A while back Colby, a 7 foot tall man, emailed me asking to look into what airlines could do to make flying for tall people easier. At first I didn’t think too much about it. “Why should airlines be concerned about taller passengers?”
Then I got thinking. Why not? We have heard a lot recently about the passengers of size issue, where larger passengers are required to purchase two seats. Yes, it can be harder for some people, but for almost all, there is that choice (coming from someone who is larger myself). If someone can’t help their large size, they can get it documented and then the airline does have to accommodate them at no cost to the passenger. Now, being short is considered a disability, but not being tall. Our culture seems to love tall people. From athletes to people wearing taller shoes and even having surgery to get taller. People might look up to you (pun intended), but it doesn’t make flying an easy task.
So, I pose the question: Should Airlines Accommodate Tall Passengers? I say yes.
I am not talking about letting tall passengers get first class seats for free, but what about letting taller passengers have first dibs on exit row or bulk head seats? I believe there is a no-cost solution for airlines here and I really want to explore possible solutions more.
When flying, Colby tries very hard to try and get an exit or bulk head seat, but he doesn’t always get one. Every time he flies he arrives to the airport early to see if he can try and get a seat with additional leg room. He will first talk to the person at the ticket counter. If that doesn’t work he will try and see if someone at the gate can help him out. If that doesn’t work most times people sitting at the bulkhead or exit row seats are happy to change seats with him when they see him hunched over walking down the aisle. He flies quite a bit and sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard he tries, there are quite a few times he will end up in a normal seat and having to endure the flight.
So what could be done? Colby is looking for airlines to be a bit more consistent with with how they deal with tall passengers. Some are very accommodating others are not. Certain airlines charge passengers more to sit in the bulkhead or exit and giving up those seats for free to tall passengers would mean loss revenue. Others , you have to pay to get a seat assignment or it is open seating and it is mad-dash for prime seats.
Thing is Colby is a pretty out going guy and has no problem asking a bunch of people if he can get a seat with more legroom. He sees other, not as outgoing tall people, who don’t ask and are constantly stuck crammed in a seat during their flight.
I plan to try and help out Colby and others that are in his same situation. At 6’1″ I am not a short person, but am still able to make sitting in standard seats work. I plan to talk to people in the industry to see what solutions airlines might be able to offer tall passengers and hopefully get some feedback from you, my readers.
What are your thoughts on this? Should airlines provide solutions? If so, what solutions should they provide?
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