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Should passenger weight affect airline fares? Options · View
Posted: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 6:14:12 AM

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Are airline passengers entitled to transportation or space?

In the United States, it is not uncommon for airlines to ask overweight passengers to purchase two seats. MeMe Roth, an American nutrition expert known for her anti-obesity activism, defended the practice. "The airline industry is really a weight and freight business model," Roth told Deutsche Welle. "They need to push as many units as they can. If they start selling two for one, we all have to make up for that in revenue. She added that those who make "the hard choice of staying healthy" have to subsidize those who don't. Southwest Airlines says that ninety percent of the complaints that it receives are from travelers who are angry that they were "sat upon" by overweight individuals who overflowed their seats (BBC News).

Activists for overweight people complain that selling such small seats and charging larger passengers for two seats is a form of discrimination against people who have a disabling addiction to food. "It's just discriminatory and it's mean-spirited," says Megan Downey, the executive director of the American Obesity Association (Lynch). Other criticism has been that airline seats seem to be getting smaller and smaller, and far more limiting to plus-size, tall, or even pregnant passengers that require more room for a comfortable flight.

Is this discrimination or fair practice?

Reference: http://everything2.com/title/Southwest+Airlines%2527+policy+concerning+overweight+travelers

Posted: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 6:38:27 AM

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From Obesity dot org, the American Obesity Association's website.

Our Vision
To advance the science-based understanding of the causes, consequences, prevention and treatment of obesity in order to improve the lives of those affected by creating the leading professional society in the field.

Our Mission Statement
Through research, education and advocacy, to better understand, prevent, and treat obesity and improve the lives of those affected.

Our Values
The Obesity Society is committed to improving the lives of those with obesity, nurturing careers of obesity scientists and practitioners and promoting the interdisciplinary nature of obesity research, management and education. In so doing, The Obesity Society, its members and staff pledge to uphold:

Compassion: For the lives and situations of those living with obesity.
Responsibility: For advocacy, treatment and investigation, all working toward a cure for obesity.
Respect: For each other and all who are touched by obesity.
Progress: For furthering knowledge about obesity using appropriate scientific standards.
Mentorship: For helping, teaching and supporting our colleagues.
Highest Ethical Standards: For all our actions, writings, programs, and services.

It's full of statements about how we have to "understand" obesity, and "find a cure" for obesity, as if it's some form of illness that strikes the unwitting without warning. I'm with MeMe. You face choices in life. Most of those involve personal responsibility. You can choose to have that extra piece of pie, or you can choose not to. Obese parents can raise their children up to be obese, or they can recognize that it's not healthy, physically OR mentally, and break the pattern. I don't blame the airline for charging obese passengers for two seats. Bigger people take up more space, and carry more weight, causing the aircraft to burn more fuel. Their business model is based on flying "X" amount of people, weighing an average of "Y" pounds each at "R" dollars per ticket. If "X" goes down, or "Y" goes up, "R" has to go change in order for the company to remain profitable. If you force the airlines to fly in an unprofitable mode, then how are you gonna get from Point A to Point B when they go bankrupt?
Posted: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 9:49:03 AM

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A different example but still on topic - just about.

In England we have a big clothing chainstore called Marks and Spencers, The BBC use their results all the time to measure the state of the economy.

M&S, as we call them, are by far the leading retailers of womens underwear. They decided to charge more for bigger bras as they use much more fabric, which seemed fair enough. The media went up in arms and the Bra Wars kicked off - pitting small breasted women against those with big tits. Demonstrations were held in the lingerie aisles with many a poor boob taking a bruising.

The big tits won and M&S had to back down and keep one price for all. I think the airlines might have to do the same regarding overweight people..

Although the media don't like overweight people as much as they like big tits.

I think that was relevant.

Posted: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 9:59:24 AM

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I don't think double-charging overweight people is discrimination. If someone will be using 2 seats, then he should pay for both of them. It is unfair to expect the airline to "swallow" that loss. However, if the plane is not full to capacity, then the overweight person should be allowed to use an extra seat without being charged for it.

Posted: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 10:43:58 AM

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Having sat next to more than my fair share of lard-asses, I'm all for charging them for two seats. After all, it's not like I've ever been shown any consideration for being tall and feeling like I have to travel with my knees tucked up under my chin (only a slight exaggeration). coffee

"Whoa, lady, I only speak two languages, English and bad English." - Korben Dallas, from The Fifth Element

"If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must man be of learning from experience?" - George Bernard Shaw
Posted: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 12:11:29 PM

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Sure, why not? just as soon as they start giving smaller people discounts for taking up less room/creating less weight on the plane, and what about tall thin people, lets charge them for taking up more leg room and for reclinging there seats so my legs are pressed up againt my chest. Here's the thing, if someone actually NEEDS 2 seats, then i could understand that, but i have seen my share of large people dealing with the humiliation and discomfort of making do with one, and sure, maybe it makes it uncomfy for the person next to them, but then, i have been in uncomfortable situations on planes with thin people who haven't bathed, or children who aren't behaving, or someone with a cough or a cold

hell, i have a small bladder and have been up and down to the bathroom on a flight or two, which is annoying, i am aware. and then there's snorers on long flights, or people who drink to much, or... well, really, just singling out someone because they are overweight just seems a little cruel... i bet they aren't very happy about being overweight, and don't go off on how they do it to themselves - food addiction CAN be a real issue, and unlike drugs or alcohol, you can't just stop eating...

ok, spinning off subject a little, i coud go on, but...

btw, Merican, next time, request a seat my the exit door... the rows are wider to give access allowing you to stretch out your legs. :)

Posted: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 4:21:40 PM

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I do feel that plus-sized passengers should pay an extra premium for requiring an additional seat in planes if that flight is expected to be filled to capacity.

As it is now, many people that are extremely tall, pay an extra premium to book those emergency exit seats ahead of time in order to give themselves extra leg-room.

When I am paying for a seat on a plane, I expect to be paying for the "real-estate" rental of the seat for the duration of the flight. That means that I don't want someone else infringing on my "real-estate". For some reason I always seem to have the "large" person seated next to me on flights, with plenty of 'spillage' into my space. I don't care as much if it's a short 1-2 hour flight, but for something longer than that, it gets to be very frustrating.

I know we can't control things like smells and sounds on a plane. But my space is the space I have paid for, and I want it all!

For those people that still aren't motivated to reduce their obesity to cut down on having to pay these extra premiums, then I can't see any other option than having them pay extra. Unless the flight industry was to make a certain few "handi-cap" style seats with extra-large seating for those that would want to pay a little more, but not the entire cost of a second seat. I doubt the airline industry would be interested in this kind of non-lucrative venture though, when the practice seems to be about making seating smaller in order to carry more passengers.

My luggage is often overweight (I'm a terrible packer), and sometimes I have to pay extra because I've gone over the weight limits. So if I'm paying extra for my packing gluttony, then I don't see any difference for those that have chosen to be over-indulgent with their lifestyle choices.

Posted: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 8:43:01 PM

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I've had times where I was stuck between two fat people on a plane. It really made my voyage unenjoyable. I agree, that if I pay for a seat, I should get it all. Not that we should start charging by weight though...people would start cutting weight in order to get lower fares.

But I'd be alright with having a select few seats for fatties, with more room, that cost a bit more. That way they get the room they need, and I won't be spending my entire flight crushed between two leviathans, whose arm fat is spilling over onto my armrest and forcing me to spend the entire trip with my shoulders protracted and my hands between my legs.

They can have "plus sized" seats. (Or plus sized planes to fly in and out of Memphis, TN)....icon_biggrin
Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2010 6:41:29 AM

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sweet mother of pearl Damon, I spluttered coffee
all over my screen when I read your your non-PC comment... "But I'd be alright with having a select few seats for fatties" LMFAO buddy. Thanks. hello1

"Whoa, lady, I only speak two languages, English and bad English." - Korben Dallas, from The Fifth Element

"If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must man be of learning from experience?" - George Bernard Shaw
Posted: Friday, August 20, 2010 5:33:31 PM

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I have to agree with DD on this. I know there are many people who think obesity is something they can't control, I don't agree with that. Like other addictions some people may be more pron or susceptible to becoming addicted, but I think with enough dedication and desire people can break their addictions. Having just quite smoking this year, I know it's hard but it can be done. Just look at the reality show The Biggest Loser. While these people spend their every waking hour dedicated to losing weight, while on the show, it does prove that it can be done. Honestly I love the show and think it's the best television show.
Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010 12:26:31 AM

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Hmmmm ok as an obese person with a hormonal condition (yes its real not imagined i don't sit at home all day stuffing my face!!) I dont mind paying extra if i had to pay for an extra seat!

I dont have to pay for an extra seat and there are very few obese people who i believe actually do need to its just that insensitive asseholes decide that becuase of size we will make there flight unbareable and kick up a fuss........personally if i had to pay for 2 seats and not sit next to a guy who has not used deodorant in the 24hrs that we fly then shit i'd pay for 2 cos i'd rather do that!!!

If i sit next to someone else then you can be your ass i sit as uncomfortably as i can to make sure i do not invade that other persons space ever..........i do not allow myself to touch the other person as i would in any situtaion unless i know tham and would make myself extremely sore for 24hrs in order to do that.

Reality show biggest looser may work while they are on the show but i have to wonder how they go once all that support is taken away, what are the long term realities?? does the show really help them when they get home and are cooking for themselves???? cooking for there families, shopping for themselves? Sure someone locks me up and trains my ass daily i'd loose weight but if i dont learn how to survive again in the real world then where does that leave me?

I have a hormonal condition, yeah yeah heard all the excuses right, well some of us fat, obese people actually do its not that we eat all the time!!! Polycystic ovarian syndrome is not an excuse but does make it harder to loose weight.

I also have a genetic disposition to weight gain, all my mothers side of the family are large sized, and not cos we all eat huge amounts........geez some people are bigoted and ignorant.

I personally would rather be obese but not smell or be so insensitive and bigoted than a lot of sizest people i have met are, not aimed at anyone on here but i have met so many people who will not talk to you let alone anything else cos of size!

When will we all learn tolerance for fucks sake. If its not skin colour, sexuality, then its something else guess now its weight................sure we cost the health service money but no where near as much still as smokers who i do believe is 100% your choice to start smoking or not!!

Discrimination is discrimination lets call it what it is!!

Even on here i have had people talk to me then find out i am obese and stop dead!
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