04
Dec
09

Big debate: too fat to fly?

Are you sitting comfortably? Now have a look at this image posted on aviation blog, Flightglobal.com.

The image was reportedly taken by a disgruntled American Airlines cabin crew member, wanting to bring to attention a growing problem.

As waistlines increase, should obese passengers feel the squeeze on their wallets too? Most airlines will charge passengers extra for excess weight on luggage, so why not apply the same principle to heavier passengers?

It’s prompted some to question whether the passenger in the photograph could have made it into the notoriously tiny aeroplane bathrooms, let alone through the emergency exits.

Some have questioned whether the passenger was actually allowed to travel at all.

A refreshments trolley would almost certainly have not made it down the ailse.

In which case, are such passengers a genuine safety hazard or a mere inconvenience to the crew and those around them? Should inconvenienced fellow passengers be compensated?

So, should airline companies do more to accommodate the true size of their passengers? Or should the burden fall on the passengers themselves? Should bigger passengers be prepared to pay for two seats in order to fly?


69 Responses to “Big debate: too fat to fly?”


  1. 1 Roberto
    December 4, 2009 at 12:41

    RE “” are such passengers a genuine safety hazard or a mere inconvenience to the crew and those around them? “”
    ———————————–

    ———- The featured gentleman is a safety hazard to himself as well as those around him.

    I don’t mind people with extra weight, but at some point the weight becomes a major problem. The airlines are part of the problem as there is barely room for a slim guy like me to operate, so I can’t imagine the difficulty of being a normal sized large man much less this guy.

    I’d like the obese airlines to operate without their government subsidies and charged a substantial carbon tax for their pollution imprint so this mass production of air travel services will cease. They need slim operations down to what is sustainable and provide better service .

  2. 2 steve
    December 4, 2009 at 13:30

    I thought banning smoking in bars and banning incandescent light bulbs were supposed to solve all of society’s problems. Apparently it hasn’t, so apparently we need to ban more things. What shall we ban?

  3. 3 patti in cape coral
    December 4, 2009 at 13:53

    If 66% of the US population is overweight, won’t it cut the airline’s profits to ban such a large part of the population? And I must again agree with Steve. To answer his question, maybe there will be bans on ugly people?

  4. 4 James Loudermilk
    December 4, 2009 at 14:03

    Sure they should pay more. And no Steve and Patti I’m not talking about a ban, I’m talking about charging more to people who take up more space or need special accommodations. That’s just business NOT discrimination.

  5. 5 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    December 4, 2009 at 14:13

    Its a real challenge to everyone and definitely it would challenge me when reality flies to the realms of the cartoon world. All in all the airlines need to take note that such situations exists naturally. They should make a provision for such men and women bearing in mind that this is a minority class. I don’t think it would hurt the airline profits ferrying them though the insurance should spell out what is coverable and what is collateral damage.

    So humorous; yet so real. Don’t forget that the world was made before I was born. They are welcome!

  6. 6 Josiah Soap
    December 4, 2009 at 15:05

    Yes these people must pay extra or be banned. I have been squeezed in next to a fatty and it wasn’t pleasant. It was very difficult to get out even to go to the toilet. If there had been an emergency I probably wouldn’t have got out. The person felt they had a right to lift the arm rest and spill over into my space because they couldn’t fit in the chair.
    On numerous ocassions, I have paid $50 for a bag that was 5lbs overweight, can I claim discrimination because I packed too much in my bag? If someone is overweight, then they should also pay extra. Maybe its discriminatory, but thats fine, I am fed up of this new PC age where everyone screams discrimination, if they don’t get their way or are treated differently. I have travelled in developing countries and the problem of an overweight person is rare there. Solution is us Westreners need to stop eating so much and lose some weight or be prepared to eat more. I know this sounds harsh but nothing is ever going to get done if we all feel we are being discriminated against. To me to pay for 2 seats is just common sense.

  7. December 4, 2009 at 15:06

    While I am in complete agreement with Steve and Patti on the ridiculous pop politik of banning everything in sight, I don’t see a problem with charging a person for two seats if they, in fact, take up two seats. There could be a limit on the size of aircraft that certain morbidly obese people can safely fly, as there is much validity in the safety issue of smaller craft. How about only seating the larger of those individuals in bulkhead seats where there is more room?

    • 8 Tom K in Mpls
      December 4, 2009 at 17:13

      The bigger question is the issue of if it is physically possible for them to fly safely with all current aircraft designs. This is the first question. Can they fly without endangering themselves and others unreasonably? Until this is answered, the rest is empty debate. Just a teaser for a press that likes debate with no meaning.

      • December 4, 2009 at 17:42

        I am not aware of whether or not any official scientific studies have been done in this area, but I think that you are right, it is now necessary. I worry, however, that with the airlines crying so loudly about constantly being in the red, and the FAA not likely to commission such a study for fear of lawsuits from morbidly obese rights lobbying and suing nutcases, there is little hope of it.

    • 10 WacomChubs
      December 8, 2009 at 05:20

      I agree with you mike. It does make since to charge two sits for someone who does in fact take up two sits.

  8. 11 Jennifer
    December 4, 2009 at 15:11

    So, should airline companies do more to accommodate the true size of their passengers? Or should the burden fall on the passengers themselves? Should bigger passengers be prepared to pay for two seats in order to fly?

    The burden falls on the passenger. They should be prepared to pay for 2 seats if they are not able to fit in one.

    The image was reportedly taken by a disgruntled American Airlines cabin crew member, wanting to bring to attention a growing problem.

    What in the world is a crew member doing “snapping a picture” of a “growing problem”. Maybe more focus should be on doing your job! I think we are more than capable of seeing that an increasing number of people are overweight. This is an issue that while ideal can be dealt with. Banning people from an airplane seems extreme to me.

  9. 12 Ronald Almeida
    December 4, 2009 at 15:22

    I think its a great idea to charge people acording to their weights. It will solve a lot of problems. It may be the only way to get the west to pay for their over consumption in more ways than one.

    • 13 Josiah Soap
      December 5, 2009 at 01:24

      Good idea, we pay for bags by weight, if they are overweight we pay more. Overweight people should also pay more. Have a height/weight/age graph, if you weigh over a certain amount for a given height charge extra just like excess baggage.

  10. 14 Andrew in Australia
    December 4, 2009 at 15:45

    No doubt we will hear the old.. but it is a medical condition excuse….! You do that to yourself, just as if you were intoxicated accordingly some are not allowed onto planes for that reason.

    If the majority of passengers are able to fit into existing seating, I am large with some extra weight, but have no problem with existing configurations, then why shouldn’t someone who takes up two seats either be charged or barred from flying?

    I recall on a recent flight one passenger who was morbidly obese and required 2 seats and an extension belt to cross his waist. When it came time for meal service the stewardess passed him a tray and moved on to the next person but was called back by the urgent yelps of this fat man. He remonstrated with her that he paid for 2 seats, so was therefore entitled to 2 meals and duly received it which he consumed greedily. I doubt he saw the irony in that… no wonder he required 2 seats

  11. 15 Andrew in Australia
    December 4, 2009 at 15:48

    @Steve

    Let’s not ban smoking and let people continue to ruin other people’s health as well as their own!

    If a ban highlights a problem and forces people to take action then so be it. To make excuses or flippant remarks does nothing to solve a problem. Often times we need to ‘ban’ actions and activities as people are basically ignorant to what really is in their best interest or those of the rest of society.

    Perhaps we should just reconfigure A380s for fat people, a big plane for big people.. the fat flight! We have the technology.

  12. 16 Cecilia
    December 4, 2009 at 16:01

    Obese and overweight passengers should pay for an extra
    seat, plain and simple. It is unfair to the surrounding passengers
    to be squeezed in by these large people. The safety issue is a whole other subject. I never understood why people of large girth do not realize that they create an uncomfortable situation and should possibly consider alternate travel arrangements.

  13. 17 patti in cape coral
    December 4, 2009 at 16:01

    If only we could ban the people with poor hygiene and bad breath off the airlines. Charging them extra won’t do, I mean a complete ban. Or the obnoxious people getting stinking drunk next to you, then falling asleep and drooling on your shirt. Or my favorite, the guy whose hand “mistakenly” ends up on your thigh. Or maybe the airline can charge them more, then pay the people that have to sit next to them. That wouldn’t work though, because unlike obesity, these things are not immediately discernible. I don’t know why, in the grand scheme of airline irritations, overweight people are the least bothersome to me.

  14. 18 steve
    December 4, 2009 at 16:02

    @ Andrew

    While it’s not in his best interests to have eaten both meals, it was in his rights to request them given he did buy that second seat. Had another passenger bought that seat, they would have gotten a meal. Just like he would have a right to a second headset if he wanted.

  15. December 4, 2009 at 16:13

    I am a 50-year-old woman, 5’6″, 135 lbs. Sitting next to a passenger whose girth appropriates a third of my seat forces me to maintain an unnatural, static position for the duration of the flight. Doing so aggravates my arthritic right knee as well as the degenerating disc in my lower back. I deboard in significant pain.
    Yes, people should be charged for the space they require. Denying, dismissing, or minimizing the discomfort that oversized passengers inflict on others does nothing to advance their claims of discrimination.

  16. December 4, 2009 at 16:18

    Well, if a tax on cigarettes, ever increasing, has worked on the twofold fronts of curbing smoking and raising much needed money, then why not have the heavier, I mean morbidly obese people who can’t fit into one seat, pay more? It is an undeniable fact that obesity costs the medical care system more than 10 times what tobacco does, so perhaps hitting them in the wallet will have the same bonuses – extra money for the airlines and another reason for such people to loose weight.

  17. 21 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    December 4, 2009 at 16:21

    For fairness, I think airlines benefit most of the time when a plane is full. There is enough evidence to support the argument that on average, there are a lot of men and women who are normally underweight. What would happen to the profits if they happen to ask to be compensated for the underweight. Furthermore, it is possible to feed an extra plate without hurting the revenue.

    The other argument is that people tend to pay more than luggage when you use weight as a basis for costing freight charges. It is bad to discriminate others on the basis of weight. It is not true that everyone of them wants to be that way and in fact some are not sure what is happening to them. You wouldn’t honestly say that they don’t have as much right to visit Tasmania like everyone else.

    The airlines should accommodate them and so should we.

  18. 22 steve
    December 4, 2009 at 16:25

    @ Andrew

    The ban the consumption of alcohol given drinkers sometimes drive drunk and injure and kill people. Ban automobiles because they pollute the air and harm people. Outside air is very dirty as well. Inner cities have very high asthma rates due to the pollution. So every time you drive, you not only pollute the air, harming other people, you also put their safety at risk by the possibility of hitting them. I’m sure many more people die from being hit by cars than die from second hand smoke.

    Also, if this is about the health of the actual person, not other people, then we should no doubt ban the consumption of meat, especially red meat, since the health risks involved, heart disease, cancer. We should ban certain methods of cooking, like deep frying, because it adds lots of fat to the food. People should only be allowed to eat steamed food. Also, of course smoked foods should be banned. They are normally meat anyways, we have that covered, and smoking it adds carcinogens.

    Or better yet, butt out of people’s lives? The government isn’t my mom.

    • 23 James Ian
      December 5, 2009 at 08:23

      Steve

      I think we have had this debate before. Your sarcastic argument that vehicles should be ban is just silly. I see your point but, it’s just inpractical and impossible. How ever your suggestion that alcohol, red meat and deep frying be ban is a wonderful idea and very doable. But I think we shoud add to that tobacco, sugar and other processed foods. I do think vehicles should be quieter, smaller and more fuel efficient.
      I know you are being sarcastic but, I agree for the most part. We all have to share this planet and “butting out of peoples lives” is just not an option when their unhealthy choices directly affect others.

  19. 24 Ibrahim in UK
    December 4, 2009 at 16:38

    “Too fat” sounds very un-PC … how about people with “extra-ordinary dimensions”😛 This could cover anyone too tall or too wide to fit in one seat.
    Health and safety aside, this will probably sort itself out through demand and supply. The airlines can barely afford to keep running without adding additional restriction on their customers.

  20. 25 Julie P
    December 4, 2009 at 16:41

    I have absolutely no problem with charging an obese passenger for two seats. Iif they require a second seat to accommodate their girth. I looked at the picture, the person was twice the size of the people around him, and twice the size of the seat. The person was a safety hazard for those around him, and so large the flight attendants would not be able to do their job, like assisting with an evacuation or even pushing the drink cart down the aisles.

  21. 26 Anthony
    December 4, 2009 at 16:57

    Heck yes they should pay more. I would have complained and made a huge scene if I had to sit next to that man.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  22. 27 John in Salem
    December 4, 2009 at 17:00

    Bans are discriminatory and I have no way of knowing if the obese passenger is obese by genetics or by choice, any more than I would know if another passenger in a wheelchair has a disease or got there by drunk driving. At some point we all wind up paying more because of other people and having to trust that the majority of them are not abusing the system.
    I can live with that as long as I still have the right to chose an airline that isn’t stupid enough to put a 400 lb. passenger in front of the emergency exit.

  23. 28 Tom K in Mpls
    December 4, 2009 at 17:01

    Every business is free to choose what they want to do to make money. If they are unwilling or unable to serve every person, they will loose that business. They are not required to provide for everyone. If they are willing to spend the money to gain this business by accommodating special needs, they are free to charge for this in any way they choose.

    Think of it this way people, how would you feel if the government came to your business and first told you,you had to expand your service ability, and then told you that you could not charge for the extra cost?

    Everything in life comes with costs and benefits, I prefer to keep government out of deciding on a good balance. Their choice is to easily influenced by seeking votes from the uninformed and by special interest groups.

  24. 29 Sade
    December 4, 2009 at 17:05

    There is not enough room for a normal person in airline seats. We should be advocating for larger seats and enough leg room for everyone, instead of accepting to be uncomfortable… like sheep.

    It is about time we demanded enough oxygen and enough room. Then the overweight person would not have to pay extra and we would all be comfortable.

    • 30 Tom K in Mpls
      December 4, 2009 at 23:08

      Then one of, or a combination of three things would happen. 1 the airlines would loose money and fail, 2 the cost to all fliers would increase, or 3 they would demand money from everyone ( the government ) to pay for it.

  25. 31 T
    December 4, 2009 at 17:13

    You can try to justify being overweight all you want. But the medical fact is this. There is NOTHING medically beneficial about being overweight.

    Which means if you choose to be overweight (just like you choose to smoke), you should pay for the “privilege” of destroying your health. There are lots of non-smoking flights. Is anybody suing airlines for the rights to smoke on-board? No. So why should overweight people sue?

  26. 32 stephen/portland
    December 4, 2009 at 17:40

    I brought back my poodle from Scotland and the Airlines have a set of rules that mean the animal must be able to stand up and turn around in his special dog carrier making sure he had freedom to move in all areas. It only cost $50 to the west coast of the states.

    Meanwhile my seat was broke and the seatbelt did not work and the engine, which I was right beside, made me sick with the fumes for some reason.

    In future I will be checking myself in such a carrier and expecting the same rights the animals have when traveling.

    We need to strive to have the same rights as the dogs on Airlines, and not be treated as humans!

    That’s a true story by the way.

  27. 33 Alan in Arizona
    December 4, 2009 at 17:43

    What a great subject. Since I’m one of those people that’s larger than normal, though I can fit into a plane seat without hanging over on to the person next to me, I’ll add my 2 cents.
    First off I think the airlines would be smart to charge people for their weight and that of all of their baggage. Yes even the carry ons. 1 rate per pound for everyone. Hop up on the scale please! Then add a surcharge for each seat they require or want to purchase for their own use. Let them occupy it however they desire. If it takes 2 seats to sit in comfortable and safely, so be it. If someone just wants to sleep on 3 seats for a 12 hour flight make it available.
    Calculate the charges according to weight and space taken or desired. Make travelers pay for all the extra cheese cake we can around behind us or make travel very desirable for those slim of shape. I love to travel to Europe and it’s hard staying in shape to fly, but it’s worth it. Let the airlines make a little profit on every flight. It can’t hurt that much.
    And that medical condition excuse is bogus. Being lazy isn’t a medical condition! I know! It’s our own fault if we get obese and wear out our bodies by over taxing the joints, circulatory system and over working other body parts. All it takes is getting up and walking. Yes off our fat rear ends. You don’t have to go to a gym to stay in fair shape to travel. Just get active. Take a 30 minute walk after dinner or sometime. Not a stroll a walk! Give a cute Bobby ( Police Person )a light slap on the Bum ( Butt )and run or try! If and when they catch you tell them you are just doing your civic duty to help you both exercise and stay in shape. And don’t forget to smile!

    • 34 Tom K in Mpls
      December 4, 2009 at 18:56

      While I enjoyed and agree with your post, especially the per pound charge, you are forgetting one thing. The size of these people will not work with various safety issues. Such as the strength of seat belts and the size of emergency exits. Can you imagine a fat person in a burning or sinking aircraft telling others to go by because they don’t fit? Some would, I wouldn’t want to have to count on it though.

  28. 35 steve
    December 4, 2009 at 17:55

    @ Sade

    The airlines are there to provide you a service so they can make a profit. Having larger seats, and more comfortable, means fewer passengers can fit on the plane, which would mean for them to maintain their current profits, that you would have to pay more. Are you willing to do that?

  29. 36 patti in cape coral
    December 4, 2009 at 18:15

    Funny you mention that Stephen. When my kids were younger they were allowed to travel as unaccompanied minors at ages 10 and 11, but my animal had to be accompanied by an adult!

  30. 37 Elias
    December 4, 2009 at 18:25

    It would be an insult and obscene to extra charge an overweight customer on any flight, also the passenger would be most uncomfortable to sit in the usual small seat in the aircraft, that would be enough of a problem for the passenger to suffer. Some travellers are extremely overweight, it would be in their interest to give them the choice to pay for 2 seats so they can sit on both of them and travel in better comfort, especially in long distant flights. In the event the aircraft have some emty seats, the passenger need not pay for 2 of them.

  31. 38 Will, British Columbia
    December 4, 2009 at 18:42

    This really highlights a problem in north america right now, so many of us have let ourselves go to a point where we don’t eat right and stay active but rather than do something about we remain complicit to our bulging bellies and related illnesses like diabete’s and heart disease. My car will burn more fuel if I have four passengers simply because it has more weight to carry; airlines charge by weight for extra luggage so I think even though it seems cruel, obese passengers need to accept the fact that they may have to pay more for tickets, especially when they don’t fit the regular seat sizes. It may be less of an issue on larger aircraft but smaller planes I have no doubt that it comes in to play.

  32. 39 Tom D Ford
    December 4, 2009 at 19:55

    @ Alan in Arizona
    December 4, 2009 at 17:43

    “First off I think the airlines would be smart to charge people for their weight and that of all of their baggage. Yes even the carry ons. 1 rate per pound for everyone. Hop up on the scale please! Then add a surcharge for each seat they require or want to purchase for their own use. Let them occupy it however they desire. If it takes 2 seats to sit in comfortable and safely, so be it. If someone just wants to sleep on 3 seats for a 12 hour flight make it available.

    Calculate the charges according to weight and space taken or desired.”

    I think you have it right.

    Aircraft are engineered to carry weight and volume and so logically that ought to be the basis of charging to fly. The flight engineer calculates the total aircraft weight in order to plan the flight before taking off.

    Consider taking it out to the absurd end, putting 400 hugely obese people on a 400 passenger jet, why I bet it would not be able to even safely take off the ground.

  33. 40 Tom D Ford
    December 4, 2009 at 19:57

    I doubt that you could even get 400 overly obese people on a 400 passenger jet.

    If they each took two seats, you could only get 200 people on board.

  34. 41 Abdullahi Adamu
    December 4, 2009 at 20:59

    Yes,airlines companies should do more to accommodate the true size of there passengers by increasing their facilities and maintain them so that fat people should have the ability to feel compatable with the accommodation they were given.

  35. 42 Alan in Arizona
    December 4, 2009 at 21:10

    @ Elias

    Maybe a little tough love to fellow travelers would help them in seeing the necessity to stay fit. I don’t mean openly insulting them. Gently telling them how much better life can be with a little effort.

    Maybe an incentive can be structured for those losing weight from one flight to the next. Maybe a 1000 frequent flier miles for 10 pounds lost. Not in luggage but in body fat.

    @ Tom

    I don’t think the safety equipment would be an issue. Most of what would be of a concern for a larger person is actually very well built. A safety belt can take an extreme load. And if someone larger was in front of me, they would be moving no matter what. And if I could reach them behind me they wouldn’t get left behind. No pun intended! If they can get into a seat, they can get out!

  36. December 4, 2009 at 21:38

    I have no issue with charging the morbidly obese more in order to fly. We tend to forget that everything–everything–on a commercial airplane is decided by measuring the amount of weight the plane has to carry. The more weight, the more fuel the aircraft burns. Airlines are for-profit ventures, after all.

    What Americans have to remember, in what I call “fatass nation,” is that everyone is responsible for their habits and urges and their body weight, except for the people who have medical issues, like thyroid disease or compacted, heavy lower bowels, and things like that.

  37. 44 Bert
    December 5, 2009 at 00:13

    People who are too heavy to fit in one assigned seat will encorach on some ELSE’s comfort and safety. Therefore, they need to pay for the room they actually occupy.

    Just like smokers encroach on OTHER people’s comfort, well-being, and health. Therefore, smokers need to be restricted to places where they DO NOT encroach so much on everyone else around them.

    You don’t need outright bans most of the time. But you do need well-written regulations. The reasons are patently obvious. Too many people are way too self-centered, inconsiderate, AND irresponsible, so they cannot be trusted to do what is clearly the right thing.

  38. 45 claudine
    December 5, 2009 at 01:33

    Here in Singapore they want to increase military service time e.g. for fat people.

    I think it is good to wake up the world that fat is NOT what people should be.

    Also, when you check in your luggage then everyone has 20kg free.
    A fat person has how much free? 100kg? Because he or she is fat…
    How big are those seats and what size of a person can they take? Thats another issue.

    I would not let morbidly obese travel at all by air.

  39. 46 David
    December 5, 2009 at 08:57

    I think the airlines should charge people according to how much they earn or possess. For millionaires and multimillionaires, they should pay five to tem times what the poor should pay. How about that for a balance and comparison??

  40. 47 Craig
    December 5, 2009 at 09:52

    We have to check our hand baggage against a set size which says if it is too big, it will not fit overhead so has to be checked. Everyone agrees this is fair enough.

    Why not have an emergency exit sized hatch at check in, and anyone too fat to fit through without any delay or undue effort gets denied the right to board?

    This is primarily a safety issue after all.

    As for bigger seats, it’s called business class and is a lot more expensive than 2 tickets.

  41. December 5, 2009 at 11:08

    I think there should be a limit to what size a person wishing to travel by air should be. That, or pay for an extra seat. How a large person fits into one of the airlplane seats or toilets is beyond me. I don’t think it’s safe to travel when so over weight.

    Joan Anne Perth WA

  42. 49 helen hse
    December 5, 2009 at 20:20

    I do not think it is the airlines’ responsibility to make extraordinary-shaped passengers comfortable. Firstly, I have very long legs and if I want more leg room I have to pay more money for an upgrade. In addition to that, after I have paid for my ticket, the space belongs to me. Furthermore, I would be very angry if I could no longer afford to fly because each flight has fewer passengers due to seat width, I do not need. Finally, if a friend and I decide we are prepared to share a seat, there is no option to buy one ticket.

  43. 50 Aloe Toes
    December 6, 2009 at 19:07

    Assumptions are made that a person will fit within the space of a seat. If you technically don’t fit in the space of a seat, the you should either purchase two tickets, a first class ticket (with larger seat) or don’t fly. Airlines should modify their policies accordingly to make the policies legally binding.

    Airlines should make it so that people don’t pay for the right to fly. People pay for space and weight on the plane in seat-equivalents.

    Perhaps, they should have a rectangular pass through at the ticket counter (with measurements available online), similar to what they have for check on baggage. Then people would know, in advance of entering the plane, if their huge size has any extra expense associated.

  44. 51 jens
    December 6, 2009 at 20:24

    Ronald Almeida
    December 4, 2009 at 15:22
    I think its a great idea to charge people acording to their weights. It will solve a lot of problems. It may be the only way to get the west to pay for their over consumption in more ways than one

    I am 6’8″ (2 m) tall, proportionally build and weigh about 270 pounds. I am not obese and it is not my fault that I grew to the height I am. flying is already painfull enough sitting in chairs designed for average size people. you now ask me to pay more, because i weigh more than the average person? I will tell you that i will start a discriminatory lawsuit should this happen. i my guess is that I will win easily.

    stop discriminating against tall people. i am sick and tired of the “what is the air up their jokes”

    • 52 Aloe Toes
      December 7, 2009 at 01:55

      Jens, I’m 6’5″ myself (1.95m). and a healthy 200 lbs. I don’t really enjoy having my knees crammed in the small space of a seat, but I do it to fly… I also don’t appreciate that many shoe manufactures decide to stop production at a size below mine. Height is a genetic issue that we have to deal with.

      Being overweight is primarily not a genetic issue. Being American from the Midwest, I feel most people around here have a weight issue… Going to the grocery store, one will quickly realize the problem is more of a dietary choice issue than a genetic disadvantage.

      Sure, give the poor guy/gal with a real genetic issue (medically proven genetic obesity) a free extra seat if he has medical documentation to prove his issue is genetic. On the other hand, all those ladies and gents with the butts overflowing onto my cushion and the arms drooping over my armrest should start paying for the space… It’s bad enough that their poor choices drive up the costs of health care. I’d prefer not to be crushed by them on the airplane.

  45. 53 Momoh Magona Kallon
    December 7, 2009 at 00:40

    It could be agood idea for air lines to charge them extra or twice. However if the person is going to be charged twice for example. He or she should be entitled to two times his luggage and at the same time the airline must ensure that there are comfortable seats for them and that the plans toilets, doors and exits are much convinient for them because after all they are paying for it no matter what.

  46. 54 Dave
    December 7, 2009 at 13:51

    People who are obese should be seeing their doctor. Their doctor should peform the required tests to ascertain why – are they over eating, drinking the wrong things (diet coke, coke, lemonade….), or do they have a medical condition (Thyroid etc.).
    Then they should be treated.
    What they should NOT do is put other peoples lives in danger by using airlines (even if they do get on board they take 3 seats and then block the exits in an emergency), ships, buses (same reasons), even cars (how can someone that size sit, stear and control a car effectively).

    These people should exercise to help lose weight.

    They need help, but they shouldn’t be selfish enough to endanger others.

  47. 55 Vijay Pillai
    December 7, 2009 at 15:11

    Not just to fly b ut also to walk and do many other things done by normally less fat person. While walking the too much static and dynamic stresses may be coused to backbone and legs as well. Better advise to eat less fatty food, walk more and become slimmer and be ready to fly like normal people as well as reduce co2 emmission.
    wonder if the person in the photo that of a pregnant woman or fat man?.

  48. December 7, 2009 at 18:00

    Why not go the whole hog (pun intended!!) and pack them in the hold with the rest of the unwanted baggage, leaving the airplane free for the slim and beautiful people to enjoy in peace?

  49. 57 Thomas Murray
    December 7, 2009 at 20:48

    I have every sympathy for the overweight. (Those of you who’ve been to the States can attest about what HUGE portions our restaurants serve. In this climate some people just can’t help themselves but to over eat. I’m 55 but even I usually order the children’s meal.)

    But there’s something about the adipose that none of you’ve considered. In the event of cabin decompression, the obese are at high risk for decompression syndrome (the chokes) and fatal swelling of the lining of the brain (aeroembolism). Fat tissues are the first to fasten onto nitrogen molecules (gases always travel in pairs, and the brain is almost all fatty tissue), and fats are the last to let go, which is the reason for this form of the “bends.”

    So the overweight should also be aware of yet another risk to their health.

    –Loouisville, Kentucky, US.

    PS: I’d still love to participate in the phone-in part of the show. Alas, but I can’t yet afford a phone, and my shortwave’s still in the closet. Cheers anyhoo.

  50. 58 Judith
    December 8, 2009 at 11:58

    I think that extraordinary large passenger should pay for his weight and size. Firstly the airline has to introduce a measurement device for the passenger, so they can check if the passenger is suitable. In addition to that an overweight passenger has to change his ticket in a business ticket and has to pay the difference. Furthermore, if there are no free seats, they can not fly with that flight. Finally it’s just for other passengers, who pay the same price and don’t get the same space.

  51. 59 skinny_versus_fat
    December 8, 2009 at 12:04

    Firstly, I think being overweight is an illness and ill people don’t have to pay more just because they have a disease. In addition to that, I know that people with another kind of illness don’t have to pay more for seats. Finally, I must admit that I don’t really care about that because I am not fat.

  52. 60 PD
    December 8, 2009 at 15:07

    In my opinion people that really don’t fit into a standard eco-class seat, have to pay to pay for an extra seat or business class upgrade. Firstly, I have to say that it is very uncomfortable and annoying for passengers sitting next to an over-sized person. Furthermore, an aircraft with a lot of passengers has to have more gasoline in the tanks, so the gasoline costs for an airline is higher than with no fat passengers on board. In addition to that, the check-in staff of an airline have to decide if a person is too big for one seat. Finally, it is always healthy not to be fat, so stay healthy because it will also be cheaper to fly in the future.

  53. 61 braveskind
    December 8, 2009 at 15:18

    I think airlines should have three extra seats in every plane, that are bigger and are the same price. Firstly, it’s fair for all passengers, because overweight people are not guilty, it’s just their nature. In addition to that, thers shouldn’t be too many seats because the planes are not big and extra seats could make prices higher. Finally, if these places are free for a flight, other passengers can use them.

  54. 62 Hans Peter
    December 9, 2009 at 07:42

    In my opinion very fat passengers have to be allowed to travel first in the business class, and not in the economy class anymore. First of all, if I have a fat passenger sitting next to me in a flight (especially long-distance-flights) that’s very uncomfortable for me and disturbs me the whole time. In addition to that, normally fat people make very strange noises during their sleep, and I don’t really want to have somebody sleeping and making horrible noises during the flight. Finally, in a case of emergency it is more difficult to evacuate the aircraft if I have somebody fat sitting next to me,

  55. 63 Erika
    December 9, 2009 at 08:08

    I think overweight passengers have to pay for bigger seats. Firstly I have very long legs and if I want more room I have to pay more. Furthermore, BA offers bigger seats with the service from economy class for 100 or 200 euros more than the normal price. Finally, more weight is more cost for the airline (petrol) and why should passengers pay for that?

  56. 64 marusya
    December 9, 2009 at 08:14

    I think that extraordinarily big passengers should pay for more place because they can have more comfort. Finally, if these people need more places/seats, it could be that other people have less seats so the solution is the airlines put more seats for the big people and the big people pay for the comfort.

  57. 65 Sunflower
    December 9, 2009 at 14:43

    I think that large people have to pay a bigger price for a seat. Firstly, overweight people need more space than smaller people because the seats are very small. And when I need more space for me, I have to pay also more money.

  58. 66 enigma
    December 9, 2009 at 14:52

    I think extraordinarily large people should have special seats for a higher price. Firstly, it is not possible for the air company to rebuild the seats in the airplane or to make them larger. In addition to that, it would be too expensive to make this change. Furthermore, large seats mean less passengers that can use the flight. Finally, the aircompanies have to look at solutions for the large people but it could be possible if the large people pay more for the flight.

  59. 67 Jeanny
    December 9, 2009 at 14:58

    I think overweight people should pay a higher price for flight tickets. Firstly, they need more space in the plane because the seats are too small for them. In addition to that, less people have to pay for the whole flight. If the overweight people don’t pay a higher price, all the people on the flight must pay a higher price. Finally, in my opinion, each person have to pay for the space they need.

  60. 68 Antonia1981
    December 9, 2009 at 15:04

    I think extraordinarily large people/passengers should pay more than a usual passenger. Firstly, he/she needs more space. In addition to that, less people means less money, but a flight really costs money. It would be pretty unfair that everybody has to pay for the overweight of one person. Finally, if you don’t fit into a standard seat, you’ll have to pay for that extra space like a person with long legs.

  61. 69 John Savin
    December 12, 2009 at 16:03

    Wow, the cruel outnumbers the compassionate. Doesn’t give me confidence for the future. Be more friendly people and a bit more sensible.

    For instance, not much talk about skinny people. Do they get a discount on the seat price? Of course the aircraft builders save money by making a standard size seat which dimensions the ‘bean-counters’ would have carefully worked out

    For every kilo of payload you have to burn a certain amount of fuel to fly.
    Why not a total weight fare? I.e.Total weight of passenger and all of their luggage charged on a ‘per kilo’ basis.

    Fare, er fair enough?

    Fat people could reduce their fare by limiting their luggage and/or losing weight before a flight. Hmmm, could be motivational.

    Thin people have the advantage of being able to shove the rear axle of their truck into their carry-on and not be penalised.

    We don’t live in a ‘one size fits all’ world and if we did we’d all be the same and that would be so boring……”Like sand through the hourglass, these are the days of our ……….”


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