Flight or height? Passenger removed from plane for being too tall

April 4th, 2011 24 Comments By Paul Smith

Picture 1 Flight or height? Passenger removed from plane for being too tallToo violent, too drunk, too fat – all past reasons that flights have left passengers behind at the terminal. Now, a US airline has removed a passenger before take off… for being too tall.

The 6′ 9″ seasoned flyer say that he would always attempt to book exit row seats, but found they were sold out on his flight with Horizon Airlines. So he did what he’d normally do; took the flight and made the best of a bad job. “I have been faced with this situation in the past [as I often have been], things have worked out just fine,” says the passenger.

Alas, his lanky frame didn’t best please the crew; according to the passenger in a letter to the airline, the stewards did nothing to try and resolve the situation, except call in reinforcements:

I was approached by perfectly behaved ground staff and told that I would have either to fold my legs out of the aisle or I would have to be removed from the flight. At no time did another flight crew come back to see me and at no time was there discussion of a possible seat change.

I told this gentleman that this was no new situation and that I had never been faced with this ultimatum before. He left… but shortly thereafter a further official appeared and asked me to get off the plane.

The passenger also adds there were two seats with extra legroom in front of him, occupied by “rather small females” – neither volunteered to swap seats, and neither were approached by staff to do so.

Over to you, avid readers. Fair play by the airline? Should airlines have height restrictions? Should taller passengers be charged more? Wait until Ryanair hear about this.

[Consumerist] via [Travel Rants]

Comments (24) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by Fake bob April 4, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Vital omission…. How tall was he???

  2. Posted by will April 4, 2011 at 10:22 am

    and was he lean or obese? if he was just a tall dude (say 6ft 6) then i feel sorry for him.

    if he is a 40 stone 8 foot monster, the airline sort of have a point….

    more facts please BW :)

  3. Posted by Kev April 4, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I think all extra leg room seats should be reserved for people over 6ft tall. Still, reserving these seats can be expensive.

    Recently when booking a Thomas Cook holiday to spain, they allowed me to preselect my seat for an extra £15 (when booking the holiday). £15, seemed reasonable if you can prebook the extra leg room seats. Except, when you get to the seat picker bit, the seats with additional leg room cost a further £60. (£30 each way). No mention on the site of this extra charge until you come to choose a seat (and after you paid £15).

    Grrrr.. Airlines.. etc.

  4. Posted by Phil76 April 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Just followed the link to the source article and the answer to Fake Bob’s question is 6″9′.

  5. Posted by The Real Bob April 4, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Yeah, I’m 6’2″ and for the emergency exit seats if I can, it fecks me right off when they stick shorties in them. I’ve actually been on a flight where they had kids in them which I’m pretty sure defeats the point as the idea is that they should only be occupied by people who can help the staff in case of an emergency landing.

  6. Fake Bob – height added, ta :)

    The Real Bob – they shouldn’t be sticking kids in emergency exit seats – that’s against safety regulations. They can put kids in bulkhead sits, though (which usually have extra legroom).

    Personally, I’d like to see a little common sense (and courtesy) from the crew. Quite often the extra-legroom seats don’t sell on long-haul flights; with a pair of eyes, it’s quite easy to spot the passengers who’d benefit from them as they board. Only once has a stewardess changed my seat (at the gate) because she was aware they had free seats with extra legroom (I’m 6’4″).

  7. Posted by bittertraveller April 4, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Agree with you. There should be a minimum height required for extra legroom seats. I’m 6’6″ and the bloke in front of me can never recline their seat. I’ve had one flight where they tried for 10 minutes, even asking their mate for help to try and get it to work. Painful!
    I was travelling with my little one and was chuffed to get e-aisle seat only to be moved by the staff since babies can’t be there (which is quite logical). Though, if its a bulk head seat… for the love of everyone else on the plane, please make parents travelling with little ones as comfortable as possible. If their little one can sleep then I might be able to.

  8. Posted by Dave Thompson April 4, 2011 at 11:15 am

    There should be a weight and height restriction – for example if you weigh more than 15 stone you should pay a supplement for the weight that you are over – similarly height say over 6′ 2″ – the airlines can then cost in the provision of more seats with wider girth and others with more legroom – perhaps some with both.

    I was sat on a long haul flight recently in the window seat with 2 fat germans in the other 2 seats and the experience was awful – both were obese and should have paid double.

  9. Posted by Bit n Bob April 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    The passenger also adds there were two seats with extra legroom in front of him, occupied by “rather small females” – neither volunteered to swap seats, and neither were approached by staff to do so.

    The question is did he say “Please can I just swap with one of those girls?”, which clearly he could have done…

  10. Posted by Frostygills April 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I don’t fly that much anymore, but a few years back I would always ask the for emergency exit seats (6’3″) and most tried to help out. Then all of a sudden, they start charging extra for these seats. It seems odd that when you sit in these seats you have to agree to help out the cabin crew with the opening of doors, but now they charge extra (normally I’m quoted £50 per seat), they prefer to leave them empty and refuse people to move when the flight is on progress.

    I now have to sit on the aisle and my partner has to sit on the other side of the asile as they won’t let us book the middle seat and an asile, but you can book a window and middle. Surely, most people would like to have a window??? All alirlines care about is money and if your in the cheapseats, your a 3rd class citizen.

    I’m just glad I travelled a lot while I was younger and never look forward to travelling by air anymore.

  11. Posted by Al April 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Glad to see I’m not alone with this – (6’4″). I’ve completely given up going on short haul flights as it took me 3 days to get over being shoe-horned into the seat. Then some short arse fuckwit in the seat in front puts their seat back the second the plane levels off. I’ve tried all the tricks to stop them putting the seat back but brute strength always won out. Thomas Cook are the worst and I will never fly on their sardine cans ever again.

    I resolutely refuse to give the airlines any more money but will always ask if a change in seat is possible, to be fair I’ve been lucky and been moved to much better seats although sometimes at a cost of not sitting with the wife, but is that a bad thing?

  12. i’m 6ft 4 and had trouble on a British Midlands flight a couple of years ago. They told me to move my legs out of the isle but I replied that I physically couldn’t. They hadn’t sold any of the exit seats (because they wanted a £25 premium for them at the time) but wouldn’t let me move to them without paying the surplus and told me the captain was in his rights to remove anyone from the plane at his discretion.

    Fortunately I ended up flying but they were within their legal rights to refuse me flight from my understanding.

  13. aisle dammit!

  14. Posted by Nick T April 4, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Now substitute the word ‘disabled’ into this story.

    Imagine the writs if the cabin drongos were to say “leave the aircraft please, we don’t accommodate spazzes”.

  15. Cheers for the mention Paul.

    Yes, I think all we are asking here is a bit of common sense, at 6ft 9, surely the checkin or departure gate staff could have said something rather than the embarrassement of being flung off the flight. I’m 5ft short arse, so wouldn’t be a problem for me, unless ofcourse I couldn’t fit my arse in to the seat, and well thats a different discussion completely! :)

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