Obese Flyers Will Pay More To Fly
Today, United Airlines broke from the ranks of major airlines who, until now, have accommodated obese air travel passengers without forcing them to buy two tickets. The new United Airlines policy goes into effect immediately and will require obese passengers to buy a second ticket or upgrade in class if they are unable to buckle their seat belt or put down the arm rests.
Some have said that such policies have been a long time in coming, while others will feel the policy is discriminatory. What do you think?
With airlines under financial strain, it is logical that they would look at every avenue for improving revenue. Air cargo is generally a service sold on a “per-weight” basis, but passenger travel has historically been sold as one ticket per person. In the age of such disparate weights between people, and costly air fuel, does that still make sense? Should airlines simply sell air travel on a “per-pound” basis? Perhaps that would be less arbitrary than the criteria that United has now established – and one envisions flight attendants attempting to force down arm rests and slide in buckles while embarrassed travelers “suck it in”. Difficult to know if that is better than having us all weigh in like cattle before we board the plane to determine our airfare.
What is lost in this debate about travelers rights and airlines profitability is the health of the overweight and obese individuals. I am a strenuous advocate for obese people having rights to health care, medical treatment and every social service and amenity. I particularly feel that obese children deserve a powerful societal response to help them get back on track to a healthier weight and a healthier life.
The indisputable fact is that if you are unable to meet the United criteria for flying with a single ticket, you are living at a very unhealthy weight. As a doctor and an advocate for you, I urge you to take this news as a clarion call to action to change your life. If you are not already feeling the effects of all that extra weight, you will be. It is a matter of time before breathing difficulties, diabetes, and degenerative arthritis conditions steal your quality of life and shorten your life expectancy.
Is this new policy fair? Will other airlines follow with similar policies? Are there any limits to the accommodations airlines and non-obese travelers must make to accommodate obese travelers?
Leave us your thoughts. But more importantly, if this policy affects you personally or someone you love, take action to change your health today. You and your loved ones will be happier, healthier, and better for it.