• Should Obese People Have to Pay More to Fly?

    May 19, 2011 1:48 am 20 comments
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  • As the prominence of oil prices and obesity rise in America, should airlines be allowed to charge portly passengers more money to offset the cost.

    As the number of Americans who identify as obese/overweight sharply increases, we are faced with a crucial question:  should obese people have to pay more to fly?

    Obesity is a new major player in the destruction of our society.  People who are morbidly fat represent a work risk to the work place due to their poor health and sporadic medical needs.  Obesity increases the risk of heart disease and COPD and can reduce the quality of life of any person.

    These health risks correspond to strain for insurance companies who are burdened by the constant medical needs of obese people.  While some fatness is caused by genetics, there is a big portion of the issue that comes from sloven lifetyles of fast food and sedentary habits.

    Kenlie Tiggeman

    Today’s question was raised after Southwest Airlines asked the woman above, Kenlie Tiggeman, to pay for four tickets instead of two.  The airline contended that due to her and her mother’s impressive size, they should have to pay double the price.

    Southwest has been recently hit with controversy, after their plane fell apart in midflight so it is reasonable that Southwest officials want to ensure their planes are not enduring undue stress.  Lugging around two 400 pound passengers is sure to create extra strain on the plane’s already bogged down frame.

    Tiggeman contends the gesture by Southwest was “rude” but how rude is it to seat hog?  Is it fair to other passengers to endure smushing due to the size of their sloppy neighbors?

    Airlines are well-known for trying to find new ways to pass off cost and increase revenue at the expense of the consumer.  While fliers are not very happy about increased cost for luggage and in-flight meals, the question must be asked if airlines should have to pay for extra work due to passengers who are causing the plane to suffer extra work.

    Work is what everything comes down to in this case.

    W = \Delta E_k = E_{k_2} - E_{k_1} = \tfrac12 m (v_2^2 - v_1^2) \,\!

    Speaking from the perspective of physics, it’s not fair to the fit passengers or corporate executives to just let fat people have free reign upon an airplane.

    Even if a person is not fully taking two full seats, their massive size oft weighs in at more than one or two more parcels of luggage.  Should the 120 pounds, muscular and Malibu tanned collegiate sorority girl in her cute Delta Delta Delta pullover and hot shorts be forced to pay the same as the Wisconsin mud stomping cow hoofed beast truding her carry on bag of Cheezits, tipping the scale at over 300 pounds?

    It is this type of question that should upset fliers.  If we’re going to be charged an extra 50 dollars per standard suitcase, fat people should be charged money for being fat.  They are carrying plenty of additional luggage and if they want to pay lower prices, they should get to bring no luggage, have to fit comfortably for their neighbors in a seat or just go exercise and stay in shape.

    Enforcing such rules will cause a reduction in flight costs for all people.  You are being charged more for flights these days because you are offsetting the cost of fat people who cry when they are called out for their morbid offense to our eyes.

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    About The Author
    Derek Van Buren

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