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18th Oct 2022

Woman who complained about being stuck next to two ‘obese’ people on flight gets compensation

Tobi Akingbade

She got what she demanded for

A conservative commentator found herself in hot water after she demanded “repatriations” from American Airlines for having to sit between two overweight passengers on a three-hour-long flight.

To the surprise of pretty much the whole internet, the woman got the money she demanded.

The airline sent her a  letter offering her $150 of trip credit by way of compensation.

Her reaction to the money was unsavoury:

Sydney Watson, an Australian-American political commentator, had taken to Twitter to share her discomfort onboard a flight on Monday, which she described as being “literally wedged between two obese people”.

“This is absolutely not acceptable or okay. If fat people want to be fat, fine. But it is something else entirely when I’m stuck between you, with your arm rolls on my body, for three hours,” she wrote, along with posting images of the passengers’ arms.

“I don’t care if this is mean. My entire body is currently being touched against my wishes. I can’t even put the arm rests down on either side because there’s no f***ing room,” she added. “If you need a seat belt extender, you are too fat to be on a plane.”

Ms Watson, in one of the tweets, referred to the passengers as “the fats” while saying that they “are sweating on me”.

“Our passengers come in all different sizes and shapes. We’re sorry you were uncomfortable on your flight,” the airline said in a reply to one of her tweets.

The airline, in another tweet, said it offered “a variety of seat sizes and styles, so our customers can select what works best for them” and in another reply to a social media user, posted a link describing its seat options.

On Friday, the commentator asked for “repatriations” after her experience sparked a debate on social media, with some people criticising her for “fatphobic” remarks, while others questioned the airline.

The next day, a very controversial Ms Watson said she was “totally fine” with being in the news for “fat shaming”, later adding that she will “stand by everything” she said earlier.

“This is my worst nightmare as a fat person who is not rich. I would hate to see a picture of my fat body on a stranger’s Twitter because I want a vacation,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Lady, if space and luxury is so important to you why not fly first class? Why didn’t you speak up and asked to be moved in the first place instead of complaining on social media. People are so entitled nowadays,” said another user.

“I wouldn’t have been stuck between them at all. All passengers have rights as do you in this circumstance. I once had someone who reeked next me. I had the attendant move me away from the odor. As a passenger I pay for my rights, not subordinate to anyone else,” wrote radio host David Webb in a reply to Ms Watson.

Ms Watson later clarified that the company that was flying her to a venue had booked the middle seat and when she went to change, there were no other seats available.

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