After returning home from overseas recently, I raised this idea with a group of friends. They nodded in furious agreement. They were sick of having to subsidise the bad lifestyle choices of so many obese people. While some obesity may be caused by medical conditions or genetic makeup, most is caused by the simple equation of too much food and too little exercise. It’s bad enough that obesity is causing a blowout of costs within our health system. “Why should we also have to subsidise the poor lifestyle choices of the obese when we fly?” asked my friends. I agreed.more
Then something interesting happened. A couple of friends said this: “But, of course, you can’t write about ‘fat’ people. It’s too judgmental.” At least, suggested one friend, call then “tubby custards” instead of using the “f” word.
Surely, I wondered aloud, making rational judgements was not a bad thing for a society? Perhaps there would be fewer tubby custards and therefore less strain on our health system if we were more willing as a society to make judgements about patently bad lifestyle choices like overeating.
Similarly, the fear of hurting someone’s feelings about their self-inflicted weight problem should give way to some rational thought when it comes to flying. As airlines the world over have been getting tougher on imposing baggage weight limits and charging mightily for excess luggage, it makes sense they start taking a closer look at their passengers.
She has a point. But where do you draw the line at what is going to attract a higher charge? What weight will be the limit? What about someone who is just naturally large?
What about someone who is thin? Will they be able to pay less?
Will we not be able to buy our tickets on-line any more because we must be weighed before we travel?
Will we have to arrive at the airport four hours before the flight for safety and chubby checks?
If airlines were to charge more for fat people then, in all fairness, they should reduce the charge for slim people. You will no longer have to pay full price for a child over, what is it now, twelve? And full child fare for a toddler in a seat?
I don't think it will happen.
I travelled on a bus from Melbourne to Sydney and had the aisle seat. The passenger beside me was sleeping like a baby, very comfortably with her feet stretched out on my side and her head resting on my shoulder. Great. I'd rather fly, a shorter time of discomfort. She wasn't fat, just very tall (at least 6 feet).
Oh, and the last thing someone dieting needs, particularly a woman, is people who are friends* or workmates adding their advice when they are watching what they eat (or even have announced that they'll be going on a diet). I have a friend who decided to start a diet. She mentioned it at work. Immediately one of her "friends" made the remark that she hoped that exercise was going to form part of the diet. Many fat people know they're fat, and they know exactly what they need to do to lose weight. They don't need to be told, or nagged, or advised, and they certainly don't need supposed helpful friends (or acquaintances) giving them advice.
*I'd tell them to mind their own bloody business.