Airline Seating Policy for Obese Travelers
Are there legitimate discriminatory practices against obesity? I have argued for quite some time obesity is a disease and deserves to be treated as one. This means, we must, as a healthcare community, marshal all of our resources to find cures, solutions and preventions, vaccines if you will. We must treat obesity just like we treat cancer and heart disease because it is just as deadly. And worse, it starts young and affects are children, derails them from life’s possibilities. So this disease deserves our very best efforts. In fact, our society and our future depend upon it. People with this disease deserve fair treatment and consideration without discrimination just like people with any disease deserve such consideration. But where are the boundaries of such consideration? What about diseases that involve behavioral components such as smoking; might they be treated somewhat differently in some ways? To what extent is obesity a self inflicted disease and to what extent does personal responsibility play a role when it comes to how society and businesses treat people with obesity?
All challenging questions raised by one obese person who could not fit in an airline seat. Should that person buy two tickets? If the cost of fuel is calculated per pound of cargo, should airlines charge passengers by the pound? Should we each stand on the scale with all of our luggage and pay a price per pound to travel by air? That is essentially how we ship Christmas presents. At the end of the day, with respect to obesity and people with obesity, what is ethical treatment?