Thai Airways criticized for not accommodating fat passengers

It isn't all fat passengers, there are still plenty of them. But this recent story is about some people that were awesomely fat and were denied their seats in business class and relegated to coach because of it.

I was unaware of this, if you have more than a 56 inch waist, you can't sit in business or first class on certain airlines because the seat belts are different and can not accommodate anyone bigger than that.

algoverweightpassengerjpg.jpg source please note: This is not the person in question

A woman and her daughters were recently forced to give up their business class seats because they were too big for the seat belt - which has been a Thai Airways policy since some time in 2018.

The people in question claim they were subjected to embarrassment as the staff told them "You are too big" and then measured them in front of other passengers.

"Everyone was just standing staring at us. The whole thing was disgusting."


Thai Airways barely responded to the criticism and media requests (which i think was wise) but simply released a statement saying "As this issue involves passenger safety, I am sure you will understand that we cannot compromise on this."

Now I know it is a bit insensitive to side with the airline on this and no, I am not fat-bashing or shaming or whatever it is called these days but when you are so huge, there are certain things you are not going to be able to do anymore. Certain things you are no longer going to fit into as well.

Before anyone starts thinking negatively about me I want you to imagine the situation that many of us have been in: You are already in your seat on the plane and a really massive person is heading down the aisle... you are secretly praying that they don't sit next to you, aren't you?

AircraftSeat.jpg source

On another note I think it is funny the way that airlines are so absurdly attached to my hand luggage not weighing more than 7kg and charge $11 a kg for my dog. I would imagine that in the future our tickets prices would be based on weight if this works out as more profitable for the airlines.

Also, I found it funny that one of the articles that was talking about this incident and was also attempting to make Thai Airways look bad, referred to the obese passengers as "people of size."

At the end of the day this was a simple case of the equipment not being capable of accommodating someone too big for said equipment. I think Thai Airways handled this situation as professionally as they could and hopefully the media and the "people of size" in question will just let it go. Maybe they can turn these lemons into lemonade and make some positive life changes as well. However, the world being the insane place that it is these days I would imagine it is far more likely that there will be a lawsuit coming up instead.

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  • @erikah

    This is funny and sad as well. Lucky me, I haven't been in a situation where me or another person is in trouble for their size (I'm not overweight) but still, I don't really understand. Business class has different size seats and more space as far as I know so it's better for overweight people. I know a similar situation where the woman, almost 150kg wanted to fly from Budapest to Moscow and because the seatbelt was too short for her size, she was given an extra seatbelt, some kind of extension.

    I guess Thai airways need to come up with a better solution.

  • @scholaris


    People seem to equate form and function provided by a company as heartless if it doesn't accommodate everyone that uses their services. I think the example you provided in this article shows how a company recognizes its shortcomings and tries to compensate in the best way possible.

    Thank you for your article.

  • @g7terra

    What Can I Say... Build Bigger Planes with Bigger seats,,, UPVOTED.. Great Post!

  • @proto26

    "People of size" I really hope this phrase catches on

  • @billyuzi

    I blame both parties The person who is satisfied that he remains fat and that makes him embarrassed has to do slimming in order to avoid falling into these matters

    And I blame Thai Airways because they deal so cruelly with obese passengers that they should feel comfortable and not the other way around. It remains just an opinion

  • @taliakerch

    oh it happens more and more often everywhere.. people go crazy with their tolerance and rights. It is good but it's too much and goes to absurd often. I am for Thai airlines. If you are too fat, how will you fly? so simple logic. and yes, it seems to me if there is no so much tolerance to fat people, most of them will be motivated to be healthy and slim. Do you agree?

  • @cryptoandcoffee

    This happened to me when this really fat guy sat next to me and from sitting comfortably I was now squashed. I complained as I wasn't sitting like that for 10 hours having his body on mine literally. I was upgraded and have no sympathy for the other guy as it is just wrong. What do they expect if they overflow into everyone elses seat it is not right. Maybe they should have one or two seats on their own somewhere as that would be more considerate. When you are that big you shouldn't fly as one it is a security risk on board as look at that guy blocking the aisle ad two they don't fit. I would charge them double as they do need two seats.

  • @slobberchops

    I am not fat-bashing

    You sure..? ;)

    That pic always makes me laugh, I have seen it before and reminds me of the escalator scene from Trigger Happy TV.. a comedy show from around 2000.


  • @nuthman

    It's unfortunate that obesity is not treated as the sickness that it is. When I got up to nearly 260 pounds I was so miserable I thought I would die. Everything was a chore! But I've been working my ass off and am down to 223.

    Obesity is not a body type; it's an epidemic that is sending people to an early grave. Being moved to a different seat should be seen as a wake up call. Not trying to be mean, but it is the honest truth.

  • @bozz

    I guess the first thing I would like to point out is the fact that the airline is partially at fault. Okay, maybe not the airline, but the manufacturers of the planes in general. I know for a fact back in the 60's and 70's the space in the cabin used to be much better for passengers. Now it is all a huge money grab and they try to smash as many people in as they can. They don't care about comfort or safety or any of that. It is all about selling as many seats as they can. I am over weight. Some would probably call me fat, I don't feel super huge, but at 250lbs there have been times I have been worried my seat belt wasn't going to buckle on a flight. Maybe it just has to do with where I carry my weight. I often wonder if people who know they are bigger buy two seats just out of common sense. I know that is a lot of money for some people to spend, but it would be for their own comfort as well. Who wants a arm rest playing huggy huggy with their gall bladder for three + hours?

  • @janton

    Great story about the problem the airlines have to deal with. The phrase "People of size" really makes me laugh but if it was over here the airlines would be falling all over themselves to make up for any embarrassment the passengers suffered and to save their image. At the very least free tickets but definitely would be thinking of a lawsuit coming and try to head that off. But like you said, it's just a practical issue, not a discriminatory one.