XL passengers invade my economy class seat — and airlines let them

When Elisabeth Haas took her window seat on an American Airlines flight from Orlando to Dallas earlier this year, she discovered a problem – a very big problem.

“A morbidly obese seatmate encroached into my personal space,” she says. “He required a seat-belt extender and that the armrest divider be raised to accommodate his girth during the entire flight, including takeoff and landing. He also had to walk down the aisle oriented sideways and moved quite slowly.” (She sent me a photo of the offense, which I’ve published above.)
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Ridiculous or not? When flight attendants attack

Maybe I should take more road trips.

After last week’s column on flight attendants who hate their passengers, I’m pretty sure a “wanted” poster of me is displayed in every crewmember break room and galley.

I heard from passengers who shared their own horror stories of abusive crewmembers. I heard from airline employees who confirmed the sorry state of airline service and tried to help me understand it. And I heard from a small group of apoplectic flight attendants who thought the best way to counter the well-documented problems was to kill the messenger.
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What a great idea! Honor your crew — wear a tie when you fly

Yesterday’s rant about rude passengers in my MSNBC column drew a suggestion from a reader that I wanted to share with you. It came from James Phillippe, who, like many of us, is tired of air travelers who misbehave.

He writes,

I have experienced the inconsiderate traveler many times. I don’t have a forum to say or do anything about this bad behavior. So I have decided to tell others what I am going to do. I have decided to always wear a tie when I am flying to honor the hard-working flight crews and tell them why I am wearing it.

I have decided to make it a bright red one so others won’t miss it. Please forward this idea to other guys and help me spread the word. I don’t know what to ask the girls to wear, but maybe a red bow would be good.

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JetBlue flight attendant who bailed after passenger confrontation: “Your carry on drama ain’t worth that to me”

I‘ve been following the coverage of Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who bailed out of a parked aircraft after a profanity-laced confrontation with a passenger about his luggage, with some interest.

It’s a curious story, and while reporters congratulated themselves for finding Slater’s MySpace and LinkedIn account, they may have overlooked the richest source of information: his apparent profile on Airliners.net, the industry discussion site where he goes by the handle Skyliner 747.

A review of his postings reveals that he’s a former TWA flight attendant with a history of commenting on luggage issues. At one point, he even seems to indicate that he’s considered exiting an aircraft in an unauthorized way. I’ll get to that in a moment.
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