Obese flyers to pay more with Air France

THE HAGUE: Obese people who are unable to squeeze into a single plane seat will have to pay nearly double to fly with Air France-KLM in future, the company says.

Extra-large flyers will have to pay 75 per cent of the cost of a second seat (the full price excluding tax and surcharges) on top of the full price for the first, spokeswoman Monique Matze said on Tuesday, saying the decision was made for "safety" reasons.

"We have to make sure that the backrest can move freely up and down and that all passengers are securely fastened with a safety belt," said Matze.

People who cannot fit into a single seat are fastened by slotting the belt tip of one seat into the plug of the next - stretching over both seats.

By paying for both, the overweight passenger will be assured that two seats will be available next to each other. They will, however, get their money back on flights that are not fully booked, said Matze.

The new measure will apply for people who book their tickets from February 1 for all flights from April 1 this year.

The average plane seat is 43 centimetres wide - 44 centimetres for long haul flights.