12 November 2012 in ,

Junk in your trunk.


The Economist is a magazine I read often. It's a one stop shop in terms of a news outlet. It provides me with a dose of politics, business, finance, technology and culture. I enjoy it. I came across an article today which left me unnerved. This post is bound to ruffle some feathers, I'm OK with that. I'm going to talk about weight which is a sensitive issue for millions of people. I don't mean a few extra pounds, I mean obesity. Needing an extra seat on a plane kind of obesity.

The article, Obese flyers: How should airlines treat larger passengers? makes a comparison between American and international attitudes towards big travellers. In America, a passenger who is not able to fit in one seat is required to buy an extra ticket or wait for the next flight that can accommodate the necessary space. In contrast, good ol' Air Canada's policy is as follows:

"International airlines such as Air Canada address this issue more amicably: Because the airline considers obesity a medical condition, it provides overweight passengers with a free extra seat as long as they present a doctor's note."

Well, this would in part, explains why Air Canada needs all those government bail outs on a regular basis. Although I'm sure the article is right in pointing out that the cost is passed on to other passengers, who get nothing extra for their buck. I am typically a bleeding heart of such massive proportions it feels like my arteries are working overtime. Not in this case. America has this right! If I can barely bring my luggage without paying a premium on top of my regular fare, those who need extra seats for their butt cheek can pay for it as well. We are after all talking about extra weight.

It's not that I can't appreciate the difficulties associated with obesity. Not from my own experience, but I can sympathize with another person's pain and the feeling of humiliation. However, is making things "more comfortable" not encouraging the problem in the grand scheme of things? I'm not saying big traveller's should be treated poorly or with disrespect but they should pay a fair share based on their particular circumstance. Air Canada's policy for infants (children 2 years and younger) on international flights is 10% of the adult fare and they don't even get a seat, they share with the parent. It seems only reasonable that a person who is actually using the extra space pay for it.

Canadian flights are already extremely expensive in comparison to those in the United States  and Europe without the added costs of these free seats.

the outspoken introvert 

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