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Should Obese Passengers Pay more for an Airline Seat – Yes

Everyone in America understands that we pay for what we use. There are items of clothing that cost more as the size goes up. A pair of shorts that cost $10 for a size large will cost one or two dollars more for sizes larger, such as 1 or 2x. We assume it is because more material is needed to make the larger sizes.

A large pizza cost more than a medium pizza because more ingredients are needed to make the larger pizza. No one complains about the higher price of the larger pizza because we understand that the pizza company would not stay open long if all pizzas from personal pan to extra-large were the same low price as the personal pan pizza. If we owned the company, we would charge more for the larger pizzas.

Should a person be penalized because of his size? Should an airline or train passenger be charged more for her ticket than a smaller person? In this situation, no one is being penalized and no one is given special treatment. We simply look at the facts from a business point of view.

An over-weight person may squeeze into a seat, however uncomfortable, and spill over onto the seat to the left and the seat to the right. Whoever has the misfortune to be assigned to the seats on either side of the over-weight person must endure a trip, perhaps for several hours, in misery. All three passengers paid the same price and all three passengers are miserable. This happens more frequently as Americans continue to grow in girth, unchecked.

Every person has the freedom to grow as large as he pleases, but he does not have the freedom to cause pain for others. Airlines and train companies try to place obese passengers in the aisle seat or the seat by the window. This act, at least, reduces the number of passengers that are miserable from three to two.

The obese passenger does not willfully intend to make anyone uncomfortable, yet she demands to pay for one seat when she clearly uses two. While paying for two tickets may place a financial burden on the obese person, the truth is that he occupies two seats. The airline must decide whether it can financially stand to lose the price of one seat by leaving it empty to keep everyone as comfortable as possible.

Remember, we all understand that we must pay for what we use. If a person buys a sandwich at a outdoor cafe for $5, does he have the right to ask for one or two more sandwiches because he is still hungry? Of course he does. Does he have the right to eat the extra sandwiches without paying? Of course he doesn’t. He understands that the price on the sandwich means that he can eat one sandwich for $5.

Larger sizes cost more. The seller must charge more. The customer has the right to pay the price that has been set, or to reject the cost and look for an alternative. The average passenger has the expectation that the seat he paid for will not have to be shared with body parts of a total stranger.

In summary, everyone is more comfortable when the obese passenger pays for two seats. If the policy of paying for two seats bothers the obese passenger enough to motivate a change in lifestyle, then another positive thing has taken place. Giving in to the cries of unfairness by the obese passenger will cause the airline to lose money. If this happens often enough, the airline closes and everyone loses.