Air France promises to reimburse obese flyers it asks to buy doublewide seating if the plane isn't full, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The company, which has long offered obese passengers the option of buying an adjoining seat at a discount, said that passengers would be fully reimbursed for the second fare in 90 percent of cases.

A company spokesman couldn't provide figures on the number of passengers affected by the measure, but said "It's a problem that the company faces."

Obese passengers who don't reserve a second seat may not be allowed to board, at the captain's discretion and if there is not an unoccupied adjoining seat.

"It's a question of security," spokesman Nicolas Petteau said.

The airline denied reports in the French press that it would oblige obese passengers to buy a second seat.

The policy will come into force starting in April.

Three years ago Air France was sued by a 353 pounds passenger who the airline obliged to buy a second seat for a full New Delhi-Paris flight. Air France was ordered to pay $11,423 in damages and to reimburse the cost of the second seat.

Other airlines with similar policies on obese passengers include Southwest, JetBlue and American Airlines.

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