The issue that I have with United's new stated policy of "if we're sold out, then we'll push you out the door onto the next flight and charge you double, but only if we think you're a fatty" isn't that it's discriminatory, or that I don't think I should have to pay for the space that I take up. It's that the policy is not applied consistently and makes the whole process a lot more humiliating that it has to be.
Let's get it out of the way up front - yes, I'm a large woman. I'm not talking a size 12, or big boned, or pleasingly plump. I'm huge, and yes, part of it is probably me being weak willed and unable to resist the siren call of the red-velvet cupcake as a child, but mostly at this point, it's medical issues - I have heart and lung issues that make it impossible to even stand for more than a minute at a time. Travel is not ever going to be easy for me, but even when I was more mobile than I am now, it was still humiliating, and a lot of it was because of inconsistent airline policies.
If United et al actually let me buy and use two tickets easily to begin with, I wouldn't have to deal with a) letting the flight attendant know that yes, I realize that I need two seats, and I need to know if I can buy one at the gate; b) watching everyone around me heaving a sigh of relief when they realize that I'm not sitting next to them; c) not knowing if I'm going to be able to make the meeting/training class/funeral I'm trying to get to - trust me, I'm not flying for fun at this point - due to there being no room on the plane for me; or d) dealing with a situation I had several years back where I had bought two tickets, and still ended up almost crippled because of having to fly from Atlanta to Portland with an arm-rest that would not come up all the way and was shoved into my back for 6 freaking hours.
Southwest Airlines actually has a policy that makes sense (or at least they did last time I flew with them) - if you are large, you will always have to buy two tickets up front, and then if the plane was not full, they'll refund you the price of one of the tickets. It was applied consistently, you knew what you were getting into before heading for the airport, it was fair for me and for those around me, it worked. I think that is what United was trying for with this new policy, but unless they're willing to take it all the way, and apply it every single time, it's just going to cause more muddlement and embarassment for everyone.
At any rate... let the taunting commence, but realize that if you put the words "sweaty" or "stinky" within a paragraph of the word fat in your comments, I will reserve the right to ignore you - my ego can only handle so much.