Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Fat Tax ...

... we've all been there. You get on the airplane, and the person that is seated in the seat assigned next to you is already halfway into your seat. And the flight is going to be 6 hours. Great.

However, it appears that some airlines have been going out of their way to make things more comfortable for the little people. Pun intended. Air France for one... has made its move. It will be charging passengers over a certain weight for a second seat at 75% of the cost for the first seat. The passenger will then accommodated by linking the two seat belts across the two seats to form one seat belt for the larger passenger. And Air France is quick to point out that this will only be done for fully booked flights, overweight passengers will be refunded the second chair price for flights that happen to miraculously have a spare seat on them.

Now I know this may be unfair for certain passengers. Say you're just extremely tall. 6'8" and 300lbs. By no means are you unhealthy, however, you probably do not fit in the seat for a variety of reasons. I mean there's no way your legs will fit in the extremely small space provided. Are they going to charge you for an extra chair? Maybe the one in front of you? Perhaps they can remove it and charge you for extra space for your legs?

I believe that all airline seating should be redone, with human beings in mind, instead of 8 year olds. However, until that is done, I would say that I am probably in favor of the fat tax. I have been smushed all the way into a third of my seat flying home from Europe. And it was one of the most horrible experience of my life. When the guy got up to use the bathroom the girl on the aisle seat, who was practically sitting in the aisle begged the stewardess to move us... alas, it was a full flight.

Southwest, however, in true Southwest form, appears to have gone overboard. It appears Kevin Smith, creator of all things Jay & Silent Bob, was forced to leave a Southwest flight. Smith was told that he must be able to fasten his seatbelt and lower his armrests in order to remain on the flight... after doing both of these, and asking the passengers around him whether they objected to his presence... and receiving negatives from everyone, he was STILL ejected from the flight. I think this is kind of ludicrous. From the photos I have seen of Smith, he is not the passenger I would object to, in fact, I think he is significantly smaller than most of the folks I object to. Smith has been accused of a publicity stunt to promote his new movie... but I don't think so. For one, Bruce Willis stars in it, and for two, Southwest is good at hating: both slutty dressers and moms. And third, do you really want to be called fat by the entire nation just to promote a movie?

Smith has also been criticized for not flying first class or in a private jet. And I agree with him... yeah he has money, but he's not going to hold on to lots of money if he pisses it away on things he feels he doesn't need. He's also been criticized because he has bought second seats on Southwest in the past, and had done so for this flight, but had changed his flight schedule to go home earlier. Just because a man buys a second seat in a flight for comfort reasons, does not mean he should be FORCED to on all occasions. If I ever have boatloads of money, you can bet I'm buying a second seat on all of my flights, because I don't like strangers touching me. Hell, I'd probably shell out for the private jet.

And Southwest's one concession after throwing Smith out of a chair that he fit into, with no complaints from his fellow passenger, was to offer him a $100 voucher. Which I'm pretty sure did not even cover his flight.

But I think the best point Smith made was in his twitter account, where he asks if Southwest treats its STAFF the same.


  1. being 6 ft. tall, i would love to see airline seats redesigned for real people. that's why i take the Amtak Acela instead of flying in the northeast (Boston - NYC - DC). The train has more legroom and you can walk around at any time. And you can keep your shoes on before boarding!

  2. interesting! comfort of passengers/clients/customers should always be the priority.


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