It’s irrelevant to Houston-based Heathen, but it sounds like being squeezed into the bulkhead by a supersized seatmate is a thing of the past on United. Consumerist has the story:
Starting today, United Airlines has a new policy. If you can’t fit into a single seat, you need to buy another one or stay behind.
In order to fly for no extra charge, passengers now have to be able to sit in a single seat, buckle their seat belt (with an extender) and put the arm rests down. If you can’t do this, you’re going to need to buy another ticket — unless there is already a seat available with another open seat next to it.