Several airlines have announced that they'll start charging passengers who are angularly challenged for two seats if the passenger is too large to fasten the seat belt. [Disclaimer from the editor: The author has several close friends who are angularly challenged and hopes that after posting this blog she will continue to have said friends.]
Quite honestly, it's been a long time coming. But the airlines have it all wrong. Most people know that the more weight you're carrying, the more fuel it takes, whether you're in a car, on a plane, or just expending your own calories to walk up the stairs. During the recent soaring prices for oil, it became much too expensive to haul around extra weight. The AAA suggested that people remove all that junk from their cars to lighten the load and reduce the need for gas. Airlines began charging for any checked baggage. Anything over fifty pounds incurred an additional fee.
But that was just checked luggage. On a recent flight, I checked my bag because I didn't want to have to lift it into the overhead compartment due to my back injury. I paid the extra cost for the convenience even though the bag was carry-on size and low in weight. Yet the man seated next to me brought on his carry-on suitcase and his computer bag, one of which was stuffed with much more than I carried in my suitcase and purse combined. Then he fought to lower himself between the armrests and fasten the seat belt around his girth. He would have been the perfect candidate for the two-seat rule.
I realized that I am subsidizing his weight because the airline offsets the cost of the extra fuel needed for flights carrying more weight by charging more for their tickets all around. If I were the Empress of the World, airlines would have people stand on those big scales at the ticket counter with all their luggage. The airfare would be based on the person's and their luggage's total weight. No more need to charge extra for a second seat if the person couldn't fasten the seat belt.
Airlines could be more honest with customers about the cost of flying. People would realize their environmental impact of using more fuel to fly the planes. People wouldn't sneak all the heavy purchases into their carry-on luggage so as to not have to pay the premium for overweight checked bags. Maybe then the airlines could afford to give us real food rather than a bagel and cream cheese and call it dinner.
19 hours ago