Should fatter people pay more?

Monsicha Hoonsuwan 21 January 2010 2 comments

American Airline Obese Man

Remember that American Airline story, when a picture of its overweight passenger with half of his body bulging out of his seat was snapped by a flight attendant?

Yes, there was much outrage going on about the picture. But you cannot deny that the picture speaks of one crucial, noteworthy problem: obese passengers.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against fat people. In fact, I’m one of them, although not to the point that my body fat hangs out of me like tutu. But I understand the difficulty of trying to lose weight. For those of you who are a part of those “success stories,” you still have to remember that there are people like me who are 1) earn very, very little income 2) have to fly and 3) cannot get rid of those extra pounds.

So what choice do people like this have, besides buying a single seat.

A poll at Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia’s homepage, asking for opinions on this issue, coincides with Air France’s announcement that it would charge obese passengers for an extra seat it doesn’t force obese passengers to buy a second seat, though it advises passengers to do so for their comfort. However, this extra seat would be 75% of the regular seat, which is the pre-tax-and-surcharges price. And if the plane is not full, the passengers will receive a full refund for that second seat.

Sounds like a good and fair deal to me. But the question isn’t about whether the deal is fair or not. It’s about whether or not this should become a regulation—that obese passengers buy a second seat. Should the second seat be forced onto every obese passenger who cannot fit into a single seat? Can’t they just make their own decisions?

A post from

Monsicha Hoonsuwan

Monsicha Hoonsuwan

Her actual nickname is Saimai—or Cotton Candy. But many call her Sam, an English name she picked after her favorite book character. And she has one goal: spread cultural understanding. It is her sole mission—the reason why she wants to be an ethnographic travel writer, investigating the influence of cultures and politics on humanity across the globe. And it is Sam's desire to be a courteous traveler, digging deep to the grassroots level to learn about different traditions without judging, or imposing her opinions on others. Currently, Sam is a student at Drake University, Iowa, USA, studying magazine journalism and international relations. But she's originally from Thailand. And it has become a part of her life to fly 15 hours back and forth between the U.S. and Thailand. She's also maintaining her own blog at to share with the world her thoughts on culture and travel. (Cultural differences between the U.S. and Thailand be the obvious example.) You can follow Sam on twitter @scaredzone or friend her on facebook. She welcomes all comments—and career advice!

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