Sunday, April 26, 2009

United Airlines: Hey Fatty Pay Up

image Yes, I know I am a little late to this one.   As I am sure most of you are already aware, United Airlines has instituted a police wherein if someone hangs over their seat or are unable to close the seatbelt with an extension they will be bumped from the flight if they do not immediately pay for a second seat.  

I know that all industries are suffering during this recession depression however, exploiting someone for gain is not the way to increase profits.   Why did they specifically choose fat people?  What about tall people?  There are plenty of people who would not be considered fat but are so large due to musculature, that they would be in the same situation.  United Airlines picked on fat people because it is easy to do in a society that regularly fat shames. 

This kind of policy has been tried in Canada and soundly rejected. 

The high court declined to hear an appeal by Canadian airlines of a decision by the Canadian Transportation Agency that people who are "functionally disabled by obesity" deserve to have two seats for one fare.

The airlines had lost an appeal at the Federal Court of Appeal in May and had sought to launch a fresh appeal at the Supreme Court. The court's decision not to hear a new appeal means the one-person-one-fare policy stands.

Airlines should not be able to profit because they squeeze people in like sardines to increase their bottom line.  Rebecca Puhl, of Yale University, stated that, “Between 1960 and 2002, the average American male has gained 25 pounds. The average woman added 24 pounds. Yet, sizes of seats on planes have basically have remained the same.”  Clearly if the size of the so-called average American has increased that dramatically, flying coach is an uncomfortable position for many.  

United Airline defended their policy by making the following statement:

"[It] was created for the comfort and well-being of all our guests on board,m and is in response to the 700 complaints received last year from customers who did not have a comfortable flight because the person next to them infringed on their seat."

image So here is my question; the next time I am on a plane and the person next to me smells like soap is a foreign concept to them or their breathe is reminiscent of a recent death, are they going to be charged for making my flight uncomfortable?  Sitting next to someone who has BO or halitosis for hours is far from a pleasant situation and yet that is not considered offensive enough to warrant some form of penalty, nope that is reserved for the fatties.  What about if I am stuck next to an avid nose picker or someone who has issues with flatulence?  Nope again, penalties are reserved for the fatties. The bottom line is that United is looking to increase its profits anyway possible and it has chosen to pick on a section of society at which shame and hatred is regularly aimed at, in the hopes that it will escape notice how discriminatory their practice is.


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