The A**hole Suing Emirates Over a Large Seatmate Has a Point

He's still an a**hole, though.

September 23, 2016 9:00 am

Here’s a fact that will surprise no one: airlines cut corners wherever they can.

They squish us into ever-smaller spaces so they can maximize their profits — which, by the way, are humongous. (Sample headline: “World’s airlines on pace to pocket record $39 billion in profits.”)

Those profits come at a cost paid not by the airlines, but their passengers. Consider, for example, that seat width is now at record-low levels: a mere 17″ is standard, even on long-haul flights. By contrast, a standard movie theater seat is six inches wider. And since bodies come in many shapes and sizes, the result is, occasionally, too-tight quarters. 

Such was the situation faced by Italian lawyer Giorgio Destro, who on a nine-hour flight on Emirates Airlines from Dubai to Cape Town, complained he was forced to “suffer the ‘spillover’ of the passenger” next to him and find refuge in the aisle and in crew seats.  A situation he is now suing Emirates over, to the tune of $3K, which includes a refund as well as well as damages.

Maybe the other passenger should have had to buy an extra seat, as many American airlines would stipulate. But that seems a rather unfair punishment to give someone for merely daring to travel with their God-given body type. AirCanada considers obesity to be a medical issue, and will accomodate larger-bodied passengers with an extra seat if they have a doctor’s note.

The blame, as we see it, lies squarely with the airlines, who make close to $40 billion collectively in part because they jam us into ever-diminishing spaces, when any number of solutions could address this, up to and including having larger seats for larger bodies. 

But there is another important element to the story that gives it a more sinister twist: the disgruntled Destro snapped a selfie with his seatmate, presumably without their consent. Note that Playmate Dani Mathers is potentially facing jailtime for a similar ridiculously off-color decision made in her gym’s locker room.

Could be his seatmate was game. More likely his seatmate was mortified, as this amounts to nothing more than Destro publicly shaming another human for having a body he was uncomfortable with. Our opinion? Tough luck, Destro. Three thousand dollars isn’t chump change, but it isn’t worth humiliating another human over.

Why not stick to aiming your efforts at the airlines, out to make a buck on the back — and the comfort — of their passengers. 

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