Too fat to fly?

Too fat to fly?

The debate over whether extra large passengers should be made to buy an extra seat has been reignited after a picture taken by an air stewardess has gone viral.

The unnamed stewardess, who is believe to work for American Airlines, took the picture of the obese man in order to make a point to her boss that overweight passengers prove a safety risk and an inconvenience to cabin crew.

The photo is believed to have been taken on board a Boeing 757 and sent to blogger Kieran Daly, who writes for Flightglobal.com, before being picked up on web forums used by flight attendants.

Its authenticity couldn’t be definitively verified and it is not clear if the passenger was asked to move before the flight took off.

Several carriers now require obese passengers to buy two seats instead of one so they won’t put themselves or anyone else on the flight in danger.

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One user posted the comment: ‘Sympathise with the guy or not, he’s a major safety hazard in an evacuation and a gross inconvenience for the cabin crew.’

‘Certainly no passenger would ever be allowed to fly in any way that obstructs the aisles of the aircraft,’ he said.

‘It is very obvious in the photo that the aircraft is not in-flight at the time the photo was taken - other passengers are still boarding and several overhead bins are still open.’

American Airlines has issued a statement saying: “At this time American Airlines is unable to confirm whether or not the image referred to was taken by a member of flight crew but will investigate the situation internally to determine if any of the airline’s strict policies were not correctly applied.”

“American Airlines’ primary concern is for the safety and comfort of its passengers and crews and consequently passengers are advised to book two seats if they are concerned that they will require them. If a flight is not full, however, passengers’ needs would be accommodated without charge wherever possible.”

Many airlines already offer seatbelt extensions to larger passengers in order that they can meet safety regulations, however several, including American Airlines, already advise buying two seats instead of one.

Click to read more comments on the blog itself.