Who’s the victim in airline seating incident?

We all know the type. Flies on frequent flyer miles. Has to wait to get a seat assignment that puts her in the middle seat, talks loudly on the cellphone so everyone know the details of her victimization by being stuck between two large passengers.

This incident — captured on video by a passenger, of course — had an unusual component: people pushing back against the passenger, as captured and posted to Facebook by Norma Rogers

She was eventually removed from the flight and invited to wait until the next day to fly, the Washington Post says.

As with most videos these days, the victim in the episode is debatable. The Post, for example, chose the moment to consider whether large people should pay more to fly.

This one probably won’t be online long as the comments attached to it are fairly disgusting.

  • Postal Customer

    Perhaps judgment-by-viral-video has jumped the shark and we should not do that anymore.

  • jon

    I’d like to propose the victim is everyone flying in steerage- I mean economy.

    • Jeff

      At least on the Titanic (the movie) it looked like they made the best of it and had a good time. Maybe the airline could provide a jug to pass around.

      I’m resigned to whatever fate is. Seems to me people know the circumstances and there’s not much you can do about it, so just be polite as you can and make the best of it. Bourbon and good book helps a lot.

  • Rob

    As a sub-200 pounder who has been sandwiched between very large people on more than one flight, I can say it’s one of my least favorite things. But I always make sure to maintain silence and equanimity throughout the experience, as Sardines R Us seating is de rigeur in the world of air travel.

    • jon

      as a ~200lb who carries most of it vertically rather than horizontally I just need space for my legs and feet…

      So long as you don’t tattle on me for not putting my personal item under the seat in front of me so I can keep my feet there (and the bag behind them.) we won’t have a problem.

  • Gary F

    I’m a guy who buys from the big and the tall department. I try to upgrade to the exit seats whenever possible. And when I can’t, if I’m in a situation like that I always ask the other passengers which seat they prefer.

    • Southwest’s board system is so civilized, I don’t know why everyone doesn’t go for it. Don’t want to sit in the middle… start hitting F5 on the check in page 24 hours and 1 minute before the flight.

      • Barton

        Or just pay to get an assigned seat that isn’t the middle seat.

  • Jay T. Berken

    She reminds me of Paula Deen.

    It would be interesting what her reaction was if the two seatmates were white.

    • Debby

      Exactly my thought.

    • Jeff

      On the other hand it appeared to me that the people chastising her were white, so maybe there’s some hope.

  • It seems to me that this is an engineering problem as well as a behavioral one. Since people come in different sizes, seating should be at least moderately configurable to allow for that. The current system is bound to cause comfort and safety problems, so why not send the MBAs to the golf course for a weeklong confab and turn the engineers loose to fix the problem?

    • Joseph

      But that would hurt the profit margins, with less people per plane.

      • Lots of things hurt profit margins. Compliance with food safety costs. Compliance with fire codes costs. Compliance with load limits for the trucking industry costs. Compliance with healthcare regulations costs. Compliance with virtually anything that doesn’t allow for laissez-faire capitalism costs. Boohoo.

  • Guest

    The airline Cost Accountant see the nature of the problem, a direct result of more passengers per plane and does something about it…….He smiles a lot 🙁

  • Barton

    I’m an obese woman. I only fly at a cost where I choose the seat and choose the aisle, so I can hang over into the aisle and not squish the middle seat person – and the person in the middle seat ALWAYS gets the shared armrest. Always and they always should no matter who is sitting on either side of them. I’ve also chosen – based on the plane type – to pay double the amount to fly first class so that I am not a nuisance to my fellows in the same row AND so I am comfortable on the flight (& I know that I am privileged to be able to afford to do so a few times a year).

    I’ve attempted to buy two seats before on different airlines and each time I’ve been told this is not an option (I’m not obese enough to meet their requirements to do so it seems). So, how can larger people actually pay more to fly beyond what I’m already doing? It seems we won’t get any more space for it, with the exception of exit rows which anyone who needs a seat belt extender isn’t supposed to sit in anyway per FAA, yet I’ve done so even – and not been moved even when I brought this up (I don’t need a seat belt extender on every flight, so it is hard to judge when I will or won’t), so that “salad eating” person may still be squished. On a recent flight, the man in a middle seat was well above 6 foot: he put he legs in the space of the seats on either side of him and never apologized for this. Fine. I get it, you didn’t reserve soon enough to choose a seat and it sucks. It was only an ninety minute flight: I can restrain from having a claustrophobia attack for that long since I cannot freely move my legs.

    The problem here is the aircraft carriers who have moved the average seat size 4 inches smaller in the last ten to fifteen years in order to squeeze in more seats. It all sucks for everyone: we shut up, suck it up and get on with it.

    • Kassie

      Also an obese woman here. First, what is the deal with how some flights they have very generous seat belt and some don’t?

      Anyway, I had a very lovely flight recently. It was a plane that only had two seats on each side, so no middle seat. I paid for economy plus or something like that and had tons of leg room, but was still placed very close to the person next to me. I sat down and made myself as small as possible, per usual. Then the guy next to me sat down. He also was overweight. What a joy! We both were just kinda in each other’s space, not worrying about it, and had a lovely flight.

    • Stephen Troup

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply. You are obviously someone raised to be concerned about the other person’s feelings & welfare. A lack of this is a major contributor to incidents like this on all sides.

  • Erik Petersen

    Yeah, its all about the MAGA hats, that much is true. The other details, not so much, at all. These kids didn’t provoke this Native American man or the Black Israelites. Point is the pretext of the story was pure BS from the beginning.

  • Erik Petersen
  • Erik Petersen
  • Mike Worcester

    I’m a tall, though not wide, person who is amazed at how airlines are tying to defy basic physics via shrinking the space available for passengers even as said passengers are getting bigger and bigger. I’ve had to push back on people in front of me who try to lean their seats back into my crotch because, I don’t know, they are tired or something? Yeah, no.

    As long as airlines are trying to maximize space for $$, the potential for incidents like this to happen remains.

    In answer to the Post’s question — what would they define as a “large” person? If seat space now was the same as twenty years ago, would an incident like this even have happened?

    • Stephen Troup

      This is a result of the PC culture that refuses to allow airlines to price based on the most important factor, each person’s weight. That is actually the fairest way to price.

  • Stephen Troup

    Your right to be fat ends where my armrest begins. If the 2 large people to the left and right of her could have actually stayed in their seats without spilling into her space, there would have been no problem. And to top it off the “B—h please” comments let you know the demeanor of at least one of the large ladies.