Just a quick update on the United double-plus-ungood-standby for fatties policy: I flew United this past week (having bought my tickets, alas, just before the new policy was announced). Seats in coach, as Meowser points out, are about 17″ wide. I had planned to do a surreptitious measuring of the free space in my seat for blog purposes anyway, but it turned out I didn’t have to: my size 10 ass fills one of these seats exactly. My hips were exactly lined up with the edge of the seat. If my clone sat next to me, our hips would have touched. (As it happened, a fat guy sat next to me, and our hips didn’t touch — because his fat was in his belly, not his hips and thighs.)
This is why United’s policy is ridiculous and sexist. I am thinner and taller than the average American woman, and I just barely fit in an economy seat, width-wise. As with BMI alarmism, the difference between who Jane Box-wine thinks counts as fat and who really does count as fat is (ha) enormous — thanks in no small part to the headless fatty phenomenon. People who are outraged that their seat might be colonized by errant chub are not imagining someone who weighs 5 pounds more than me.
Welcome to your obesity epidemic, America. No matter how thin you are, you may be fat already.