Man Sparks Debate After Charging Obese Plane Passenger for Taking Up Space

Tiffany Meier
By Tiffany Meier
March 2, 2019US News
Man Sparks Debate After Charging Obese Plane Passenger for Taking Up Space
Airplane filled with passengers. (StockSnap/Pixabay)

A man sparked a furious debate online after taking to Reddit to ask if he was in the wrong for charging an obese man $150 for taking up some of his seat on a flight.

The traveler posted about the incident on Reddit, saying that it was a 5-hour flight and culminated with him asking the man to pay him half of the cost of the flight upfront.

According to his account, the Redditor, BigBawluh, specifically booked an aisle seat in a row of two hoping for a comfortable flight. However, a man who he described as “very obese” came on and sat in the window seat next to him.

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He wrote that the man “sits down and is easily seeping into about 1/3 of my seat. I sit down and am pressed up against him, making me uncomfortable.”

He then decided to tell the man upfront about it: “Sir, I’m sorry but this situation is not working for me, you’re taking up quite a bit of my seat.”

He then wrote that while the man tried squeezing in to give him more room, it didn’t really help. He ended up flagging a flight attendant about the issue.

The flight attendant told the larger passenger that he may need to buy another seat, but since the plane was fully booked, he might have to take a later flight.

That’s when BigBawluh offered his solution.

“I told the guy, ‘Look, I’ll put up with this if you give me $150—that’s half the cost of this flight and that would compensate me enough for the circumstances.”

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He then claimed the larger passenger “instantly agreed” and even told him he appreciated it, before handing over the $150.

He said the larger passenger “wasn’t angry at all, if anything he seemed quite relieved we could work it out privately.”

BigBawluh said he heard the passengers behind him calling him an “[expletive]” and he took to Reddit to ask if the internet agreed.

The Debate

One person commented, “This is ridiculous. You made a scene and embarrassed the man and then made him pay you for a fraction of your seat. You are the epitome of an [expletive].”

“He should have bought two seats,” another wrote. “This is his fault, in fact he got off well with it. He agreed and you agreed. I am sure if the people behind you were in the same position they would have thought differently.”

Another person wrote, “You didn’t settle this privately—you humiliated the guy by involving the flight attendant and then demanding $150 to allow him to stay on this flight.”

“My mom is slightly overweight,” another person commented. “I asked her once if she thinks large people should pay extra for 2 seats, she completely agreed.”

“You compromised. He compromised,” another wrote. “It was an awkward situation of nobody’s making. I think half the cost of the flight was maybe a bit steep though, if he was only in a third of your seat. Having said that, five hours is a long time.”

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Another wrote, “The problem here was that this large dude stuck you with being uncomfortable on your flight, right? Well, the $150 didn’t make you any less squished in your seat, so it really feels like you just blackmailed this guy for being fat.”

Many other people chose to blame the airline for “cramming people into smaller and smaller spaces.”

One person wrote, “until consumers organize and demand that airlines stop cramming more and more people into smaller and smaller spaces, most of us have decided to just grit our teeth and deal with how uncomfortable air travel is. This guy decided instead to see if he could squeeze some money out of it. He’s not necessarily wrong, but he does seem like a bit of an [expletive].”

“The airline put [original poster] OP in an uncomfortable position in more than one way. They should not really have given OP the decision in my opinion,” another commented. “OP had the choice between making his neighbor get another flight or being uncomfortable for an extended period and came up with a compromise as good as any. The large chap was well aware that he was encroaching. Perhaps paying OP made him feel more comfortable, having now paid for the space he was occupying. I hope so anyway.”

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