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May 14, 2014

A letter to American Airlines concerning our flight from Austin, Texas to Los Angeles, California


Passengers Ian Strang and Cheryl Gould. Concerning our flight from Austin, Texas to our connecting flight in Phoenix, Arizona on Feb. 19, 2007. Flight #73, seats 19A and 19B. Departure time: 2:55 pm.


On our return trip from Austin, Texas to Los Angeles, (with the above mentioned connecting flight to Phoenix) my girlfriend and I had the window seat (19A) and the middle seat (19B).  A woman sitting in the aisle seat next to us (19C) had a considerable posterior and was taking up half of 19B. I want to be nice about this because I know that some people can't help it if they have weight problems, but, SHE TOOK UP HER OWN SEAT PLUS HALF OF ONE OF OUR SEATS! Although she seemed to be friendly (except for insulting us for being from Los Angeles and telling us how much she hates Los Angeles and that she would never move to Los Angeles because she couldn't make it there as a singer or something) we were scrunched up next to the window for approximately two and a half hours. The flight was completely full so we could not change seats with a couple of small children or something. We could not physically put the armrest down nor could we even put the middle tray table down because of her jumbo sized hind-quarters and legs. We're talking heroic proportions here. I'm not really complaining because the flight was just another normal flight and the air waitresses were sub-par in their attitudes and they feigned friendliness as best they could, but this lady was HUGE!!! I don't really see how we pay for a whole seat, but only get to use half of it. I'm not sure what your policy on hefty humans who travel by air are, but if you have a policy on the size of baggage that can fit into the overhead compartments and a policy that if your luggage is too heavy you get to pay an extra fee, shouldn't you have one for people who can’t fit into seats? It's hard to believe that not one employee from U.S. Airways would have seen this woman's substantial buttocks, registered the size of a standard coach seat on a U.S. Airways airplane in their heads, put two and two together and somehow come to the swift conclusion that she simply isn't going to fit, and that plan B should be activated immediately. I really hope that there is a plan B and that maybe some forgetful or disinterested employee simply blocked the possible scenario out of their minds because, this, my friends, is no way to travel. I realize that the airline industry has had their hands full since 9/11, and I thank you for all the security and inconvenience that TSA provides, what with the stripping down to the bare essentials in the airport and whatnot, but seeing how we're probably on a level blue or green or some other safe color, I think we really need to start addressing some of the other air-travel concerns of the day. We should try making some of your more apathetic employees take notice of uncomfortable situations, such as whenever someone might be scrunched up against a window, fighting for air. Maybe train some of your other semi-interested associates in the art of identifying a problem somewhere earlier in the program instead of when it's way too late. I really don't know what the answer is, friends. I'm not boycotting your airline because I'm probably going to travel in the future and I just might ride on one of your fine airplanes and have the pleasure of being served stale pretzels and soda pop by someone with a thousand yard stare. But, I hope that by then our little problem of enormous people taking up almost two seats will be yesterday's news. And once we've solved the problem of people taking up more than one seat, maybe we can finally tackle the problem of screaming children.


I hope this was helpful.


Best wishes.


Ian Strang