A plus-size influencer is doubling down on her demand that airlines scrap their ‘discriminatory’ policies and give overweight passengers extra seats for free, as one expert suggested it was her human right to get what she wants.
Jaelynn Chaney made headlines when she called for the FAA to offer ‘an extra free seat, or even two or three seats depending on their size’ to obese flyers. Chaney, of Vancouver in Washington, conceded other passengers may have to foot the bill through increased fares.
In a new interview with CNN Travel, Chaney – who is a size 6XL – maintained that airline policies are ‘discriminatory’ and that it’s unfair they have to pay more than thinner people.
‘People with smaller bodies get to pay one fare to get to their destination,’ Chaney said. ‘And we have to pay two fares, even though we’re getting the same experience. If anything, our experiences are a little bit more challenging.’
Air Passenger Rights founder Gabor Lukacs told CNN he agrees and that it is a matter of human rights for these passengers of a certain weight.
‘So through that lens of human rights, I don’t see any justification for charging these people a double fare,’ Lukacs said.
He suggested that Chaney should get free seats to spread herself out, because airlines do not apply discounts to slim passengers or children who take up less space and help the plane consume less fuel and thus save money.
Lukacs asserted that he believes the issue has bigger implications since ‘being a large-size person is not a choice, as many people mistakenly believe,’ he said.
The passenger rights advocate stated that he believes there is a ‘lot of negative attention and prejudice against plus-sized people,’ that impacts the issue.
‘But it’s not as if someone is getting up in the morning and making a decision that they’re going to be a large person,’ Lukacs told CNN.
He added that using ‘immutable characteristics’ being used to assess additional fees for passengers is a ‘slippery slope’ for airlines.
Chaney agreed and said that she believes other overweight flyers are not asking for anything more than the same treatment a person with a smaller body gets.
Her Change.org petition suggests otherwise as it asks the airlines to accommodate the larger customers who may ‘encroach onto another passenger’s space.’
The influencer said that at the ‘bare minimum,’ the FAA should issue guidance that helps plus-size passengers navigate their travel plans.
‘We need the policies to be a little bit more standardized,’ Chaney said.
She also wants airlines to be forced to refund overweight passengers for any extra seats they’re forced to purchase when booking to accommodate their size.