The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Winning
216 Points
The Contender
thisoneguy
Con (against)
Losing
110 Points

The fat should be made to buy two seats on planes

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/30/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 19,746 times Debate No: 7612
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (116)
Votes (56)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

I was involved in a rather unpleasant incident on a British Airways flight from Aberdeen to Heathrow recently. (1) The aircraft was an Airbus A319 with a single economy (coach) class cabin which was fitted with seats with a width of 17.0" (2) and the aisle seat I was allocated was located next to a grossly overweight gentleman, whose considerable girth was overflowing onto my seat, thus preventing me from putting the armrest down or fastening my seatbelt. I therefore challenged the man and here is the gist of the ensuing confrontation:

Me: Excuse me, you appear to be sitting on part of my seat, would you be kind enough to move over so I can sit down?

Overweight Passenger: I'm sorry, but I'm as far over as I can get.

Me: Then may I suggest you move somewhere else where there are two free seats together?

Overweight Passenger: Well, I don't think there are any left. If only they made the seats bigger there wouldn't be a problem.

Me: Well the seats seem big enough for everybody else and the fact is, there is a problem and that problem is that I paid over two hundred and fifty quid for a seat that is being partly occupied by a great sweating pile of flab, so what are you going to do about it, pieface?

Overweight Passenger: Well, if you are going to take that attitude…

Me: Yes I am going to take that attitude - I think I'm entitled to under the circumstances, don't you? I mean how much money did you contribute towards the cost of my seat? That's right, not a penny. So what makes you think you are entitled to sit on part of it then, eh?

At this juncture a stewardess came up and asked if she could help so I politely explained the situation and asked her to displace the overweight passenger so that I could duly take my seat. However, she said that the plane was full and suggested that I take a jump seat instead.

Naturally, I refused to sit on a tip-up seat at the front of the cabin being stared at by the rest of the passengers like I was some naughty schoolboy who'd been told to stand in the corner of the classroom as a punishment - what, just so that some greedy fat bloke could sit in the seat that I'd paid over �250 for? I don't think so!

By then, the plane's engines were being wound up and the aircraft was clearly ready to push back from the gate. The stewardess started to get really anxious then because all passengers must by law be seated with belts fastened while the plane is taxiing, so she went into the cockpit.

She reappeared a minute or two later, and said to me that she was very sorry, but since I was last on board the captain had instructed her to offload me and explained that the ground crew would rebook me onto the next available flight, unless I was willing to take a jump seat, of course.

I suggested that it might be more appropriate, all considered, for the oversized gentleman whose blubber was spilling all over my seat to get the naughty chair, but she was afraid that jump seats were not designed to accommodate people of his size.

So, given that the flight was only an hour and a half long, I reluctantly strapped myself into the jump seat and resigned myself to an uncomfortable journey watching old Five Bellies lolling around on my seat, scoffing airline grub and guzzling down bottle after bottle of complimentary booze.

To my mind, there is something fundamentally unjust about people of normal weight having to make sacrifices for the fat on planes. After all, 99% of people who are overweight are so because they are greedy and lazy, not because they have some medical condition. (3)

When I got back, I visited British Airways' website to check what their policy on seating the fat is. This is what it says:

"British Airways offers its customers the ability to book an extra seat. There are many reasons why a customer might book an extra seat, the most common are for...Personal comfort – The customer requires more space than one seat provides, due to oversize..." (4)

You will note that booking an extra seat is merely an option - it's not compulsory. However, it's a whole different ball game when it comes to baggage. If your hand luggage exceeds certain dimensions and cannot fit into the cradle at check-in, you are obliged to check it into the hold - which is something many airlines now charge for. (5)

Surely the same principle should be applied to fat passengers? If they are unable to fit into a cradle measuring the dimensions of a seat, they should be made to pay for two seats or otherwise be refused boarding.

Thank you.

(1)

P1 EGGLESTON/BRIANMR ADT G 30MAR09 * GBP 251.50
ABZ BA LON 217.00J1FL GBP217.00END
FARE GBP217.00 TAX 10.00GB TAX 10.00UB TAX 14.50YQ
TOT GBP251.50
S1 FB-J1FL B-1PC
T S1/CBA/ET

BA 1309 MONDAY 30 MAR 09
--------------------------------------------------------------
BRD TIME T D/I OFF TIME T D/I FLY/GROUND EQP E
ABZ 1405 D LHR 1535 5 D 1:30 319 E
--------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL FLYING TIME ABZ - LHR 1:30
AIRBUS INDUSTRIE A319

(2) http://www.seatguru.com...

(3) http://www.nhs.uk...

(4) http://www.batraveltrade.com...

(5) http://www.britishairways.com...
thisoneguy

Con

First and foremost I would like to thank my opponent for providing this opportunity to participate in such an exceedingly weighty debate, and furthermore I feel it only right to compliment my opponent, in his tact, composure, and his humane manner whilst dealing with what I can only describe as a sensitive situation which could easily have been blown out of all proportion, thus jeopardizing what was a mere cramped predicament into becoming something resembling that of Jonah and the whale.

I have two sizable issues at this point relating to the description of the subject heading.
"The fat should be made to buy two seats on planes",, now I know that fat can be made, but can it be made to buy?,I would say it can not be made to buy any more than it can be made to sell, I take it what you meant by that is "an overweight person"?, and my other point is (assuming my interpretation thus far is correct),,, "made to buy,,," again do you mean that an overweight person should purchase two seats and then arrange for them to be fitted into the plane sometime before traveling?, or do you mean pay for the use of two seats for means of comfort whilst traveling?, I'll opt for the later and choose to rephrase the heading by reason of clarification for the benefit of all concerned.
"It should be made compulsory for overweight persons to pay for the use of two seats on air crafts when one seat is clearly inadequate and threatens to infringe on another passengers seating space and comfort".

On refection, if you were to have offered in a loving Scottish manner, to exchange seating positions with the hungry gentleman, due to your newly acquired fear of isles (wink wink) you could have taken advantage of your new seating arrangement by promptly sitting down, drop the arm rest, and fasten yourself in before he had time to be re-seated, leaving the no doubt leggy stewardess to negotiate the impending problem of having to maneuver herself and trolley passed the slavering gent in the isle seat, whilst you are quite comfortably enjoying the spoils of a stationary 125 meals and a free barrow load of booze that can't progress beyond the underside of your nose, courtesy of the by this time panicking how many bellies?,

But no,, you had one look at the guys face,which prompted this pie in the sky idea, that would not only cause further discomfort and anxiety to others, but would inconveniently involve the busy captain who was purposely trying to avoid stray sheep whilst making his way to the runway, which only resulted in you being allocated a second seat (at no extra cost) in full view of your co-passengers who were being freely entertained by watching your version of a disgruntled passenger whom had no idea of how to play a simple game of musical chairs when having the advantage of a no loose situation which offered a reward that superseded the cost of your airline ticket.

Please don't get me wrong here, I know �250 is a lot of money, especially to someone who has an Aberdeen connection, people from that area of Scotland are famous for their lack of transactions when it comes to bank withdrawals, at times I'm convinced Ebenezer Scrooge fathered the entire population of the city.

It was only the other day that I witnessed an Aberdonian offering a card dealer his Grandmother in exchange for a pair of pocket 10s, with a view to increasing his rather advantageous stack in an online game of poker, whilst at the time hiding behind the guise of ill mannered aviator, dressed in a naughty school boy outfit, I know it wasn't you because your far too pleasant a person.

You must realise that the facility of checking any Airline seating policy was put in place long before you decided to fly away from the much loved sheep of Aberdeen, and into the gateway of a cattle market provided by London Heathrow.

If you were to have taken a little time out and enquire about the seating policy of the airline in question, you would have had prior knowledge that the ticket purchased ( single economy (coach) class ) was little more than a lottery ticket, and you stood to loose out by being seated beside a well fed gent who had a tendency to spread his over sized frame beyond the bounds of his much sought after seat, I say "sought after" because the flight was a sell out, not because you had the brains to suggest a cunning swap, and the well rounded gents idea of a loosing ticket would include being seated beside someone who wants the plane to himself, but lacks the intellect to move into the best seat on the plane, and ends up with the second worst, by choice.

I think your idea of a winning ticket, would comprise of having the whole plane to yourself, now I know at this point you will say "I only wanted the seat I paid to sit on", but if you look at the terms and conditions of your ticket, your guaranteed nothing more than what you got, sorry but I think you're aware of that.

If only you would have put your comfort before the priority of your bank balance, and purchased an additional adjacent seat, then just maybe you would have left the nice gentleman stranded in the Aberdeen airport cafeteria, awaiting the next available flight, wishing he was a fat cat that could afford the extra expense of club class, whilst you in your glory being able to stretch out and contemplate if it "would be too bold as to request a woolly blanket and a hot water bottle from a member of the leggy cabin crew". sorry but you brought it on yourself,

Imagine the scenario if the policy you suggest were to be implemented,
Check In,, "sorry sir but your too fat to occupy only one seat",
traveler, "No no, you're mistaken, it's pure muscle, I workout frequently".
Check in, "well your wife's fat and needs a good workout, as well as an extra seat".
2ND traveler, "No no, I have a medical condition, it's an illness, and I'm a lot slimmer than I look".

It just wouldn't work, the flight operator would face more law suits than I care to mention, I think there's enough trouble at airports without asking passengers to embarrass themselves by jumping on a set of scales, you started this debate and gave it as much thought as you did the subject heading.

I know of a man who's built like a half bottle of Smirnoff, he weighs about three and a half tonne, uses airports every other day, gets wheeled through airports from taxi to taxi, can't even walk in his sleep, (maybe he was the guy sitting beside you) this person is unable to sit on a bus or train for hours at a time, now I know airline operators don't run as an ambulance service, but they do run a service, and this service accommodates him.
But in the way you wish for the policy to be changed only suits the pocket, not peoples feelings, your point only provides for pockets,and selfishness not people with empty bank accounts due to eating disorders and feelings, so for me the debate votes are balanced on this point, this is the choice that faces every potential voter.

Now I know there are people out there that are grossly overweight, and refuse to pay for extra seating, causing discomfort to fellow passengers,like yourself, and at the same time saving a few quid in the process, but you just can't go trying to separate them from the genuinely ill, it would cause no end of problems and hurt to take such a stance, do peoples feelings take second prize to money in this modern day society?.your side of the debate reminds me of A comic strip, Fatman and Robbin', yes robbing people of their dignity and self esteem.

I'll hand it back over to you, but if you are a man with even an ounce of compassion, you would concede this debate, and put the unsavory incident down as an experience that opened your eyes to someone less fortunate than ourselves, I'm sure it's left a bitter taste in your mouth, but just spit it out and get on with enjoying your life.

I look forward to the next round :)
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

I should like to take this opportunity to thank my opponent for accepting this debating challenge in such good humour and also for his very generous remarks.

He firstly picked me up on my use of "the" preceding "fat" but I would contest that this is not inappropriate. After all, we are often approached by charity workers who state that they are collecting:

"money for 'the' blind" or "old clothes for 'the' homeless" or "spare cakes for 'the' fat".

Well, perhaps not that last one so much, but you see the grammatical point I am making?

Reading on, I was highly amused by my opponent's alternative suggestions as to the best ways to resolve the situation to my advantage. If only I'd have thought of them myself!

I note with interest that my opponent is clearly familiar with the natives of Aberdeen, lovely people, but a tad cautious with their cash I think it's fair to say. I remember not so long ago was out drinking in Aberdeen with a Chookter (someone from the hills surrounding the city) and an Irish fellow who was rather fond of his glass, if you see what I mean. Anyway, we had been in every pub and bar on Union Street and me and the local lad decided to call it a night because we'd all had a skinfull and, anyway, run out of cash. But Paddy was having none of it. "No, no" he said "I'll lend you each a tenner and we'll get one more round in each". So we went to the Hen Hoose for one, had one in The Bridge and ended up in The Grill, downing pints of heavy chased by double nips of single malt.

Unfortunately, this did for poor old Paddy (the Irish are good drinkers but they can't keep up with the Scots or Geordies, like me) and he collapsed. We took him to the hospital but, sadly, he passed away as the result of alcohol poisoning. Me and the Chookter went to his funeral to say our goodbyes and I placed �10 in his coffin and said "there's that tenner I owe you Paddy". Then the Chookter came over, took the tenner out and replaced it with a cheque for �20 and said "Aye, an' afar ye gaan an' caall m'athin, there's ma tenner aanall"!

Sorry, I digress.

My opponent made a very good point about the airlines' policies. Most are not willing to insist the fat pay their fair share on planes because they don't want to be depicted as "sizist". One notable exception is Southwest Airlines, who have very clear policy on the matter:

"Why ask large Customers to purchase additional seating?

We could no longer ignore complaints from Customers who traveled without full access to the seat purchased due to encroachment by a large seatmate whose body extended into the neighboring seat. These Customers had uncomfortable (and sometimes painful) travel experiences, and it is our responsibility to seek resolution to prevent this problem."

http://www.southwest.com...

I salute this airline's honesty and willingness to defend the rights of people of normal size and I contend that their policy should be adopted by all passenger airlines forthwith.

Thank you.
thisoneguy

Con

I feel really sorry at this point, for I may have said things that may have hurt my opponents or even you the readers feelings in an attempt to provide for a humorous mind, if this is indeed the case and I have hurt your feelings then I ask for my sincere apologies to be accepted.

I never really took the debate seriously, but did manage to muster up some points which I thought to be valid as the remaining Characters permitted for the first round were nearing an end.

The thing that pleased me most about this debate was having the opportunity to exercise and share humour, I was more than pleased to hear that Brian (opponent) was "highly amused", and if you the reader shared in the humorous side of the debate, then I'm pleased for you also.

I was tempted to call Brian a "Master debater", in relation to the way he projected his stance in the first round but wasn't sure if the funny side would be seen as intended.

I'm especially pleased that some of the real Brian shone through in his second round contribution, it gave the impression of him being a really nice guy, which put me on a guilt trip.

I learned a lot from participating in this, so I makes no difference how the voting goes, I just feel that we should treat people the way we would like to be treated ourselves, I don't get anything out of judging others, and also feel it's not my place to do so, therefor if ever I find myself in a position to surrender a seat to someone overweight, I will do in respect of this debate.

My thanks to you again Brian, for posting the debate and I wish you well.

I have nothing to contribute further as far as the debate goes, but plenty to offer society.

Ps, have you ever wondered why, "a fat chance and a slim chance have the same meaning"?.
Debate Round No. 2
116 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ilovedebate 5 years ago
ilovedebate
funny intro brian! haha i loled so hard
Posted by sabotage 6 years ago
sabotage
HAHAHHAHAHHA, yes.
Posted by dollydo 7 years ago
dollydo
LOL! Now that was funny,...and I feel bad for you! He should have paid you some money (at least $50 for taking up part of your seat), or the airlines should have reimbursed you.
Posted by missyt 7 years ago
missyt
Pro you didn't have to be so rude to the overweight person did you...you caused a fight and hurt someone's feelings....over how much you paid for a seat!!! If someone's anorexic you feel sorry for them, if someone is discriminated against you say..TUT TUT that was rude...but larger people....oh yes they are aliens not human!!!!!!!!! Some really do have reason they are bigger and don't always assume its food. Would you like if someone said I paid 200 pounds and more for this seat only to find that your B.O is making feel sick? Or I have to look at your ugly mug? There are better ways to deal people who you may find annoying...abusive words is not one them. Typical high school abuse you dished out there.
Posted by nikiri 7 years ago
nikiri
That sound a bit more adult like.
Posted by brian_eggleston 7 years ago
brian_eggleston
I'll let you into a secret - although the incident actually took place I never really said those words!
Posted by nikiri 7 years ago
nikiri
Wow you are 40? I thought you were a teenager from your conversation to the overweight gentleman.
Posted by Xer 7 years ago
Xer
I like how the resolution says "The fat" instead of "Fat people" hahah.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
"+31"

Wow. I've never seen that number so high.
Posted by Biggbrother 7 years ago
Biggbrother
mmmmmm beer in a pub on a dark rainy island. i want a perfect pour guiness now

but your right it has turned topsy. but since this is a current debate in the U.S. if it is discriminatory, it just fell that way. and since the U.S. gave healthy countries the invention of fastfood like Mcdonalds and so forth, the obesity rate around the world has gone up, especially in india
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Vote Placed by Lordknukle 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Fatties should have to pay more
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