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Obese Air Travelers in Canada Have Right to Free Seat

As a tall woman, I am relieved when the seat next to me on a flight ends up empty, since the space I paid for is painfully too small. As of today, obese people flying Canadian airlines officially have a right to that extra seat, at no extra cost.

The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear airline objections to the Canadian Transportation Agency's regulation that states that people "functionally disabled by obesity" do not have to pay for an extra seat.

Earlier this year the agency implemented the nondiscrimination "one-person-one-fare" policy because those with severe disabilities had limited traveling opportunities due to the doubled price of travel. Do you think the decision is a blow against discrimination, or the beginning of a slippery slope for troubled airlines?


bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
curve too
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Maybe it's the French Canadian women who are throwing off the curb
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Maybe it's the French Candian women who are throwing off the percentage???? :)
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
ditto Jude C. I looked up the following online for curiosity-sake and what constitutes as average: Obesity: is having a BMI of 30+ Overweight: is having a BMI of 25-30 US: average height & weight of males - 176cm, 87kg, calculated BMI from these numbers - 28 average hieght & weight of females - 163cm, 76kg, calculated BMI from these numbers - 29 Men: 41.4% are overweight, with 19.6% obese Women: 24.3% are overweight, with 20.0% obese CANADA: average height of males - 174cm, 83kg, calculated BMI from these numbers - 27 average height of females - 161cm, 69kg, calculated BMI from these numbers - 27 Men: 40.9% are overweight, with 17.8% obese Women: 24.9% are overweight, with 11.9% obese I think the woman in the photo constitutes as obese by these standards, it also seems that the average north american is overweight (but we already knew that). It seems the majority of north american men are overweight (only 40% of the population is normal weight), as are American women (48.8% of the population is normal weight), but the majority of Canadian women are of normal weight (57.3%). I wonder what causes the difference for women, if men of both countries boast almost identical statistics??
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
If I was her and I recognized myself by the outfit or something though, I'd be so embarrassed to have my image used like that.
Meike Meike 8 years
No, Jude. Her face isn't being shown so her anonymity is safe, no permission needed.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I was just thinking that Jude. I doubt it does much for their (possibly already low) self-image to see their pictures included in a story like that.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
On a side note, I feel really bad for the people whose photos end up being used as stock photos illustrating obesity stories. I feel the same way about all the footage of fat people that CNN and the like use during their "AMERICA: FAT, FATTER, OR FATTEST???"-type stories. People have to give permission for their images to be used as stock photography like this, right?
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
And it doesn't take much effort to find the airlines requirements. It took me all of 2 minutes to locate their "Customers of Size" section online.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Fallen, I work for a clinic and that person in the picture isnt average sized. they are obese.
kranky kranky 8 years
Good point. Agreed, Jude.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I think the only standard we should be concerned about on airplanes is whether the armrests can be put down--if not, then the passenger is obese by the airline standard.
kranky kranky 8 years
"As for the obese people, the woman (or man.. i think it's a woman) in the picture would not qualify as she is (by american standards) almost average." Ummm... no? Whatever gave you that impression? I understand that Americans are fat than your average human, but I do not know of one single American would would call this woman 'average.' (Sorry lady in the photo.)
Fallen85 Fallen85 8 years
This was mandated for people who are legally recognized as handicapped due to their size or their mental capacity. Most mentally handicapped people need an extra seat for the person who travels with them and takes care of them. Yes there will be two people on the flight but one is only there because the other literally cannot fly without them. I think the airlines can absorb that cost no problem. As for the obese people, the woman (or man.. i think it's a woman) in the picture would not qualify as she is (by american standards) almost average. They are referring to people who are recognized by the law as handicapped by their weight. So not just random people can go up tell the ticket booth that they're kinda fat and require an extra seat. You have to be recognized with the proper documentation of your size and insist that a second seat is needed to ensure their comfort and the comfort of the other passengers. I think this makes sense, some people have major genetic diseases or thyroid issues or many other issues that prevent them for maintaining a healthy weight. It's about time the government stepped in and helped out the helpless.. and i dont mean just fat people, i mean the handicapped. I am Canadian, btw.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
"when i used to fly to london, and i would check in at the gate for my seat assignment, i've had a person or 2 say 'since you're so small, let me put you in the middle seat, and i've found myself next to some larger passengers." I never thought about it like that before, but maybe that's why that ALWAYS happens to me on planes???
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
New scenrio: What is someone is offered/given a free extra seat, and get offended because it is implied that they are overweight and then sues for discrimination?
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
"like a win-win situation to me. If it makes a heavier person more comfortable - why not? If it makes me more comfortable sitting next to them - great! " How long is it going to be win win with this economic crisis and airline tickets already being overprices how are airlines going to make back there loses, because they will lose money....and eventually no matter what size you are the consumer is going to pay.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i think that this is something that will be debated for ages. for myself..i'm a thin person so i don't take up a lot of space, but i find that a lot of the time, i have my space taken over by the person next to me, even if it's not someone who's obese or over the average size. there's just not enough space on planes. i think that for some people, it's hard for them financially to pay for the 2 seats, so in that instance it's nice but i think that perhaps there should be something done about the whole situation in general. when i used to fly to london, and i would check in at the gate for my seat assignment, i've had a person or 2 say 'since you're so small, let me put you in the middle seat, and i've found myself next to some larger passengers. it's not fair to me to sit like that, but that's what they did so that they don't have to deal with charging someone for 2 seats when they can't afford them. put me in the middle and call it a day.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
"Nobody WANTS to be obese." I agree with that and if there isn't any pre exisiting medical conditions then what is stopping that obese person from no longer being obese then if nobody WANTS to be obese? Seriously it's time for some personal responsbility.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Everyone that is obese isn't due to a medical condition i.e. some type of thiroid condition etc. Some people are obese because they may intake more than the burn off. I think they should have to pay for the additonal seat they may need and it should be up to the indivudual and not the airline to make that decision. And by letting someone have and additonal seat for free, that impacts all flyers, the airlines have to make up for this loss in some way shape or form, and I shouldn't have to pay for it.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
That might be a bigger problem GS...I'm not sure Dude would abide.
foxie foxie 8 years
I'm mostly just worried that airlines will increase their prices even more just to compensate for their 'fat seat' losses.
geebers geebers 8 years
I don't know- I don't consider being obese a disability and I think airlines will lose money if they do this- probably raising the cost of tickets for everyone involved. On the other hand, the passenger next to the obese person suffers I can see this both ways. Maybe they can pay half for an extra seat instead of it being free?
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
double denim... bad!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I think that all True Song is saying is that it makes sense to keep stuff that you know you'll need during your flight close by. Especially if I'm in the window seat I am mindful of that because it's a pain in the ass for all parties if someone keeps getting up and down. Obviously there are circumstances (such as partial walls) that make this impossible sometimes.
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