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20 November 2008

Largess ... or Large-Ass?


That's the rule in Canada after an appeals court declined to hear, and therefore let stand, a lower court ruling that forbid three Canadian airlines to charge obese persons for 2 separate seats.

In today's economic climate especially, how fortunate for those obese folks to be given such a generous gift as a second first class seat to go with their current one. One wonders, do they get a second meal too?

You heard it here before folks and it bears repeating: By giving everyone rights, pretty soon none of us have any rights.

In the United States, some airlines have a policy that looks something like this: “customers who are unable to lower the armrests (the definitive boundary between seats) and/or who compromise any portion of adjacent seating should proactively book the number of seats needed.” Hear that? That's the sound of a sensible policy knockin' at the door, ay.

Anyone who has done a fair amount of business travel as I have has likely been on the receiving end of the choices of many ill-equipped air travellers such as over sized carry-on bags, spilled drinks, smelly feet and yes, Dunlap Disease. That is where their body Dun-laps over the arm rest. What about the other passenger's rights to fly in comfort, have available seats and have an able bodied passenger stationed in the emergency exit row? What concessions should we expect?

How many milliseconds will it be before a slightly built person claims claustrophobia, or odor sensitivity, or a chest cold, or a racial bias against their neighboring passenger and thereby enacts the "one-person-one-fare policy" as a reason to be granted another seat? Bets anyone?

Was this the right choice, or have we just given up and started caving in to anybody with a claim of disparity and inconvenience? Have all incentives for one to achieve rank and privilege been obliterated by the constant desire to please all people all the time?

Team, make no mistake, this is a common sense issue not an obesity issue. The largest of the three airlines, Air Canada, could only show a financial burden worth about 1% of their revenue in order to implement the new policy. Doesn't sound like much? Well, try $82 million dollars worth of additional expense in order to implement this policy and subsidize the extra seats. Okay now, take a guess who is going to pay that $82,000,000 to insure the big fella in seat 4B (and 4A) has 2 seats? Right again...YOU and ME.

Yep, our largess is going to have to pay for their large ass.

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