So ... I'm sure that many of you heard about the Supreme Court of Canada denying WestJet and Air Canada the right to appeal the Canadian Transportation Agency decision which says that the 'one person, one fare' policy must stand (i.e. that some obese people and some disabled people cannot be charged for more than one airplane seat, even if they require two).
What KILLS me is the way that this story is reported in cases like this:
Obese have right to 2 airline seats
GAH! I'm pretty sure it's not about having the right to 2 airline seats, but about the right NOT to be discriminated against. Let's all keep in mind that the airlines choose the spacing of their seats ... with a MIND TO PROFIT from packing as many people in as possible. THIS IS THEIR CHOICE (and blaming it on the airline manufacturer is nonsense, since they'd be able to have it changed if they wished ... hence the existence of first class seats on some airlines). THE AIRLINES are creating the accepted norm for airline passenger body size by doing this, and therefore they are targeting certain passengers for differential treatment when they implement the 'one seat, one fare' policy to those that require more than one seat.
As for those that will say that the poor airlines will flounder because their profit margins are so narrow, they NEED to have every tiny seat filled and paid for to even break even
Reading the CBC reporting of this ...
Top court backs free seat ruling for some disabled, obese travelers
... also makes me want to lose my mind.
Bus, train and ferry companies have long agreed to such arrangements, but the airline industry has argued it would lose too much money by doing the same.It's like they aren't even TRYING! If other transportation services have already put these policies in place, what can POSSIBLY be so hard about figuring out how to get this done? They have examples to look at!!!! I'm fairly certain that most people who can't fit into one airplane seat are well aware of it (assuming they've flown before), and would take whatever measures that they could ahead of time (i.e. a doctor's note) to avoid any humiliation at the airport. Same goes for those that are disabled and need assistance ... I'm FAIRLY CERTAIN that the need for assistance is known about ahead of time, and a doctor's note would be fairly easy to obtain. Being clear about these policies at the time of booking a ticket doesn't seem like it is a far stretch either. I thought that people that made "big decisions" at companies like WestJet and Air Canada would have more creativity and gumption than this ... to be defeated by having to implement a non-discriminatory policy that they've KNOWN was coming for years now.
But WestJet spokesman Richard Bartrem said there are still many unanswered questions.
"Will we be putting criteria in place to determine whether somebody travels with an attendant out of necessity or out of desire?" he said. "What is morbidly obese? How are we going to be able to make that determination and implement that respectfully, and consistently and fairly?"
Not good for my blood pressure.