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Survey: Heavier passengers less satisfied with flying experience

North America has a higher rate of heavy airline passengers than other parts of the world, according to a new survey from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX).

And, heavier passengers tend to be less satisfied with comfort on the airplane, according to the survey released Wednesday.

The survey of travelers by APEX and LRA by Deloitte found that nearly one quarter of passengers in North America reported that they weigh more than 200 pounds.

On the other end of the spectrum, passengers in Asia were more likely to weigh less than 150 pounds, and reported a higher rate of satisfaction, the survey said.

The survey was based on 3,400 interviews conducted around the world.

To be sure, there is a correlation between weight and height. But APEX CEO Joe Leader said height did not have as strong a correlation to passenger comfort as did weight.

His theory: "I think there are solutions that customers can more easily pay for accommodating their height, than there are solutions that can fully accommodate a passenger of size in terms of girth," Leader said.

For example, tall passengers can pay extra for a seat with extra legroom, such as Comfort+ seats on Delta. But those who want a wider seat sometimes end up paying for two seats.


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About the Author

Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.