United Airlines, the No. 1 carrier at Denver International Airport, says it will require extra-wide passengers who can’t fit into a standard jet-cabin seat to buy a second coach ticket or upgrade to a wider seat on crowded flights.
The new policy, which took effect Wednesday, makes United the largest carrier at DIA with such a rule.
United’s policy applies to passengers who can’t close their seat belt even with a belt extender or pull down the armrests.
Such passengers with economy tickets can either buy a second seat or upgrade to a wider first- or business-class seat by paying the fare difference, United said.
The rule applies only when a flight is so crowded that there are no empty adjacent seats in coach, in which case an extra-wide passenger will be reseated for free.
If there are no two adjacent seats available on a flight, an extra-wide passenger will be reseated on a later flight, United said.
The Chicago-based airline (NASDAQ: UAUA) says it receives hundreds of complaints each year from passengers who are squeezed by their extra-wide cabinmates.
Other airlines operating at DIA, including Continental and Delta, already have such a policy, while American decides such matters on a case-by-case basis, USA Today reported.