My mother is going on a flight with United Airlines. I'm sort of nervous for her because she hasn't really been on a airplane since she gained much weight. She's pushing 400 pounds, even if it doesn't seem that, (her body seems smaller then her actually weight). I don't want her go to the airport and be humiliated over the fact of some random employee making her buy an extra seat, or anything.

What's the cut off for being to big?

Do you think she will fit or should I buy her an extra seat in advance?


It is impossible for anyone to accurately answer the question without seeing your mother. The rules are based on how well she fits in the seat in question and whether the seat belt fits her.

United rules are spelled out on: http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/specialneeds/customersize/default.aspx

But the two biggest factors, can she fit into the seat with both armrest's down and can she buckle the seat belt around her with a maximum of one extender.

Compounding the issue is that different aircraft have different width seats and likewise there are different length extenders. So a lot of the judgement calls will be made planeside and there is no real appeal process.

If she is very broad in the hips and abdominal areas and the airfare is not out of control, why not buy her the extra seat, making her flight (and her row mate's flight) more comfortable.

  • Thank you very much, she's not so wide in the abdominal or hips she's more wide in the shoulders. – SmileAlways Oct 17 '14 at 6:38

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.