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"Southwest Airlines is under fire for its policy of charging overweight passengers for two tickets if they spill over into their neighbor's seat." — AP, June 20, 2002


Policy Would Solve Overcrowding and Spare In-Flight Food Problems

Washington, D.C. ( — Controversy over a Southwest Airlines' policy continued today as advocates for the obese angrily insisted overweight passengers should not be forced to buy an extra ticket, but should instead be allowed to eat the person in the seat next to them.

   Another proposal, to seat Americans at the front of planes, has so far failed.

The Southwest guidelines, which are also followed by Continental and American, call for large passengers to purchase two tickets if they cannot fit into one seat. However, Lewis Brockvurst, president of the activist group America Off the Scale, said such a policy was "discriminatory and mean-spirited."

"They are singling out a group that's been very heavily stigmatized rather than making some accommodations," Brockvurst said.

Southwest spokesperson Arlene Dieter, however, insisted that eating passengers was not an accommodation. "Our passengers are not Cheetos," she said.

"Mmmmmm... Cheetos," Brockvurst replied.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 25 percent of Americans are now significantly overweight, and that number continues to increase. Not coincidentally, said Continental Airlines spokesman Mark Fryberg, 90 percent of passenger complaints come from people who say they are crowded by large neighbors. "I hardly think eating them is the answer," he said.

"But if we eat them, no more complaints, lots more room," said Brockvurst. "What are the other 10 percent of complaints about?"

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"Customers saying we don't serve enough food," Fryberg replied. "Oh my, this might work."

Not all obese Americans, however, agreed. Many were upset that their own association was propagating a stereotype. "To suggest we would eat smaller passengers implies that we're overweight simply because we eat too much," said Rhonda Gotnik of Arlington, Va. "As everyone knows, the real problem is the seats they make us squeeze into."

"They should be edible," she added.


Copyright © 2002, SatireWire.

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