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Thursday, April 16, 2009

“Passengers Requiring Extra Space”

Under the politically-correct heading “Passengers Requiring Extra Space”, United Airlines announced they would charge (in certain circumstances) obese passengers travelling in economy class for an extra seat.

About time. I’ve always wondered why I needed to squeeze myself in my already-small seat because of a particularly fat person sitting next to me. Or why the airline would charge me for an extra 10KG in my baggage when the person who checked in before me was at least 50KG heavier than me.

To make this fair, there needs to be a mechanism that allows for people who are obese for reasons beyond their control (e.g. illness) to be exempt from paying the extra fare. But for the vast majority of those who are obese because of their own poor judgement and lack of self-control, I say: about time!


Anonymous said...

Forgive me for quoting you from a recent post: "one is left to wonder about the stereotyped world we live in".

Unfortunately, another unfortunate stereotype is the harsh judgement of obese people...."the vast majority" as you put it,"because of their own poor judgement and lack of self-control". It is known today that 50% of the tendency to obesity is a genetic predisposition to over-eating for a number of complex reasons. The social stigma of fatness coupled with the failure of all dieting strategies ( save bariatric surgery) to accomplish long term weight loss, makes the life of the obese difficult enough.
Punishing the fat is unfair. We should be more tolerant and yet at the same time try and prevent the next generation from getting so fat.

Sharvul said...

Anonyoums, you are forgiven.

Allow me to quote from Wikipedia (the source of all human knowledge): "At an individual level, a combination of excessive caloric intake, lack of physical activity, and genetic susceptibility is thought to explain most cases of obesity, with a limited number of cases due solely to genetics, medical reasons, or psychiatric illness".

I don't know where you get the 50% figure from. Again, Wikipedia: "The percentage of obesity that can be attributed to genetics varies from 6% to 85% depending on the population examined". In other words, we have no clue obesity is genetic.

But even if obesity is a genetic disposition, then unlike other genetic diseases, this one can be cured relatively easily: by not eating too much...

The world is not a fair place. I can give you several examples where people are punished for who they are or where they come from, things they cannot change. At least most obese people can change.