400 pound people should pay for two seats

I was in the hospital the other day, ironically tending to the the medical care of a young, morbidly obese patient, when I had to stop to listen to the illogical whining of a young woman on the patient’s TV. She was being interviewed about a recent shaming experience inflicted upon her by one of the airlines. She had apparently been told she had to pay for two seats, because her 400 pound frame would spill over the 17 inch wide airplane seat into the next passenger’s seat. She felt publicly humiliated.

She told the interviewer she had been trying really hard to lose weight. (What’s the relevance? She’s still 400 pounds.) She said she had actually succeeded in losing 80 pounds. (That’s good, but she doesn’t get a prize of a free airplane ticket for that.) She cried “discrimination.” She claimed she was being “singled out.” (She’s unfortunately very wrong about that. The majority of Americans are overweight/obese. Airlines have had to make policy about this issue. It applies to all such individuals.) She actually said that the airline industry has a responsibility to provide wider seats to accommodate her wider body. (She apparently doesn’t realize that it costs money to lift weight off the ground and move it from here to there.) And I learned that there is actually a lobby group in Washington that argues for “obesity rights.” (One has the right to be obese, but don’t expect me to pay for it!)

Maybe it’s too much to expect the average person to know the concept of an airplane’s payload. Nah, I think it’s common knowledge. I think some people are just deluding themselves, are in denial, or just simply want someone else to take care of them. The simple concept is that an airline company is in the business of carrying loads, ie people and their baggage, from one place to another. There is a direct cost to the company for every pound that is carried. It has every right to dictate what and how it charges for that service. It competes in an open market with other airline compaines, the American way of encouraging creativity, good service and value. And we the people have a right to either buy their service or not.

I did a quick google search on this topic before writing this post, and I came upon an interesting article in the Washington Post from November, 2004. This issue has been simmering for a long time.

I know there are people who have a lot of difficulty with being overweight/obese, and that they suffer in many ways. I am often (not always) sympathetic. There are people I know and love who are overweight/obese. But it is not right for them to expect and demand that others pay for their troubles.

We are responsible for our words and actions, and for our very selves. Here in NC, the land of the free and the home of the brave, our state government has decided that people who smoke and people who are obese, since they cost the healthcare system much more than non-smokers and the non-obese, should pay more for their health insurance. They can dictate that for state workers. They are sending a message. Obese people have to carry their own weight.

14 thoughts on “400 pound people should pay for two seats”

  1. Ferd, I have to agree with you on this subject. Being overweight is a huge health issue and I know how hard it is to loose weight. Same thing with smoking.Getting healthy can be done. I know because that is what I am doing.

    Thank you so much for following my blog.
    Hope you and Gail are having a great weekend.

    1. Thank you, too, Pam, for visiting my blog! 🙂
      It reminds me I’ve been meaning to add you to my blogroll. I’ll go do that right now.

  2. Well written and of course I’m not surprised you did your homework. I just filled out the “I do not smoke” promise and the body mass index papers as well. At first I thought it was odd to do so…but maybe it will help people realize how much their issues affect all of us. I feel for people who are overweight and are addicted to cigarettes. It is a hard thing to deal with. But it is not an impossible challenge.

    I agree with all you’ve written here.

    1. I was going to say “teachers and state workers” but I didn’t want to be redundant.

      I didn’t know how that worked. Thanks for filling us in. So, as a teacher, you have to fill out an “I do not smoke” form, and another that asks your BMI. Is it on the honor system, or do they look for confirmation from your physician?

      Gail and I were talking about this in relation to the airline thing. The reason this obese person felt singled out is that she had already bought her ticket, and didn’t know she was going to be approached about paying for two seats until she showed up at the gate and they laid eyes on her. It would have been better had they asked her weight at the time she purchased the ticket.

  3. I agree and I certainly don’t want to sit next to a 400 pound person when I fly. I won’t get my part of my own seat that I paid for. I so agree with you on this. I need to lose 20 pounds, and I work on that pretty much all the time. I’m the one who shoves food in my mouth. Not anyone else. It’s called being responsible and it seems that doesn’t happen much anymore. The other thing? We are such a sue happy society. Everyone looking for a buck.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug to you and Princess Gail. 🙂

    1. It really is an intrusion having a severely obese person sitting in a cramped space next to you, invading your personal space. And like you said, we pay a lot of money for our little space and rightfully expect to get what we pay for.

      Big hug back to you and Z! 🙂

  4. I’ve always felt the same way about this issue, Ferd. I’d never looked at the airline payload aspect of it before though. Thanks for the education. It makes perfect sense.

  5. I hate to say it because it makes me feel bad, but I agree. If you’re taking up two seats on a plane you should pay for two seats, regardless of why you take up two seats.

    1. As a society we are getting heavier, and there will be some definite adjustments. Paying for two seats is actually not as big an issue as other weight related issues. I read somewhere that the current generation of children will be the first generation in all history to not live as long as their parents. That’s because of the health problems that go along with being overweight/obese. I hope as a society, we are able to gradually turn it around.

      BTW, I didn’t mean to make anyone feel bad, except for that person who was whining about this on TV.

      Thanks for stopping by, Sharyn!

  6. So glad to hear it outloud. If you are overweight, it does NOT give you more rights. You were not born obese. It isn’t like you have a physical handicap. You weren’t innocently hit by someone while driving and came out of the accident obese. Don’t expect a free ride… pun intended.

  7. You all should be ashamed of yourselves….some people actually cant help it! do you think they want to be 400lbs!!!! do you honestly think they chose to be!!!! its a sickness!!!!! you all put yourselves in their shoes…..i guarantee you wouldn’t last a day…..god bless you all (your gonna need it)

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