at 3:20 PM on June 19, 2002


If you're tall try American. If you're wide try Midwest. Really.
posted by mrbula at 3:28 PM on June 19, 2002


Thoughtful contribution, evanizer. We should all strive to emulate your measured and reasonable tone.
posted by rushmc at 3:29 PM on June 19, 2002


This thread is making me really hungry.
posted by Ty Webb at 3:31 PM on June 19, 2002


This thread is making me really hungry.

This thread is making me claustrophobic.
posted by timeistight at 3:41 PM on June 19, 2002


"If you're tall try American. If you're wide try Midwest. Really."

If I ever fly again, I plan to go JetBlue. If they don't fly there, I ain't goin'.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:54 PM on June 19, 2002


Next time, order your food with olestra - what's a little anal leakage?
posted by owillis at 3:56 PM on June 19, 2002


Sorry, rush, but when you wade into a thread and, despite repeated attempts to create a discussion that is not about the morality of being fat, you get attacked, called disgusting, dismissed as either an impulsive glutton or a grotesque, lazy slob, one tends to get a bit defensive. Perhaps I lashed out, but I've never heard such prejudicial crap in a forum as intelligent as Metafilter. It's incredulous. It's angering. And it seems beyond certain people's ability to evince the slightest sensitivity, politeness or understanding. That's fine if you can't. But in that case keep it to yourselves. Having grown up both gay and overweight, I've dealt with mountains of hate in my life. Now that I'm an adult and have a modicum of self-confidence and self-esteem, I don't want to come to Metafilter to hear schoolyard talk all over again. If the subject of some poster's arguments here were changed into 'homos', I'd swear I was at a Fred Phelps Bible Study session. Or change it to Jews, and suddenly we're at a David Duke rally. Or in the editorial offices of the Guardian, take your pick.
posted by evanizer at 3:56 PM on June 19, 2002


It's not a moral failure, so chill a bit.

I disagree. But I'm interested in hearing why you think so.
posted by rushmc at 1:18 PM PST on June 19


1. It's cultural. We live in a culture of cars, elevators, teevee, etc. and massive advertising for junk food. Right or wrong, people are influenced. Not enough exercise + too much food = weight gain. I do hold fat people responsible for their own condition, but I don't find it to be morally wrong to be fat.

2. It's damaging to the individual - my extra 20 pounds doesn't damage you. Yadda, yadda, increased costs for everybody's medical etc., are not that big a deal. I think the obese person should get a 2nd seat or go business or 1st class if s/he doesn't fit in 1 seat. Smelly people should shower pre-flight, and babies should smile sweetly and omit nothing more obnoxious than a hiccup. (That last one is a sheer impossibility. Something about the air pressure change seems to induce impressive quantities of diarrhea.)

3. It's potentially healthier to be chubby and exercise a lot, than to be thin, and sedentary. Not terribly likely, of course.

4. Morally, I think the cruelty and judgmentalism directed at fat people are worse than the morals of eating more than one should while not exercising enough.

Thank you for asking, rushmc.
posted by theora55 at 4:02 PM on June 19, 2002


This seems to happen in every weight-related thread. I mean every last one. What's up with that??!
posted by cell divide at 4:06 PM on June 19, 2002


Well said, evanizer. This thread stinks of leftwing puritanism, which is the worst kind.

How people view personal space and the violation of same varies tremendously from person to person and from society to society. You have no right to impose YOUR comfort zone upon anyone else.

If you have a problem with people brushing up against you, you should probably avoid mass transportation.

Certainly, we all make allowances for others all the time, but there is no obligation to do so; it's a gift.

And golly, we sure do appreciate your indulgence of our imperfections.
posted by Ty Webb at 4:11 PM on June 19, 2002


evanizer, I think your decision to personalize and/or identify with the discussion here is just that--your decision. No one here has commented directly on your weight; indeed, most of us have no idea of the physical appearance of most others here and so would be in no position to comment on same even if we wished to.

What was being discussed was the fairness of Southwest's new policy. I fail to see how that can BE discussed without acknowledging and discussing the basis of that policy, i.e., that some people are larger than others and, consequently, take up more space. The transition to discussing weight as a "moral" issue did not take place until some posters were attacked for even acknowledging that it might be reasonable to take a person's weight into account in some situations, which as far as I can see necessitated the further discussion.

In any case, while I can understand your being sensitive to the issue, and would be the first to condemn anyone making derogatory remarks about an individual's weight, I think it is a mistake to make the leap from "weight is a reasonable consideration in making seat assignments on an airplane," or even "it is ill-advised and sub-optimal for people to choose not to try to maintain a reasonable level of health and fitness," to "everyone is picking on me cuz I'm fat." I see no evidence of the latter whatsoever.
posted by rushmc at 4:12 PM on June 19, 2002


If you have a problem with people brushing up against you, you should probably avoid mass transportation.

We're not talking about people "brushing up against you" and you know that. Don't be coy.
posted by rushmc at 4:15 PM on June 19, 2002


And golly, we sure do appreciate your indulgence of our imperfections.

You're quite welcome. But do try to do better, won't you?
posted by rushmc at 4:16 PM on June 19, 2002


And golly, we sure do appreciate your indulgence of our imperfections.

You're quite welcome. But do try to do better, won't you?


I will, and am always trying to do better. As I'm sure you are, too. When I indulge your little imperfections, if we should ever come across each other, it will be a gift only in the sense that it is a gift you and I have both received and will receive from others on countless occasions.
posted by Ty Webb at 4:34 PM on June 19, 2002


This seems to happen in every weight-related thread. I mean every last one. What's up with that??!

because weight is the one issue where it's ok to judge, stereotype, and insult and not be looked at as a racist/homophobe/misogynist/anti-semite, etc.
posted by jodic at 4:37 PM on June 19, 2002


I can only guess that obese people hate the ida that (overwhelmingly) they are responsible for their own condition.

I've never been to America, but I know plenty of people who have. Without fail, they tell me that the food portions are huge, and contains far more sugar, than what we're used to in Europe. I find it hard to believe that these two opinions/facts are not related to the size of the average American butt.

Airline seats are too small, even for the average person. I often find the same thing at football grounds. It is the most annoying, infuriating thing to find yourself pinned into your seat beacause the lardarse next to you is spilling over their own seat. I don't see why it should be the normal size people who suffer in such situations.
posted by salmacis at 4:40 PM on June 19, 2002


This thread stinks of leftwing puritanism

buh? how are any of the opinions in this thread left or right wing?
posted by pikachulolita at 4:42 PM on June 19, 2002


how are any of the opinions in this thread left or right wing?

Some of the disdainful and intolerant comments I've seen on this thread are from people who regularly and admirably support tolerance and defend social liberalism in general from a leftist perspective.
posted by Ty Webb at 5:00 PM on June 19, 2002


Some of the disdainful and intolerant comments I've seen on this thread are from people who regularly and admirably support tolerance and defend social liberalism in general from a leftist perspective.
Oh stop trying to sound so reasonable. You know perfectly well that's an insane thing to say.
posted by holloway at 5:25 PM on June 19, 2002


without fail, they tell me that the food portions are huge, and contains far more sugar, than what we're used to in Europe.

Oh, yes, everything is sure better in Europe. Your user profile indicates you are from England (snicker, snicker). I have to stifle a guffaw at your defense of the light, healthy, sugar-free food enjoyed in Merrie Olde England. There's absolutely NO bad food eaten in England. And no fat people in Blighty, either!

rushmc, you have got to be kidding.We have everything in this thread from ""EAT FRUIT YOU DUMB F*CKS !" to "lardarse", not to mention a bunch of comments crawling with a rather hyperbolically Freudian disgust at 'fat' people. Then we have the esteemed opinions of our lay nutritionists, physicians, and psychiatrists offering their learned advice on the topic of health and weight loss. Apparently it's very simple cause and effect! If only all of the mysteries of the human body could be explained by you guys!

Not to mention the number of times the word 'normal' has been tossed around here with almost no challenges or definitions. There seems to be a lack of moral relativism on the issue of proper weight that would make Pat Buchanan proud. I'll remember that the next time some of these same posters mock people for choosing an unequivocal definition of 'evil' or 'terrorism'.

Apparently, it's also OK to use the lowest, basest terms to talk about anyone who is different from oneself. From now on, I'm using the word 'faggot' to talk about gay men, 'nigger' to talk about people of African descent, 'gook' to describe South Asians, etc. I'm sure there will be no objection from some of you to the use of those terms, right? Time to call a spade a spade!

It is also curious that several posters in this thread who seem to have the most stringent and visceral dislike of fat people come from England. As I stated earlier, your nation's cuisine speaks for itself. Perhaps you were horrified by a spotted dick when you were children, and forced yourselves into a life of starvation and self-righteous moral indignation and yob-style insulting of other than 'normally-sized' people.
posted by evanizer at 5:31 PM on June 19, 2002


Wow, there are some people posting to this thread with some serious issues about the weight of other people. I am struggling to decide how anyone could feel so poorly about themselves that they felt it necessary to pick on overweight people in such a way. All the insults you guys have come up with just make me react in the same way to you. Are you really so small-minded, conceited, and cruel? Do you really have that little respect for the people around you? That's the impression I get, whether it's ultimately true or not.

fivefreshfish said "You get as much respect from others as you give yourself." Given the kinds of things he's been posting, he doesn't appear to have much respect for his own online image, and perhaps that's why I have such a lack of respect for the ideas behind what he is saying. In fact, I'd say his username is now burned in my mind as one to ignore at all costs.

Really, the insults and cruelty are unnecessary and if anything, they're damaging to whatever position you might be trying to represent. I'm not sure how the self-respect or self-control of overweight people plays into whether airlines should charge them double for their plane ticket, but it's possible I missed the connection while I was wretching into my barf bag during my reading of this thread.
posted by daveadams at 5:41 PM on June 19, 2002


Are you really so small-minded, conceited, and cruel?

No, yes, and yes.

Hell, I'm probably the most conceited person on this thread. I mean, nobody else linked to a pic of them brushing shoulders with the Wheaton.
posted by fnord_prefect at 5:54 PM on June 19, 2002


because weight is the one issue where it's ok to judge, stereotype, and insult and not be looked at as a racist/homophobe/misogynist/anti-semite, etc

I would guess that's because it's the one issue where the people being looked down upon are in control of whether or not they fit the stereotype. . . As opposed to race, sexual orientation, gender, and ethnic background, which they largely cannot change.
posted by dogmatic at 6:05 PM on June 19, 2002


I would guess that's because it's the one issue where the people being looked down upon are in control of whether or not they fit the stereotype

You forgot religion and clothing choice.
posted by daveadams at 6:08 PM on June 19, 2002


You get as much respect from others as you give yourself.
Try 'You get as much respect from others as you give them'. It works even better.

...one of the most depressing Metafilter threads I've ever read.
posted by normy at 6:12 PM on June 19, 2002


Grrr.

Morbidly obese people are killing themselves with food. I do not see how that can be seen as anything but a stupid course of action.

It seems to me that everyone who's jumped all the two or three of us who've said that choosing ill health is stupid, is in serious denial.

I have been friends with morbidly obese people, and I've been friends with hard drug users, and I've been friends with people who engage in high-risk sex. And while I love the individuals themselves as friends, I am dismayed by their decisions to effectively commit suicide through their remarkably stupid life choices.

Pretty ironic that those people who feel that I shouldn't have an opinion about how other people are throwing their lives away by behaving stupidly, have no issue holding an opinion about my opinion.

Depressing thread? Only because there are people who feel that when they choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle, no one should have the right to state out loud that it's unhealthy.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:43 PM on June 19, 2002


All this talk of "personal space" on an airplane is pretty amusing, when you consider that by the end of the flight, you've shared the same recycled air, and recycled germs, with every person on the plane.

Depressing thread? Only because there are people who feel that when they choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle, no one should have the right to state out loud that it's unhealthy

I would say that most people that are overweight are probably already aware of the health risks. The depressing part is that so many people have such an overwhelming need to state the obvious.
posted by groundhog at 7:00 PM on June 19, 2002


Morbidly obese people are killing themselves with food. I do not see how that can be seen as anything but a stupid course of action.

It seems to me that everyone who's jumped all the two or three of us who've said that choosing ill health is stupid, is in serious denial.

I have been friends with morbidly obese people, and I've been friends with hard drug users, and I've been friends with people who engage in high-risk sex. And while I love the individuals themselves as friends, I am dismayed by their decisions to effectively commit suicide through their remarkably stupid life choices.

Pretty ironic that those people who feel that I shouldn't have an opinion about how other people are throwing their lives away by behaving stupidly, have no issue holding an opinion about my opinion.


Oh, yeah, f^3 is talking some real off-the-wall, bigoted, hateful nonsense there! For shame, f^3, for shame!
posted by rushmc at 7:15 PM on June 19, 2002


All this talk of "personal space" on an airplane is pretty amusing, when you consider that by the end of the flight, you've shared the same recycled air, and recycled germs, with every person on the plane.

What makes you think that personal space concerns are about germs?
posted by rushmc at 7:16 PM on June 19, 2002


And for the third time (or is it fourth?) F.F. Fish, (or rushmc, I'll be fair and open this to either of you) what does any of that have to do with a corporation instituting a policy which is designed to be applied arbitrarily and without any standardization from location to location, employee to employee?

How is any of your blather relevant to discussion of the possible financial motivation behind such a policy, especially when instituted by a fiscally-flagging corporation in a much-beleaguered sector in an economic downturn?

Do you have any disgust to spare for an organisation with a long and storied history of bigoted and unjust behaviour to their employees and customers alike, or only for all of the irresponsible, loathsome fatties?

This is a last ditch effort to pull you on-topic and give you a chance to apply your perceptions to this issue. Will you, or won't you do it?
posted by Dreama at 7:21 PM on June 19, 2002


Newsflash***it is not natural to be death-tauntingly fat (READ: obese)!!!**


What I would think that a person that is that self-loathing should have nowhere far to go anyway. What perhaps, is fatness classified as? A disability?
posted by Quixoticlife at 7:34 PM on June 19, 2002


I would think that a person that is that self-loathing should have nowhere far to go anyway.

Fat people have no reason to be self-loathing; after all, we have people like you to do the loathing for us.
posted by kindall at 7:48 PM on June 19, 2002


This is a last ditch effort to pull you on-topic and give you a chance to apply your perceptions to this issue.

I checked the papers but must have missed your appointment as Arbiter of Topic. I'll have my people send flowers. (Hint: read the original post...it in no way slants towards the concerns that you list.)

I think the aspects of this decision on the part of Southwest Airlines that seem to most interest you might well have been discussed more fully if not for the kneejerk defensiveness/political correctness that derailed the thread, forcing a few people to defend themselves from the preposterous chorus charging them with bigotry and insensitivity. After that, based on the history of MeFi posts, there was little chance of it getting back on track.
posted by rushmc at 8:01 PM on June 19, 2002


This thread stinks of leftwing puritanism

Man, this pisses me off. Talk about reductionist claptrap. This is precisely the problem with American politics today: labels before ideas.
posted by Marquis at 8:30 PM on June 19, 2002


Ev, not all of us on this side of the pond have been 'fattist'. Tarring us all with the same brush is counterproductive and alienates some of the support which would come your way.

I criticised the offensive comments in the thread early on, and yet I do eat classic english school food (for that is how I see the intriguingly named 'Spotted Dick') - preferably with lashings of hot, sweet custard. I'm not as slender as I once was - and certainly could lose 10/20 pounds, but in general I think that the topic of the obesity epidemic/sedentary lifestyles in the west (not excluding Europe, specifically) deserves rational discussion. N'est pas?
posted by dash_slot- at 8:48 PM on June 19, 2002


(Hint: read the original post...it in no way slants towards the concerns that you list.)

It slants toward discussion of Southwest's policy. Nothing in the OP has anything to do with the moral or personal failings of the fat, but you, f^3 and a couple of others have been more than happy to go on and on about that topic without uttering word one about the policy that the OP was about.

In short, you'd prefer to continue to do anything except discuss the issue. Fine. Sad, but fine.

I think the aspects of this decision on the part of Southwest Airlines that seem to most interest you might well have been discussed more fully if not for the kneejerk defensiveness/political correctness that derailed the thread

The thread was derailed from post #2, when Frasermoo went far afield of the OP topic to talk about junk food guzzling, open-sored "dumb fucks" without any correlation between said "fucks" and Southwest's change of position regarding this issue. From there it became the typical pile-on all that happens when someone prefers irrelevant invective to insightful commentary. Let's assign blame where it properly belongs.
posted by Dreama at 8:52 PM on June 19, 2002


Let's assign blame where it properly belongs.

Indeed, let's. I blame you and those who, like you, felt the need to blame rather than discuss, insult rather than debate, and derail rather than participate.
posted by rushmc at 8:57 PM on June 19, 2002


Nothing in the OP has anything to do with the moral or personal failings of the fat, but you, f^3 and a couple of others have been more than happy to go on and on about that topic without uttering word one about the policy that the OP was about.

That's a damned lie. If that's what you read, you are reading through some VERY oddly-colored lenses.
posted by rushmc at 9:00 PM on June 19, 2002


There is only one good solution: gas everyone before they get on the plane, and neatly stack them in weight and size appropriate racks. You'd be able to fit a lot more people, and it would be cheaper since there would be no need for stewardesses or complimentary snack packs. Also, there would be no obnoxious children pointing and asking out loud, "Mommy, why does that man need two seats?" One can only dream of such a day.

Or, we could all by our own personal aircraft. Toyota is working on a single engine model which they hope to retail at $50,000. Flying small aircraft is convenient, fast, and probably safer than big aircraft. And its lots of fun.

On a personal aesthetic level, I don't like looking at fat. On a public health level, it is a concern, due to the near epidemic diabetec levels in this country. However, the fact that there are so many overweight people in this country is in part due to national wealth and advances in medical technology, but mostly because culturally, people value convenience over anything else. Its generally more convenient to eat fast food constantly, to drive everywhere, and to not exercise. That's a personal preference. Where it goes bad is the gluttony factor a few people have mentioned, and been flamed mercilessly for. I'm sorry, but excess is a problem. Some people are fat because they take part in excess, just like some people are anorexic because of the reverse excess. I see this with young children who are near-diabetic and far too fat for their age, excessively, constantly eating. Its really tragic, their parents are slowly killing them.

How do you stop this? Our culture already openly despises fat people, just watch TV or a movie. What percentage of America is overweight, and what percentage of overweight people make it onto mainstream TV or movies? The ratio is probably 100 to 1. The convenience factor will have to be the prime motivator to get people to lose weight. It will just have to become cheaper and more convenient to eat healthy food, and inconvenient and embarassing to never be able to fit into a normal airplane chair, movie theater seat, or restaurant booth.

The business side of this issue is also quite interesting, and I am disappointed that it has not been discussed further. Businesses generally reserve the right to deny service on purely arbitrary grounds. Public opinion, morality, and law are all separate issues. If Southwest decided not to let anyone over 400 pounds fly on their plane, there might be some public outrage or moral indignation, but legally, they can, and they don't need to provide you a reason. They are the ones who own the service, and until you sign a contract (buy a ticket) where they are obligated to provide that service, they reserve the right to parcel it out in any way they want, no explanation needed. It's like those signs that say "no shirt, no shoes, no services." You don't often see nudists hauling business establishments into courts. If you don't like Southwests policies, complain to them, organize a boycott, or better yet, find a business that meets your needs, or start your own. Or maybe we should just force everyone to comply to a brand new Americans with Disabilities Act where every possible personal problem or vice is classified as a disability, and businesses cant blink without being dragged into a lawsuit.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:01 PM on June 19, 2002


I don't know if this was responded to or not. I'd have to read way too many comments to find out. So here goes.

"Also, note that on Southwest, there is no option to upgrade to First class, since there isn't one."

Care to explain how I did so twice the last time I flew Southwest, then?

(Hint: Some of their newer planes do, in fact, have a business class section. You can upgrade for $50. It is so worth it.)

I would also like to note that I'm flying from Providence RI to Nashville TN in early August, and my previous experiences with Southwest were so good, I'm not even pricing other airlines this time.
posted by CrayDrygu at 9:09 PM on June 19, 2002


rushmc, you are way off base with your "blame" remark. Dreama entered the thread long after it was derailed and the insult-fest had already begun, and actually tried to steer the thread back on-topic with a cogent, well-reasoned post. You can blame whomever you choose for the derailment, but to try and foist it off on Dreama is disingenuous at best.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:11 PM on June 19, 2002


The gas everyone solution mentioned above by insomnyuk is quite clever.
Do you know how many flight-related problems that would solve? Just about all of `em, I think.
posted by dong_resin at 9:18 PM on June 19, 2002


Sorry, dong_resin, when I see the words "stack" and "racks" in the same sentence my mind wanders and I forget what I was doing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:30 PM on June 19, 2002


Heard about this tonight on a talk-station. It was mentioned that the stardards for deciding whether or not someone would have to pay for a second seat would be based on whether or not they could: A. Lower the armrest. B. Needed a seatbelt expander.

So it doesn't look like it's a case of the airline workers deciding who is overweight...which I could see causing problems.
posted by Windigo at 9:37 PM on June 19, 2002


A. Lower the armrest. B. Needed a seatbelt expander
So, when buying a ticket, they have a sample chair?
posted by holloway at 9:42 PM on June 19, 2002


I was wonderiing the same thing...they didn't say. The "press release" that was read just mentioned the 2 requirements.

But who knows? That could be what they are actually planning.

Which is fair, I guess, but who wants to "take the seat" with the other passengers in line watching? I'm slender, but still would feel odd doing so.

Interesting to see how this pans out. I'm of the camp that doesn't like to have an elbow in my side and will pay more for first class if I can. Bigger seats all around would be great, but that's simply not going to happen.
posted by Windigo at 9:55 PM on June 19, 2002


Scene: Three cardinals burst into a room to discuss their weaponry, etc, etc ...

No, no, no. Three Southwest employees here of some fat boy at the ticket counter. "Chief amongst our weaponry are fear, diets, ho-hos and an almost fanatical devotion to Richard Simmons... GET THE SAMPLE CHAIR! ... music and diablic laughter.
posted by Dick Paris at 10:19 PM on June 19, 2002


Oops. Diabolical.
posted by Dick Paris at 10:20 PM on June 19, 2002


i've read that the thing you dislike most in other people is the thing they reflect that you dislike about yourself. everyone has their "thing". some people wash their hands 30 or 40 times a day. i would say that probably 80% of the people on metafilter sleep too little which is very dangerous to their health. everyone has some dirty little secret or quirk or something they do that is unhealthy. with fat people their "thing" shows.

i am fat. not so fat that i require two seats anywhere, but fat nonetheless. i was thin until i was 19. i was an athlete, i ran track and competed in gymnastics. i had a major bout of depression that lasted two years and i went from 140 and wearing a bikini to 312 lbs. i realized i was killing myself, sought medical help and over the course of 5 years, i lost 112 lbs.

BUT, and there is a but, it took me FIVE YEARS to lose that much weight and that is a normal and healthy weight loss. most of you are going to look at me and think (based on what i've read here), "god, she's fat and disgusting." you're not going to see the hard work that i did and am doing. and, if i choose to have a fucking coke, you have no right to judge me. also, when i was 14 and very very thin, i went camping and got bitten about 50 times on my legs by mosquitos and had an infection so yes, i had sores on my legs. if a fat person has sores on their legs, then it MUST be because they are fat.

i'm not making excuses for being fat, but i hate it when people make general assumptions about fat people. no two are the same, no two people became fat the same way, not every fat person is a glutton. i eat less than thin people i know. i exercise more than thin people i know.

just from buying clothes i can tell you that the airline "eyeball" policy is unfair. a pound per pound rate would be unfair as well. someone 5 inches shorter than me at the same weight is going to look MUCH fatter than i look. a shorter woman the same proportions than me gets to shop for clothes at a "normal store" because even though she is as fat as i am, she's shorter and can fit into "normal" sizes.

as for the airplane, i can understand not wanting a stranger to be touching you while you fly. i like my personal space. that's why i ALWAYS request (in advance) an aisle seat. i fly a lot and have never not been given an aisle seat even if accidentally put in a different seat. i tell them i'm claustrophobic and must have it. they don't want a freak out on the plane, so they find a way to give it to me. even if it means bumping me up. the aisle seat gives you room to stretch your legs and lean away from the person in the middle seat. and, please, don't tell me that three thin people sitting in a row aren't touching each other. that's bullshit. the seats are simply too small.

hey, you're the person that has the problem with being touched. pony up for a business class or first class seat. if a fat person doesn't have the right to fly somewhere for the same fare then you don't have the right not to be touched if you're not willing to pay for a roomier seat.

and for the english bigots and your view of fat people and particularly fat americans - i've based my opinions of english people based on the actual english people i've met. i'm sure you wouldn't want me to be sitting here picturing you as pasty skinned, repressed, smelly people with bad teeth.
posted by centrs at 11:59 PM on June 19, 2002


Ooh, I'm a bigot now. Cool. Frankly, centrs, I don't give a shit how you picture me. I was all sympathetic until you blew it with the last two paragraphs.

This isn't a thread about people who could "stand to lose a little weight". If we're honest, most Westerners over 30 are a little over their ideal weight. This is a thread about the grossly obese. I notice nobody has wanted to debate my point about the size of the portions and the sugar content of food in America.
posted by salmacis at 12:57 AM on June 20, 2002


I work with a lot of Brits. They *are* pasty, repressed, smelly, and remarkably free of evidence of trips to a dentist.

heh.

Umm, yes. Someone way up there made a comparison between the fat pariah and the smoking pariah. I hadn't thought of that before---it's interesting. Of course the analogy fails in certain weak spots, but a striking similarity is the repetitiveness with which MetaFilter as a whole condemns both. No matter what the actual topic at hand, it always comes back to "but they're SLOWLY AND WILLFULLY KILLING THEMSELVES. which gives me the right to be as nasty as I wanna be in judging them. over and over and over and over again."

Mad futile props to almostcool for trying to steer people in the direction of civility with this conversation, and shame on those of you who took that as a personal challenge to bust out your disingenuous little hey-man-just-callin-em-as-I-see-em routines.
posted by Sapphireblue at 1:16 AM on June 20, 2002


Airlines should offer different seat sizes and charge by the size of the seat. (As they already do, to no complaints, with business seats.) Current configurations with three normal seats (call them 1.0 size) in a row could become a 1.33-width seat and a 1.66-width seat, or a pair of 1.5-width seats. The big-little combinations might be great for people traveling with small children, too. And maybe airlines could make the seats with better dividers you could raise to keep all parts of your neighbors out of the cabin space you rented and even out of the aisle you're trying to walk down.

Don't pretend this is some damned civil rights case. It's just engineering and marketing. Make a product and sell it for a profit. Standardize seat sizes so you know that a 1.5 on one airline is like a 1.5 on another. "Would you like to supersize your flight?"

If fat people are mistreated on one airline, they will go to another. If skinny people are mistreated on one airline, they will go to another. You just have to offer options.
posted by pracowity at 1:30 AM on June 20, 2002


Frankly, centrs, I don't give a shit how you picture me.

and i don't give a shit if you're sympathetic.
posted by centrs at 1:30 AM on June 20, 2002


insomnyuk: Flying small aircraft is convenient, fast, and probably safer than big aircraft.

Just for the record, this is wildly untrue. The death rate per hours flown in small aircraft ('General Aviation') is about 50 times that in large commercial jets.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 1:46 AM on June 20, 2002


insonyuk - 'How do you stop this? Our culture already openly despises fat people, just watch TV or a movie. What percentage of America is overweight, and what percentage of overweight people make it onto mainstream TV or movies? The ratio is probably 100 to 1.'

interesting point. it could be argued that the number of overweight people in the us (or europe, or anywhere) are a symptom, or product of the society from which they come. just look at the 'desirable' people shape promoted by the media, compared with reality. in victorian times 'comely ladies' were desirable, as they are in most societies with limited resources.

tangent: aliens receiving tv signals from earth arrive for a visit. they search high and low for the ally mcbeal/friends demographic, unsuccessfully. they are confused, they leave.

i believe that it is the case that most europeans are overweight. i remember when lofty wiseman was asked what advice he could give someone (in this case a european) as regards food collection in a survival situation, he said 'don't worry about it, europeans should be able to survive for at least three weeks without food, so concentrate on some other aspect of survival'.

whatever the reasons for the increase in obesity /a> that we see in the northern hemisphere, it is a subject that will not go away quietly. i believe that it is not in the interests of preserving the present capitalist way of life to address this problem, as the idea that happiness and consumption go together is so inextricably entwined in this philosophy.

on thread - Dreama has a good point, this system (obese people pay for two seats) could only work if there were an accepted standard test. In a world where the population is increasing, issues of personal space are going to become even more fraught than they are now, perhaps.
Still, i have heard no argument (ever) as to why airlines do not have to pay fuel tax, like the rest of us, which results in the low fare prices. we need to take onboard the consequences of our actions, the usual way to do this is (in the present system) to pay money, it is the
'polluter pays' principle, sounds logical to me. the conclusion is - flying in jet planes is not a sustainable activity, regardless of your body weight. If you must do it, i would say there is evidence here that people of 'non-standard' build would be willing to pay for the luxury of comfort.
anyone been on a long road journey using public transportin asia? helps give perspective.
posted by asok at 4:56 AM on June 20, 2002


The problem is that American society has been engineered for the past 50 years so that we have to drive everywhere. Unless you live in a big city like Boston, NYC, or DC with good mass transit you have to drive everywhere. When was the last time you actually walked to the store or to the movies etc? That's the real problem.
posted by LinemanBear at 6:12 AM on June 20, 2002


Seems everyone in this thread is hurting on the space-issue.

For more than ten years, I have flown together with my cats. This means I have to accommodate, I have to book in advance, I have to choose between less flights as most don't take pets at all, and I have to buy an extra seat for my cats, who normally sit in my lap [they don't exactly love flying and this calms them down so that they don't miauw for X hours, instead in my lap, they sleep quietly]. Like mothers with young babies, i *should* get two seats for the extra cat-stuff I'll be bringing, even though they sit in my lap. I will take up more space than just me alone.

in the past few (two) years, cat-on board regulations have required smaller cages [squeezing two cats into something the size of a briefcase], and a strict rule of keeping cat cage, like any other bag, underneath the seat in front of me. This space seems to have shrunk considerably as I have bought four new cat carriers to fit this ever-smaller space. the height and width measurements are getting smaller every time.

now, back when the cats had some space, none of the buy extra seats, one cat-ticket each, and have a regulation cat-carry-on bothered me. It made sense, not everyone loves my cats, and allergic people should certainly not be on the same plane. What bothers me is what other people in this thread are bringing up: the space is getting smaller....

it's not just the carry-on space, it's the seats. Anyone who uses two seats should pay for it - but somewhere this seat-shrinkage has to stop.
I'm 5.4" and uncomfortable on most flights. I will no longer fly coach.
posted by dabitch at 6:24 AM on June 20, 2002


mr_crash_davis: rushmc, you are way off base with your "blame" remark. Dreama entered the thread long after it was derailed and the insult-fest had already begun, and actually tried to steer the thread back on-topic with a cogent, well-reasoned post.

I present to you quotes from Dreama's first 3 posts in this thread. Judge the tone for yourself, but it seems quite clear to me that she raised the ante on the "insult-fest," and I find no "cogent, well-reasoned" aspects to her posts whatsoever. They are off-topic, intolerant, insulting, and mean-spirited.

Two moments of common sense based contemplation of that idea should make the answer so clear that it need not even be written out.

I'm calling bullshit on that, fff, and your entire specious post....I (and I'm probably not alone) think that you are a self-righteous, judgmental fool...I'm interested in seeing if you're capable of doing so, or if you'd rather continue to spew your vitriolic namecalling because that's all you've got.

Yep, as I figured. Fish, you're so overwhelmed with your hatred that you have nothing of substance to offer, even when the door is opened wide to you. It's a waste of time attempting to coerce something on-topic from you and I don't know why I bothered
posted by rushmc at 6:41 AM on June 20, 2002


If that's what qualifies as insulting for you, rush, in a thread in which people have been referred to as dumb fucks, stupid, immoral and lardarses, I have absolutely no response, whatsoever. None.
posted by Dreama at 6:46 AM on June 20, 2002


You folks are still going?

Crikey.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:52 AM on June 20, 2002


There is only one good solution: gas everyone before they get on the plane

I pity a foo' who thinks they're gonna get B.A. Baracus on a plane.
posted by adampsyche at 7:06 AM on June 20, 2002


Be.a.u.ti.ful, isn't it Starvos?
posted by Dick Paris at 7:07 AM on June 20, 2002


Why do people always call him Starvos? I'm sure he's well-fed.
posted by insomnyuk at 7:26 AM on June 20, 2002


A skinny chicken is a terrible thing. (And a choking chicken just needs a Heimlich maneuver. Or something.)
posted by pracowity at 7:36 AM on June 20, 2002


pracowity: you know that choking the chicken is exactly what we're doing here now!
posted by dash_slot- at 8:05 AM on June 20, 2002


I find no "cogent, well-reasoned" aspects to her posts whatsoever. They are off-topic, intolerant, insulting, and mean-spirited.

Sheesh. I thought her first post in this thread was the most well-reasoned and informative comment in the whole sorry discussion.
posted by rcade at 8:17 AM on June 20, 2002


If that's what qualifies as insulting for you, rush, in a thread in which people have been referred to as dumb fucks, stupid, immoral and lardarses, I have absolutely no response, whatsoever.

It does indeed, insulting and disrespectful of other people's right to express their views and not have them misrepresented or be shouted down or personally ridiculed in this forum.

By the bye, it is significant that no Metafilter member was referred to as any of those things that you list. In defending the imaginary (or hypothetical) people toward whom the terms were directed, you attacked real people here among us. Think about that.
posted by rushmc at 8:23 AM on June 20, 2002


I don't know what this thing about 'English bigots' is about, but I've read numerous articles about the fact that there are more obese people in America than in England or Europe (2). There's a lot of obese people in England as well, but we do have less. It's believed that the recent increases in obesity are partly due to the creation of an environment that promotes a sedentary lifestyle and the consumption of a high fat, energy dense diet. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the case more in America than in Europe or England. This isn't any kind of bigotry, it's just an observation.
posted by adrianhon at 8:34 AM on June 20, 2002


Thank you, rcade. That is indeed the post to which I was referring, rushmc's attempt to show otherwise notwithstanding.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:39 AM on June 20, 2002


i'm not saying all english people are bigots. i'm saying that it appears that the exceptionally hateful, self-righteous and vitriolic comments in this thread have come from english people. i'm not the first person in the thread to point this out.

from dictionary.com:

bigĀ·ot:
One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

my god, hating someone or feeling superior to a person because they are fat and you're not is like hating someone because they are poor. i can see it now:

everyone knows that being wealthy is a simple formula - you get an education, your work hard, you have a skill you are good at and is in demand.

well, DUH. jesus, if it were so simple then why aren't there more thin, wealthy people? there is obviously some factor, "x", that prevents people from applying these "simple" formulas in their lives. you're not on higher moral ground because you didn't get fat. i want to test the "moral fiber" of some the posters here. i want to see if you are "lazy and stupid". i want to see you self righteous people give up cigarettes for two days. give up alcohol for a month. quit your coffee/caffeine for a couple of weeks. cut your calories for seven days whether you need it or not. exercise three times a week for a month. i'd be willing to bet that only 2 out of 10 of you could do it without "cheating".

saying that someone "chooses" to be or stay fat is like saying someone "chooses" to be gay. why would someone find it preferable or "choose" to be the target of ridicule and assaults? why would someone "choose" such a difficult lifestyle? i've never known anyone that sat down one day and said, "okay, i've decided. gotta get fat and stay fat."

but, on the other hand, i can totally see that being thin is really the only thing you would have to feel superior about so you cling to it.
posted by centrs at 9:01 AM on June 20, 2002


Sorry, back to the chalkboard for me:

I will not call stavros starvos.
I will not call stavros stavors.
I will not call stavros satvors.
I will not call stavros vorstas.
I will not call stavros vastors.
I will not call stavros vastros.
I will not call stavros arstovs.
I will not call stavros ratvoss.
I will not call starvos vortass.
I will not...

posted by Dick Paris at 9:11 AM on June 20, 2002


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, USA Today ran a fairly long article about this subject this morning. Of interest: a) this is not a new policy, but, rather, a decision to enforce an old one; b) Southwest is only one of several carriers with said policy; c) the airline has been taken to court twice already by customers disputing the policy, and won both times.
posted by thomas j wise at 9:13 AM on June 20, 2002


Why are we bantering (I hope) each other. Its like when you now go to a fastfood joint and they supersize it for you, w/o asking.
Why, well 39 cents X customer = profit. Think 30 years ago, no large, medium or small drink, just 8oz serving. And yes times are a changing and unless you don't want to grow old you change, or, are left behind. So like pracowity said, "supersize your flight?." See profit and we feel ripped off, those that have to pay. Yet these are how our society thinks, so blame McDonalds, the french did. No that is what the thread was there for. Now if we had used our energy for this towards Southwest, "fore" or "nay", we would all be flying somewhere in our own space, eating yucky airline food and drinking our way to paradise maybe for free.........
And were are our airline members??? I have built parts for planes some of you have flown. Most of my family made its living because of aerospace and look at it now it a loosing industry in todays economy, yet this is not the discussion. We all know it is your choice to fly and most choose, Why. Well remember as a child you said, "When are we going to get there, I'm board." And I had a stepsister who took over my space, yet I didn't cry foul, her dad was driving. So don't blame anyone for your non comfort zone, deal and chill, or find a different form of travel, that suits you. And I can voice MOP as I'm sure SW would want to hear, bad or good. Plus how many new companies are going to come out of this mess: security, weight/height, crappy service? A think things will get better, unfortunately it has to go down hill to go up.
P.S. Height alone is a reason for extra seat charge, how do you handle that??? I'm 5'8 so let me now say hurray for all of you who made fun of my height, now look who is grinning.
No I don't feel that way, look at my previous post on weight, yet these are issues I'm willing to discuss that will never affect(hope I used that right) me as I have been flying for 30 years alone most of the time and I'm 34.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:28 AM on June 20, 2002


Sheesh. I thought her first post in this thread was the most well-reasoned and informative comment in the whole sorry discussion.

Mea culpa. I used "Find" to re-read her posts for my response and missed the first part of that post (though I did quote the end of it, which appeared to me to be the entire post). So I will grant that she started off well. I think that my other quotes show how quickly she devolved into petty attacks, though.
posted by rushmc at 9:40 AM on June 20, 2002


" i tell them i'm claustrophobic and must have it. they don't want a freak out on the plane, so they find a way to give it to me. even if it means bumping me up."

Hey, that's brilliant. I wonder if I could get bumped into the executive business class by doing that. "I need legspace, or I'll freak!"

Unfortunately, the planes I usually take are little commuter "flying culverts," with no special-persons' section.

"No matter what the actual topic at hand, it always comes back to "but they're SLOWLY AND WILLFULLY KILLING THEMSELVES. which gives me the right to be as nasty as I wanna be in judging them. over and over and over and over again."

I read this thread and I see:
- a lot of people taking "dumbfuck" as an epithet far, far worse than the original poster intended.
- immediate personal attacks on the original poster, who hadn't made any personal attacks at all.
- overwrought offended sensibilities from those who somehow feel that criticism of the eating habits of a set of morbidly obese people (ie. those who stuff shit in their face at the same time their bodies cry out for relief) as criticism of themselves.

What is certainly true is that the only over-the-top abusive personal attacks have been from several self-identified overweight people against the two or three people who have criticized the lifestyle choices of the morbidly obese.

How rich is that, hey? It's not open season on the fat, as some have claimed: it's open season on anyone who dares to even hint that unhealthy fat people are responsible for being that way. Just give it a try -- say something about the morbidly obese, and watch the mildly overweight rip you a new asshole!

I am, at this point, tempted to treat Dreama and Evanizer in the same manner as they've treated me. But, then, to do that would require descending to their level of abusive, venomous hatred. It's oh-so-tempting: I'm quite certain that their fragile self-esteem would be deeply wounded if I were to be even a quarter as mean-spirited as they've been. But to do so would be unnecessarily cruel: they've got problems enough of their own to deal with.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:47 AM on June 20, 2002


" i tell them i'm claustrophobic and must have it. they don't want a freak out on the plane, so they find a way to give it to me. even if it means bumping me up."

Hey, that's brilliant. I wonder if I could get bumped into the executive business class by doing that. "I need legspace, or I'll freak!"

Unfortunately, the planes I usually take are little commuter "flying culverts," with no special-persons' section.

"No matter what the actual topic at hand, it always comes back to "but they're SLOWLY AND WILLFULLY KILLING THEMSELVES. which gives me the right to be as nasty as I wanna be in judging them. over and over and over and over again."

I read this thread and I see:
- a lot of people taking "dumbfuck" as an epithet far, far worse than the original poster intended.
- immediate personal attacks on the original poster, who hadn't made any personal attacks at all.
- overwrought offended sensibilities from those who somehow feel that criticism of the eating habits of a set of morbidly obese people (ie. those who stuff shit in their face at the same time their bodies cry out for relief) as criticism of themselves.

What is certainly true is that the only over-the-top abusive personal attacks have been from several self-identified overweight people against the two or three people who have criticized the lifestyle choices of the morbidly obese.

How rich is that, hey? It's not open season on the fat, as some have claimed: it's open season on anyone who dares to even hint that unhealthy fat people are responsible for being that way. Just give it a try -- say something about the morbidly obese, and watch the mildly overweight rip you a new asshole!

I am, at this point, tempted to treat Dreama and Evanizer in the same manner as they've treated me. But, then, to do that would require descending to their level of abusive, venomous hatred. It's oh-so-tempting: I'm quite certain that their fragile self-esteem would be deeply wounded if I were to be even a quarter as mean-spirited as they've been. But to do so would be unnecessarily cruel: they've got problems enough of their own to deal with.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:49 AM on June 20, 2002


Guh. Sorry. (Why can't Metafilter calculate a CRC for the users' last-posted message, and if it's the same as the users' previous message, ask "are you sure"? The CRC could be stuffed in the cookie.)
posted by five fresh fish at 9:51 AM on June 20, 2002


After reading the USA article and what I heard here on the radio out of Dallas. For safety & Personal comfort. They mentioned 400lbs on the radio. They"re covering their ass, which they can, AA would love to see them fold yet we can still have a say, it's America. Why do they have customer service. To be frank were I fly and because I live in Dallas I will not use SW, not because of this, but of politics and "The Wright Amendment." See I have no choice. When it comes to flying out of the state to a state not bordering TX, unless I fly out of Fortworth-Dallas Int'l or if I'm willing to get off at a neighboring state for a layover and then proceed, only out of Dallas, unless it is one of those airlines that has plenty of leg room and I mean luv sofa size seats. And I live in Dallas closer to Love Field home of SW. Yet that does not affect most of you nor is it part of the discussion. There is more to the story than we really know, now lets all meet at McDonalds by way of a SUV. ;)
posted by thomcatspike at 9:53 AM on June 20, 2002


The way I see it, this isn't really about the morality/public health effect/culture/citizenship/etc. of the overweight population. The real issue is SWA is allowing their ticket agents to "eyeball" passengers and make subjective decisions on whether two seats are needed. They should establish a standard - something like the "you have to be this tall to ride this ride" signs at amusement parks, a model seat at the gate with electric sensors - something objective. They have those boxes to fit your carry-on bags in. Can you imagine if the agents had to make the call on each bag?
If someone is really big, I can see the justification for requiring two seats - but that is also ONLY if it's a sold-out flight. SWA has cattle-call seating, so there is no reason one should be forced to buy 2 seats if there is extra, and there is no excuse for those who don't want to be "too close" to another passenger, if there are extra seats. It's the Greyhound of the skies. You can't get both the seat you want and have your personal space on every flight.
I don't always get the seat I want unless I want to sit next to someone's screaming baby, in front of obnoxious seat-kicking kids (whose fares I also "supplement" on most flights), an elderly person with "control problems," or Johnny Huge Screen Laptop jabbing me with elbows the whole flight. Seats are too close together for most people to be comfortable, overweight or not. It's mainly economic: do you want the Wal-Mart priced fares or more room?
posted by sixdifferentways at 10:03 AM on June 20, 2002


heh. five fresh fish, i really AM claustrophobic. i usually take xanax if i'm on a flight over two hours long. i can guarantee a freak out if i don't get an aisle seat and i take great pains to book my flights weeks in advance to secure one. i can't stay in a car more than two hours without stopping. i dont like crowded bars or other places. i feel like i'm choking.
posted by centrs at 10:13 AM on June 20, 2002


you attacked real people here among us. Think about that.

I attacked f^3, to this I will readily admit, because f^3 is so damned obtuse. Even when directly asked simple questions (all of which he evaded) which were designed to help him make a point without furthering his screeding, he has come back time and time again with yet another post of massively overgeneralized and nastily phrased criticisms toward the fat for their eating habits and personal character, blah blah and justifications for posting said criticisms, ad infinitum.

But I will not cop to, nor give a moment's thought to, an implication that pointing out that people are hatred-laden (a direct response to such gems as "I think it is entirely justifiable to call them dumbf*cks." "To hell with this nicey-nicey bullshit idea that everyone's feelings are oh-so-precious and that it's somehow wrong to be honest. Stupid is as stupid does," and "You get as much respect from others as you give yourself.") or woefully off-topic, or labeling a suggestion as totally outside of the realm of reasonable thought are "attacks" and such comments were not offered as such. You may assign motives to me for as long as you'd like, but it doesn't make those motives true.

You and f^3 both seem to be hung up on this idea that it is the talking about the unhealthiness of fatness is the problem. "no one should have the right to state out loud that it's unhealthy" is how f^3 characterized criticism of his comments. That is not the point, at all. The point is that stating out loud that something is unhealthy is not really your job to do, but even if it were, this wasn't the place for it (it might've been if the OP had asked "Is SWA's policy legitimate, or are people too fat, and if they're too fat, what do you think about that?") and even if it were, it's something that can be done without being nasty, kneejerk, overgeneralizing, stereotyping and hyperbolic.
posted by Dreama at 10:17 AM on June 20, 2002


What wonderful justification for your threats of violence, vitriole, and hatred of me, Dreama. I hope you have a love-filled day, sweetie: you need it.

Hey, when I feel a need to have someone tell me what I should think, what opinions I should hold, and what I should say, I'll make sure that you're my #1 choice for editor, okay?

Go back and re-read your posts in this thread. You can apologize later. (I'd suggest you re-read mine, too, but you're so hypersentive that there's no possibility that you'll be able to separate your emotions from my message.)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:35 AM on June 20, 2002


Threats of violence? Do you read these things before you post them? Your lack of veracity in such an accusation numbs me all the more to your blather. Blah, blah, whatever.
posted by Dreama at 11:05 AM on June 20, 2002


I'm late as hell coming into this thread, but I just thought I'd add that I've gotten used to sharing the edges of my airplane seats with people sitting next to me, and I don't mind it all that much. at 5'4" and 130 pounds, nine times out of ten the person in the seat next to me is going to be bigger than me, whether or not that person is overweight. if all it takes for both of us to fit better in our collective space is for me to scootch over a bit and not worry about my neighbors touching my seat a little, I'm willing and happy to do that. if you're really going to take up two seats, then you should pay for them, but beyond that, why is it so hard for everyont to be considerate and accomodating of each other? it would be ridiculous for me to have a reduced fare just because I weigh less than the average passenger -- it's not like they're going to use any less jetfuel. seems like the same argument can apply in the opposite direction.
posted by rabi at 11:19 AM on June 20, 2002


I'm big enough and strong enough to crush all of the self- righteous fuckwits in this thread into a fine, insoluble powder.

Ah, but that was Evanizer. My apologies: after all the abuse you've hurled, you and he both look the same.

"I ... think that you are a self-righteous, judgmental fool... ... you'd rather continue to spew your vitriolic namecalling because that's all you've got."

Have you read your own posts? Vitriolic spew would seem to be the theme of the day for you, not I. Note that I have not once namecalled anyone in this thread.

You're a real charmer, ain'tcha? You falsely accuse me of doing the very things that you expend great energy to do yourself. What the hell are you trying to accomplish -- self-destruction?!?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:20 AM on June 20, 2002


Easy to say when you edit my comments and take them out of context. I'm done with you, f^3.
posted by Dreama at 11:48 AM on June 20, 2002


fish says:

overwrought offended sensibilities from those who somehow feel that criticism of the eating habits of a set of morbidly obese people (ie. those who stuff shit in their face at the same time their bodies cry out for relief) as criticism of themselves.

You didn't name me, of course, but you were responding to a post I made. I'm gonna stand up and say, as I have in other fat-bashing threads, that I'm a tall, thin girl from a family of tall, thin girls; that I take none of this personally; that I'm not going to let you turn this into Self-Indulgent Junk-Food-Sucking Fatties In Denial vs. Those Of Us Who're Superior Enough To Know Better.

Dreama is right, kids, and she & I are often enough in disagreement that I wouldn't say it if there were any way around it, but since she said it so well up there a bit, I'm just going to copy and paste for those who will have skimmed it and, seeing no hook for a zingy insult of some kind, moved on:

The point is that stating out loud that something is unhealthy is not really your job to do, but even if it were, this wasn't the place for it (it might've been if the OP had asked "Is SWA's policy legitimate, or are people too fat, and if they're too fat, what do you think about that?") and even if it were, it's something that can be done without being nasty, kneejerk, overgeneralizing, stereotyping and hyperbolic.

But I'm sure that will continue to be ignored in favor of ad hominem attacks; silly claims that the fat-bashers were somehow *forced* to do so by people with opposing viewpoints; mischaracterization of people who object to the tone here as people who object to the mere speaking of plain facts; and other amazing contortions designed to protect, at all costs, the right to throw a MeFi fat-bashing party every couple of months or so.

Because all that's a hell of a lot easier than taking a good hard look at one's own attitudes and saying, "Wow, you know, I *do* harbor a certain prejudicial streak where overweight people are concerned, and it shows. Maybe I should work on that."

I'm done. So disappointed in so many of you. I've been defending MeFi against naysayers for a long time now, but sooner or later I too will come to the conclusion that there is no community here---only a bunch of people who want to say what they want to say, everyone else be damned. I'm not getting on my oldtimer high-horse to make a point here, so save the skewering---I just really thought that almostcool's appeal to the community conscience would last a little longer than one measly comment, and am surprised to see so many of you going to such lengths to, basically, defend your right to be loudly and insultingly judgmental of people who look different from you.
posted by Sapphireblue at 12:07 PM on June 20, 2002


Hey, guys & gals - let's not get despondent. There is a community here really, but it's a 'virtual' one. It's a place where kindness, humility and truth are exhibited more than their opposites, and where - just as in RL - the honorable lead from the front and the footsoldiers need to be cut some slack (speaking as a footsoldier!) sometimes. Anger is a real emotion, if one which derails the thread on occasions.

As a great band once sang, 'No-one Is Innocent' - we all deserve mercy. I hope the wounds opened here can be closed swiftly. Bearing grudges is less satisfying and more painful than bearing children!
posted by dash_slot- at 12:30 PM on June 20, 2002


*cries*
posted by hijinx at 1:26 PM on June 20, 2002


Edit your comments and take them out of context?! Here it is verbatim, then: You think that we're all stupid, and that's fine. I (and I'm probably not alone) think that you are a self-righteous, judgmental fool. None of that has anything to do with the topic at hand. Why don't you try addressing the policy, and its reported method of use and defend it from your anti-fat position. I'm interested in seeing if you're capable of doing so, or if you'd rather continue to spew your vitriolic namecalling because that's all you've got.

The vitriolic namecalling has ALL been on your part, Dreama: I have not attacked you at all.

SapphireBlue: "[I]...am surprised to see so many of you going to such lengths to, basically, defend your right to be loudly and insultingly judgmental of people who look different from you."

Myself, I'm surprised to see people go to such lengths to abuse people into silence. Looks like it's just peachy to kick the living shit outta Frasermoo. He's not allowed to express his opinion or display his attitude. And god forbid that I dare to defend the truth that I see in his statements, or that RushMC take a tertiary position in defending my defending of Frasermoo's comments.

Yes, it's Frasermoo, Fish, and RushMC: the three spawn of satan, who deserve to be threatened with physical violence and abused on a personal level.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:29 PM on June 20, 2002


Meanwhile, we have tomcatspike: clavdivs lite. Am I the only one who noticed?
posted by pudders at 6:42 PM on June 20, 2002


pudders: I am left feeling the same way after reading clav's posts and tomcatspike's...
posted by insomnyuk at 7:36 PM on June 20, 2002


*sings*
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...
You may say I'm Dreama,
but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.

*cries* Why can't we all just love one another! I don't think I've ever seen a thread take such a downspiral quite so rapidly before. We've veered so far off the original topic it's not funny. I know we all have our faults and prejudices, but I wonder, those of you who are so vocal about being anti fat under the cloak of anonymity, are you that hostile in everyday life to those larger than you out in the real world? i imagine it wouldn't make you the most popular of people. I'm just sayin'.
posted by Jubey at 7:39 PM on June 20, 2002


Meanwhile, we have tomcatspike: clavdivs lite. Am I the only one who noticed?

I kinda like it- unlike clavdivs, it isn't complete stream-of-consciousness nonsense. Although his writing style is a bit off, I understand what he's saying- and you gotta love that it's just so darn earnest! Welcome to the club, t.c.s.
posted by hincandenza at 9:30 PM on June 20, 2002


I can't believe I read all those posts. I think I'll pause to congratulate myself.

***

I think the point is how can we, as passengers, encourage airlines and fellow passengers to respect our space. Granted, while there are not many options in a crowded plane, besides voting with our feet (and our dollars), I will ask to be moved, and inform the person (small or large) who is crowding my space that they need to find a way to fit into theirs. I applaud all the oversize (tall or overweight) people who make concerted effort to fit into their paid-for-space for their considerateness.

Should oversize people pay for an extra seat if they are going to crowd the person next to them? Why make the airline collect the money. They should institute a policy that if you are totally squished, you can complain and a helpful flight attendant will come by and extract a credit card payment from the space grabber. Provide an economic incentive for those who nibble at other's seat space to be more considerate and to plan ahead.

In the meantime: Sharp, pointy elbows and the ruthlessness to use them also doesn't hurt.
posted by zia at 11:53 PM on June 20, 2002


I'm surprised to see people go to such lengths to abuse people into silence

Wow, you're like a hero crusading for truth and justice.
posted by zzero at 7:42 AM on June 21, 2002


Isn't everyone?
posted by rushmc at 8:22 AM on June 21, 2002


What's the difference between people speaking up about Frasermoo's crap above and your speaking out about personal attacks? He's not allowed to express his opinion or display his attitude, is the complaint from FFF... isn't "Frasermoo's an asshole" a valid expression of opinion and attitude?
posted by zzero at 9:22 AM on June 21, 2002


uh... no.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:55 AM on June 24, 2002


:)
posted by NortonDC at 7:38 AM on June 24, 2002


He's a bad, bad doctor!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:27 AM on June 24, 2002


I say subsidise this poor woman! And strike this quack from the register! What does he know of the human knee?

Can I play with the nice people now?
posted by Frasermoo at 1:43 AM on June 25, 2002


Put people in containers and knock them out like in The Fifth Element.
posted by adampsyche at 5:27 AM on June 25, 2002


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