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September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
COMMENT: Air Canada's policy of charging obese people extra for a second seat has been upheld by the Canadian Transportation Agency. In these politically correct times you cannot even call them fat passengers. Which brings us neatly to the case last week where Virgin Atlantic Airways paid ”13,000 compensation to a lady who claimed damages from the airline when an oversized woman sitting next to her spilled over into her seat. U.S. no-frills carrier Southwest Airlines Co earlier this year angered lobby group the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, with its decision to require passengers too large to fit into one seat to purchase tickets for two seats.
Virgin responded thus: "At the end of the day if a passenger needs two seats then they need two seats and we haven't got any choice but to charge them for that and we think our other passengers would rather we did." What was particularly sad with this case was that the offending party's name was not made public, although the wounded party had her details spread across the world's press. Not only that but the husband of the fat lady sat behind her on the whole journey. Why on earth did not the Virgin staff put the couple together? For an airline that normally cares about its customers this seems to be a poor response.
The Virgin payment could open up a can of worms with regard to claims and counter claims. More space means less passengers and higher costs. Sumo wrestlers pay for two seats and there was the case of the famous violinist t who always travelled with his very expensive Stradivarius occupying its own equally expensive seat. And what about someone whose size is dictated by a medical condition? However at the end of the day it is a question of safety and our democratic society. Smoking was banned on aircraft because at first it could be considered a fire risk and danger, and secondly it affected people who did not wish to inhale the fog. The same goes for the large traveller. If they can't fit in a seat they are a risk to themselves and to others. Spreading into a neighbour's sitting area can hardly be considered democratic. Buy two seats.