The Voice of the Underdog®
Weighing The Options: Are You Too Fat To Fly United?We buy meat by the pound, fruit and veggies by the pound. Even nuts by the pound. Now, it looks like we may soon be buying airline seats by the pound.This week, United Airlines announced that overweight passengers who are unable to fit in a single seat, unable to connect the lap belt, or unable to fully put down the armrest between their seat and the one next to them, will politely be deemed “toofat to fly.” In that case, flight attendants will try to find two empty seats. If they can, the portly passenger can move there for no extra charge. If they can’t find two seats together, the passenger may be forced to purchase a second seat, pay to be upgraded, or switch flights all together.
The question now – is the policy discriminatory or just smart marketing? The answer may be a little of both. Whether on a flight, at a sporting event, or at the movies, we’veall had that experience next to someone who took up more than their fare share of space. But now, like Southwest Airlines before them, United is putting their passengers and their bottom line first. If obese passengers decide to fly an airline other than United, that benefits the passengers tired of getting squeezed. And since heavier passengers require more energy to transport, the airline will save on jet fuel as well.
For now, we can all sit back and wait to see what happens. Who knows? Maybe United will inspire a health revolution among fliers. While we’re waiting, somebody hand me that $14 chocolate chunk cookie from first class.
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