Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Quick Hits: Obese Passengers Get Free Ride


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

If you're more than a little thick between the pockets, the Canadian Supreme Court says you're entitled to two airline seats for the price of one.

Other travelers will just have to pick up the bill.

Air Canada and WestJet, Canada's two largest airlines, must give morbidly obese passengers an extra seat at no charge on domestic flights starting in January. The ruling also covers disabled travelers.

Possible trouble ahead: How do airlines decide when obesity is a disability?

The Canadian Transportation Agency suggests the new rule should kick in when a passenger is too fat to lower the armrest. In the US, some airlines have already adopted this practice. But is the standard too fat without a coat or security blanket or does it include bulky clothing?

The decision will cost Air Canada an estimated $7.1 million a year and cost WestJet an extra $1.5 million – and that's more money out of the pockets of passengers who manage to squeeze into a single seat.

The ruling raises basic questions. Few would argue that airlines should accommodate passengers with disabilities, but most morbidly obese people are fat simply because they eat too much and exercise too little. Why should everyone else pay for their gluttony and sloth?

And why stop at obesity? Surely those with a morbid fear of flying must be accommodated, especially if they have to be in a distant city tomorrow. Perhaps a taxi and police escort with lights and sirens are in order.

You can bet that the court's decision will be twisted to cover situations the justices never intended to be covered. It's not difficult to imagine a passenger with a history of blood clots demanding a first class seat at the price of coach price so he can stretch out and avoid a life-threatening deep vein thrombosis.

Forget about personal responsibility because that's an increasingly hard argument to make in view of the bailouts of the financial sector and the pending bailout of the auto industry – just dig deeper into your pocket and pay up for what others see as a good cause.
< Previous
  • 1
Next >
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Videos