An American Airlines flight attendant reportedly took a photograph of an obese passenger trying to fit into an airplane seat to show what crews must deal with when it comes to overweight fliers, the Telegraph reported.
The picture was posted on an aviation blog. It wasn't clear whether the man knew he was being photographed or whether the plane was able to take off with him half out of his seat, according to the Telegraph.
Several carriers now require obese passengers to buy two seats instead of one so they won't put themselves or anyone else on the flight in danger.
American Airlines hasn't yet implemented such a rule, according to the paper, but encourages customers to "recognize ahead of time that they may need to purchase two seats."
Southwest Airlines mandates that passengers who can't lower both armrests must buy a second ticket, the price of which is refunded if the flight isn't full.
The photo apparently was snapped aboard a Boeing 757 and sent to blogger Kieran Daly, who writes for Flightglobal.com, the Telegraph said.
Its authenticity couldn't be definitively verified, though Daly said it was legit.
"This is sent to me with the absolute assurance that it's a genuine picture taken by a flight attendant at American Airlines," he wrote. "The F/A took it to show her manager what was happening on the aircraft and why she was unhappy about it. Seems the guy paid for only one seat and the gate staff let him board."
American Airlines said it is looking into the situation.
"At this time, American Airlines is unable to confirm whether or not the image referred to was taken by a member of the flight crew but will investigate the situation internally to determine if any of the airline's strict policies were not correctly applied," the carrier said in a statement.
"Passengers are advised to book two seats if they are concerned that they will require them," the airline said.