What Are The Best Airlines For Overweight Passengers?

People Boaring Plane
People Boaring Plane

First, there is no problem associated with being overweight. And an overweight passenger has the same privileges if not more than the ‘normal passenger’ – excuse the language. An overweight passenger should not be made to endure an unenjoyable flying experience just because of being overweight. 

In 2010, Kevin Smith, a film director who was deemed “too overweight” and ejected from Southwest Airlines flight changed the game in the aviation industry, as many overweight travelers became worried if that would not be their fate.  

However, most airlines now make provisions for overweight passengers and in this article, you will learn what is the best airline for overweight passengers. 

What Airline is The Best for Overweight Passengers?

While some airlines do not care if you have enough room for your leg, others do care about how comfortable you are as a traveler, especially when you are overweight. A number of them make spacious seats available free for overweight passengers rather than have them spend more money to buy additional seat. These airlines are the best and about 8 of them would be discussed below. Sit tight as we give you airlines that are best for overweight passengers. 

Kindly note that this list is based on the airline policies, their attitude, and their seat sizes. It is also imperative to state that some airlines discussed below have varying seat space than others. Therefore, you are advised to check the details of the airline you settle for before you book. 

On average, the seat width of the economy class is often around 17-18 inches. Inches above these, are considered to be more spacious. 

  1. Air Canada:  

This airline has the most generous airline policy for plus-sized passengers traveling within Canada. In its policy, obesity is termed a disability.  Thus, overweight passengers are entitled to request an extra seat free of charge. This is very nice considering that other airlines would require overweight passengers to purchase extra seat if the one given does not fit them. The economy class seats in its Beechcraft 1900D are 20.2 inches. And it is reputed that they have seats up to 24 inches in width. 

  1. JetBlue: 

JetBlue has seats that are a bit larger than average for economy class. However, they have a premium economy class which is an upgrade and a big win for overweight passengers. Their seats are up to 38-inches pitch. This does not come for free, but just at a price increase.  Overweight passengers can get value for their money. JetBlue does not require overweight passengers to buy an additional seat, the discretion is left to the passenger. 

  1. Bangkok Airways: 

One of the best Asian airlines for plus-size passengers, with a seat width of 19.8 inches on three of its Airbus planes. Bangkok Airlines is a nice option for plus-size passengers. 

  1. Singapore Airlines: 

With seat width mostly at 30 to 28 inches for its long-haul business class seats, Singapore Airlines is considered one of the best airlines for overweight passengers. Put in your option their economy class seats for long haul flight. Since they have a lot of room and good seat width at a provision of 19 inches on many of their aircraft. 

  1. Uzbekistan Airways: 

This airline’s short-haul economy seats are regarded as some of the best. In its economy class, the airline’s Boeing 767-300ER aircraft have seats that are 21.25 inches wide. In addition, their first-class seats on short-haul flights boast seats 24 inches width on their aircraft. 

  1. China Southern Airlines: 

Behind Bangkok Airlines for Asian airlines, China Southern Airlines boasts seat width of up to 19.7 inches, while other planes in its fleet provide up to 19.5 inches seat size. This airline is also renowned for its first and business class seats on short-haul flights, with around 24 inches in seat width. 

  1. Delta Air Lines

For domestic flights in the U.S., passengers will be ecstatic to know that Delta Airlines does not require passengers to buy an extra seat. Additionally, they are known for the reputation of going all out to make overweight passengers sit next to any extra seat for the passenger’s comfort. 

  1. Spirit Airlines: 

For a trip in North America and other domestic flights, Spirit Airlines is known for ultra-low-cost seat width. Its aircraft are great options for overweight passengers as they have a seat width of up to 20 inches.

Which Airline has the Widest Seats in Economy Class?

The airline that is known for the widest seats in Economy class is JetBlue. They are the leader when it comes to most pitch and widest seats, because most of their economy and coach class seats are roomy as compared to other airlines in the market. 

JetBlue has seat width on their planes that ranges between 17.8 to 18.5 inches. Also, their cheapest seats offer a pitch range of 32 to 35 inches. Some other flight in their possession boasts of seat pitch of up to 37 and 41 inches.

Is there a weight limit for airline seats?

No, there is no weight limit for airline seats for United States passengers. However, Southwest is a few of the airlines that request that passengers who cannot fit into a seat book an extra seat. How they determine weight limit is by using the armrest. When a passenger is unable to lower the armrest on a single seat, they are required to purchase another, with no attention paid to the passenger’s weight. But a refund policy exists, where if the flight does not oversell, they will refund the cost of the extra seat to the passenger.  

Many people find this rule unsound, yet Southwest has continued to stick by the policy despite countless lawsuits against it. 

Flying Tips for Overweight Passengers

As an overweight passenger, it is good to plan before you book that ticket to know what provision is available for you, and alternate option you can pursue. Here are a few important tips for your use. 

  • Choose the airline you use carefully: Check out airlines that have favorable policies for overweight passengers and choose them. Most of these policies are titled in a different format. You are advised to open and read through them. The time it would take you to read through the policy is shorter, compared to the time it would take you to sort out problems that may arise after you choose airlines with unfavorable overweight passenger policies. 
  • Contact the airline: It is sometimes hard to get all the information you need on an airline website, thus, you are advised to phone the airline customer care to get the details, and answers to your pressing questions. 
  • Request a seatbelt extender: Requesting a seatbelt will not make you fit into a small seat. But it is necessary to request one rather than having to fight with a seatbelt that offers restrictions and is too tight. 
  • Check the aircraft you will be flying on: Newer planes are known to offer more space than old planes. Hence, it is recommended that you check out the aircraft you will be flying in. 
  • Check the seat size: This is the most important task you must complete. Kindly check the seat size of the aircraft before you book it. This will ensure you are booking on an aircraft that has seat sizes that can accommodate your weight. 
  • Read Reviews or Sample Opinions of past users: Nothing can be compared to the experience shared by those who have used a particular aircraft you are looking to book. They provide firsthand knowledge on what the plane looks like, how big their seats are, how comfortable they were on the journey, and many other questions you may have in mind. 

This article discussed the best airline for overweight passengers, their seat sizes and space provision on each aircraft. It further stated that except for a few airlines, there is no weight limit for overweight passengers in the United States. If you are looking to travel soon, you are advised to read and follow the flying tips provided above for overweight passengers. It will ensure you get value for your money and enjoy the best comfort available in the aviation industry. Bon Voyage! 

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