adrian is rad


I’m glad to find out

Filed under: — adrian @ 9:09 pm

that I’m not above snooping around, poking and prodding presents and trying to find yet-unwrapped presents hidden to see what I’m getting. I hope I’m never too old to do that.

For discussion: obese people on airplanes

Filed under: — adrian @ 1:50 pm

On my flight from SFO to Las Vegas (where I stopped enroute to Pittsburgh), I was seated next to (well, practically underneath) a bulbously obese woman. Her arms overlapped approximately 1/3 into my 18″ wide seat. I was uncomfortable trying to sit all the way to the opposite side of the seat and trying to keep my arms cocked off-axis. More than once I was awakened by her moving her arms or shifting in her seat. I don’t think this is fair to me. I think I pay for the privilege to sit in a seat with my back firmly in the center of the seat and to be able to move my arms unobstructed within the confines of the seat.

I’m not bringing up this because I’m annoyed (though I am) or I have something against obese people (people can be fat or thin or whatever as long as it doesn’t affect me). It got me thinking though, what’s fair or permissible in regards to charging or seating obese people differently. I’ve made a list of ways that airlines differentiate people:

  • children are charged less for seats
  • unaccompanied minors are charged an extra fee
  • infants may ride for free as an infant-in-arms
  • people in wheel chairs are helped on an off the plane and are given priority storage space, but I didn’t find anything about priority seating, except in exit rows (Here is a set of rules for carriers with regard to disabled passengers)
  • smokers are told to go shove themselves, even on the longest flights
  • first and business class passengers pay more for the service and added space

Now, is there any way to differentiate people who are, say, over 24″ wide in their widest dimension? I see nothing in the disability literature about priority seating (if you are going to consider obesity a disease). I’m sure if you were seated next to a person without the use of his legs, you’d be incovenienced, because it’d be difficult to get passed him to the aisle. But then again, you probably wouldn’t be constantly uncomfortable.

I don’t think charging obese people more for a wider seat would go over well because the airlines would be sued under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) for sure.

On the other hand, effecting does allow differentiation, at least in the case of smokers. There is the added fact that second-hand smoke can be a health risk to those around the smokers, but I don’t know if the law requiring flights to be smoke-free was enacted after the second-hand smoking research was done or not. I’m betting it was enacted because a lot of people complained and it is socially acceptable to make laws against public smoking.

(A thought provoking thing I once heard: A guy was in a bar with some friends/ colleagues and started smoking (apparently not Boston or San Francisco or many other places, or it was a while ago) and they started to tell him that smoking was bad for him, etc etc. And he hypothesized that if he turned to a portly colleagues and started berating him in a similar manner because being fat is a health risk, it wouldn’t be as socially acceptable.)

Children are charged less for seat and they use less of a seat, but I believe that these two facts are not effect and cause (respectively).

Any thoughts on this? I haven’t come up with anything thing that I’m satisfied is fair to all parties involved.

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