Aviation Sale
Big People Airline Tips

Big People Airline Tips

Useful information to make your journey more enjoyable.

What airlines treat big people well?

Re-published, March 4, 1999, with permisssion.

This section is a compilation of comments made by various people on s.s.f-a or a.s.b-f about various airlines. It's by no means exhaustive. For detailed information which compares airline seat widths on various aircraft, find your airline and aircraft on seatguru.com.

American Airlines/American Eagle

Friendly to big folks. If you ask, they will try to place an empty seat beside you (by "blocking" the seat on the computer). You may need to ask ahead for a seat belt extender. Makes very large people purchase two seats.


Friendly to big folks.


Used to be generally thought friendly to big folks, but lately there have been complaints. One person who was large and disabled said she was refused a seat ("insurance requirements" were cited) after twice calling Delta to explain her special needs and being assured there would be no problem. Another person complained they were unresponsive to her need for a seat with an armrest that could be raised.


Friendly to big folks. Polite. Flight attendants are helpful and ask if you need a seat belt extender.

Midwest Express

They have four-across seating (rather than the standard five-across) on their DC-9s/MD-80s. The seats are all basically as wide as first class seats. Their major hub is in Milwaukee, and they fly cross-country.

Northwest Airlines

Gracious about seat belt extenders.

Polynesian Airlines

Very friendly to big folks. Go out of their way to make you comfortable, arrange for extra seats.

Reno Air

Friendly to big folks. Good about seating you in a comfortable row.

Southwest Airlines

Unfriendly to big folks. Have been known to fly someone to a connecting city, and then decide that the person is too fat for a single seat, and then demand that the person buy another seat to continue their journey. Some people have had OK experiences with them.

United Airlines

Friendly to big folks. But were in the news a while back for being obnoxious about weight limits for flight attendants.

US Air

Friendly to big folks. NAAFA trained and very respectful and kind about size issues. Makes very large people purchase two seats. Discreet about seatbelt extenders, good about seating people next to empty seats, upgrading to first for a small fee.

Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 by Stef Jones (stef@bayarea.net).
Permission is granted to copy and redistribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial, educational use only, provided that this copyright notice is not removed or altered. No portion of this work may be sold, either by itself or as part of a larger work, without the express written permission of the author. This restriction covers all publication media, including electronic media.

The 'Aviator' Web Site.com © 2014