Extra Plane Seat

By Doug Mayberry

May 27, 2019 4 min read

Q: I'm a big guy and always have been. Because I'm over six feet, flying has never been comfortable for me, but it's even worse now that I'm on medications that have caused me to gain a lot of weight.

I haven't flown in several years, but I received an invitation for my granddaughter's wedding (my first grandchild to do so!). I'm happy to fly across the country to attend, even if I don't know what to do about the flight.

I know that some people are forced to buy an extra seat if they are too big, but I'm not sure if I need to do so.

How do I know if I need to buy an extra seat for flying?

A: Every airline has different requirements, but the rule of thumb is that you should buy an extra ticket if you don't fit into a seat with the armrests down (possibly with an extension seatbelt).

The travel industry is in a major cycle of change, and there's not yet a good solution to many major problems.

As airlines are trying to squeeze more passengers into smaller quarters, the size of the average person is also increasing. Although the industry may find a future solution, for now, the burden is on the customer to make it work.

It's better to be safe than sorry. If an airline finds that you don't meet their requirements and doesn't have room for you, their policy is to charge for an extra seat or force the passenger off the plane.

Policy information can be hard to find on the carriers' websites; try searching for "extra seat" or "customer of size" to find the right page. The most reliable strategy is to call the airline's customer service line directly.

Several (but not all) airlines will refund the cost of an additional ticket, as long as your flight isn't at full capacity.

Make the most of your options by being selective about airline carriers and picking flights that are more likely to have empty seats.

Another solution is to buy a business class seat, as they are much more spacious. Although these tickets can be expensive, they may cost less than buying two basic tickets. They also come with extra amenities.

To avoid a disruption, you should do your research before getting to the airport. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter


Q: I met the perfect man and fell in love right away. After two months of dating, he proposed to me. The only problem now is his daughter!

My fiance's previous wife died almost a year before we met, and he was ready to move on. Although his daughter was happy to see her dad dating, she is upset to hear about our August wedding plans.

I think she's being overly possessive and should care more about what's best for her father. His relationships are none of her business.

How can I avoid having her negativity sour my relationship?

A: When you get married, you're also marrying your spouse's family. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by getting off to a bad start.

Although your future daughter-in-law loves her father, the family is still in mourning. Her mother's passing is fresh and painful.

Your fiance's quick proposal may be a sign that he's rushing into your relationship, which can be an unhealthy coping mechanism.

Giving the family time to grieve in a healthy way will lead to a more successful relationship.

A longer engagement will soothe tensions and allow the wounds to heal. — Doug

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay

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