Saturday, April 06, 2013

F is for Fascinating Facts


“Are airline’s fat fares fair?” screamed the headline of a local paper I was perusing the other day. A sub-heading further shouted, “Pay-as-you-weigh.”

Source: Vancouver metro, April 3, 2013
Click to enlarge if you want to read it. 

Hmmm, interesting, thought I, and worthy of delving deeper.

I live on the North American continent, specifically in Canada. We have been known to be rather fit and hardy folks; we do, after all, live in the frigid cold most of the year; we travel to our igloos by dog sled and hunt and trap our own food; naturally we’re fit.

Well, that might have been so a hundred years ago but a lot has changed since then, including the size of our belts.

So this article tweaked my curiosity…

“Who would impose a fee for a person’s fat when flying?” ponder I, while me and myself rustled up a hearty meal of flash frozen fish from the freezer while waiting for my pot of fennel tea; it needed to steep for a full four minutes. (say that fast with a mouth full of fish)

Well, it appears Samoa Air has done just that. And, given the size of their plane you might just be nodding in agreement.

Source
The article that goes with this picture is great.


Now, while this may seem funny to some folks, it got me thinking. 

What if you were Ele Opeloge, the Samoan weightlifter in the +75 kg class at the 2012 Olympics, weighing in at a comfortable 270 lbs (124 kg).

Is it fair that you should pay more for the same space on Samoa Air than your teammate Maureen Tuimalealiifano, an archer who also represented Samoa at the 2012 Olympics, and weighs in at a measly 150 lbs (70 kg).

Think about this - are we to assume that Samoa Air will waive the extra 120 lbs that Ele carries because she is an athlete?

Is Ele’s extra 120 lbs necessary, she is, after all, the same height as her 150 lb teammate, Maureen? What purpose does her extra weight serve - other than to lift dead weight?

Should Ele be singled out to pay more?

As you can see it’s not so easy to say to a fat person you should pay more because the person you ate for lunch needs to be accounted for.

Tell that to Ele and see if you survive her clean and jerk...that’s after she’s ripped your gizzards out!

Source

Now, lighthearted bantering aside...this is worth pondering because there are certain things about our physical makeup we cannot change - height, foot size, hat size and even bone density.

I would be very careful if I was Samoa Air...not all fat people are jolly and I can’t imagine many laughing at this poorly thought out money grab, least of all Ele.

Well...there you have some fascinating facts.

What do you think about charging a person by weight to fly?


Cheers, Jenny

29 comments:

  1. It sort of makes sense to me, although I live in Britain, so every other day there's a new charge that Ryanair adds to their tally. If I weight 150lbs and have a 25lb bag that equals 175lbs, but I might have paid a surcharge on the luggage. Why then should someone who weighs 200lb not be surcharged? (I don't know Ryanairs exact surcharging policy, so all those figures are purely made-up.)

    Although, it's all academic for me, I don't go on holiday, so I don't use planes :-(

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    1. It has merit, but I think, as Desmond said, maybe it should just be the size of one's behind that should be measured. (and maybe overflow of one's belly, as these things need more space) Then a charge could be put in place to reflect the "space" in the plane that one occupies - i.e. a bigger seat, for example.

      As for luggage, my bane is when people think they can carry on everything plus their kitchen sink!

      Thanks for stopping by, Annalisa, always great to have you here. :)

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  2. We have been laughing about it since we saw it on the news. I am pretty sure there are more Samoans in New Zealand than in Samoa. They are not the smallest people here.

    Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com
    AtoZ #42

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    1. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and if it really does get implemented.

      Thanks for dropping in, Rhonda, and sharing in the discussion! :)

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  3. They are clearly trying to get around the fact that some people wear all of their clothes to avoid paying for luggage. Guess I might as well buy a suitcase then. :-/

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    1. Hahaha - I'm cracking up! I never thought of doing that...too hot with this menopause that I'm the one wearing nothing and packing everything! :)

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  4. last year our health insurance company made us pay more if we were smokers. I sort of understand that. I have an occasional cigar but no cigarrettes anymore. Quitter of 6 years now. This year they are going to charge you more based on total cholesterol and body mass index. Uh Oh! says the fat kid eating his McDonalds!
    Stalin would be so happy to see his socialist republic alive again. What's good for one is good for all except the people at the top. They are always exempt!

    The High Cost of this Low Living

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    1. I sort of get the surcharges but in a way I'm not a fan of them as they really don't reflect the true health of an individual.

      In other words, I have a client that looks fabulously slim but can't climb the two flights of stairs without having a mini stroke. Yet, another lady that comes to me is build much sturdier - fuller figure if you will, and she regularly runs and is in excellent health - but she is by no means slight.
      Her body mass would easily be above the "normal" range, if normal is based on my first client.

      So in some ways it's a tough call lumping everyone in the same basket.

      You're last line is great - too true!

      Thanks for stopping by, Bushman. :)

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  5. Quite an interesting question, mom asked me the same a couple of days ago

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    1. And...what did you answer your mom with? :) :)

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  6. They should measure the size of the bums not weight because there are heavy but tall and thin people. If your big bum takes two or three seats in the plane, off course it is not fair for you to pay just one ticket. Why should the aircompany lose money because somebody is absurdly obese?
    And I say this as someone who was a fat little pumpkin as a kid :)

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    1. Makes sense - it's the space one occupies that should be the issue.

      But I bet you were cute...as a fat little pumpkin! :) :)

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    2. big enough to take in Cinderella, her sisters, the stepmother, the prince and the lackeys if the fairy godmother turned me into a coach :)

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  7. I agree Samoa Air has to be careful, but mostly because of how gleefully this will be seized and spun by ever media outlet out there proclaiming discrimination and punishing people for being fat.

    Look at it clinically and it makes some sense, because every extra pound costs money in fuel. You expect to pay more for overweight baggage. People might not like it but they don't argue the economics. As a business model, it might make sense or it might not, but the screaming headlines suggest that trial by media has already happened and they will probably never find out.

    BTW, I thought the aircraft was familiar. We used to have Islanders hopping between the islands where I used to live, and they used to (back in the 70's) weigh passengers to determine where to seat them in order to balance the plane.

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    1. You make very good points, Botanist.

      On my recent trip to Alaska we had to give our weight when flying into the Norris Glacier by helicopter. With these smaller aircrafts, as in the photo, weigh placement is critical, so is overall weight in general when determining how many can be taken.

      It's a little like the sign in elevators where the gross weight far exceeds the number of people because it factors in some of the people will be "large".

      Seems there's no easy answer. Thanks for "weighing" in with your excellent comment. :)

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  8. I honestly don't know about these fat seats Jenny even though I think that people have themselves to blame for their weight. It's a bit insulting and like so many have said could lead to a lot of people crying discrimination and a bad press campaign. In all honesty I don't want to be weighed in order to get a certain price for a service, there's a reason all clothing sizes tend to be evenly priced in my opinion at least.

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    1. Hey Matt - I would give you the award for "most compassionate" in the answer department.
      In my business I charge the same rate for my standard bikini line waxing regardless of how much hair is there, or how big a woman is.

      Yes, more wax may be needed in one instance and less in the other. I think with air travel it needs to be somewhat structured like that too - except when it comes to how "much" space a person will occupy.

      If you and I were sharing a row with three seats and a very "large" individual sat in the middle seat overflowing into our space that would be unfair - you and I would have paid the same for those seats and should therefore be able to enjoy those seats without having someone overflow into them.

      That's the difference here, in that someone's side does affect others. When I buy a medium or large shirt only I will be wearing it. As to the manufacturing of that shirt I think they do that type of pricing because it's just easier to manage buying/selling costs.

      Overall, it is insulting to be told to step on a scale just to take a flight - might make people think twice about flying!

      Thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts, Matt - always glad to have you here. :)

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  9. I do know that in smaller planes, you can't fly safely with too much weight on board. That part I do understand.
    If that is the case, than everyone wanting to fly should be weighed and all the weight tallied to make sure that there is no exceeding the weight limit.

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    1. Hey Ruth - I think all planes, small and large, have weigh maximums. The problem, probably more so for the little ones, is that placing the weight is critical. I used to do a lot of flying in a small four seater Cessna - and we were always aware of where weight was placed in the plane.

      In this instance I think they really need to think of what Desmond talks about - butt size. If you are going to fill two seats you should pay for two - that simple. :)

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  10. At first I thought this was going to have more to do with people who literally do not fit in the seats, but i hadn't thought about smaller planes with weight restrictions. Is the extra money to make up for taking fewer people? hmmmmmmmm, interesting

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    1. Hi Andrea - it's basically about both - fitting in a seat, and size of plane.

      I think airlines are strapped for cash, but are also getting negative feedback from folks that get placed beside someone that is filling up two seats but paying for one. Been there done that - not fun!

      Thanks for stopping in! We'll see where this goes. :)

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  11. Might encourage a few people to loose weight, but flying in planes like that ain't much fun you feel ever bump

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    1. Hi Bill - would be interesting if it did. I think those folks might just be willing to pay more.
      The real problem is the actual seat size - imagine that decades ago one of those seats would have been considered roomy, now they are too small - speaks volumes to how we (in general) as a people have grown so wide!

      It will be interesting to see how this unfolds over the next few weeks/months. :)

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  12. We always seem to have to have someone to discriminate against it appears. Smokers have had their turn as the bad guys. Next? Let's see...ah, send out the food police. We'll do age discrimination later.

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    1. So true, Donna - if it isn't one thing we find another.

      It's so easy to look at a person and find fault. I remember telling my daughter, when she was young, and we were driving past a woman clearly "working" the street...I said, "no one grows up with that as a dream...it sometimes just happens...and it happens to good people, so be careful what you think."

      This can be applied to overweight people too - it's so easy to pass judgement. Sadly, I think what we see, particularly in the USA, over these last twenty years is partially the fault of the wheat and sugar giants - they helped spur the "fat free" generation which we now see the results of.

      Very sad...and it will be a long, slow road if we are to ever see a change.

      Thanks for stopping by, Donna, and joining in on the conversation. :)


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  13. "Fat fares fair."
    How alliterative and homophonic.

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    1. Al at his condensed best! And here I thought you'd be waxing poetic on this topic.

      Well...we've had to go it without you...a struggle at best! ;)

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  14. Hi Jenny .. when my mother and I travelled in Namibia .. one or two flights we had to do by plane - and one very large American (he'd left his wife behind ... and I thought oh yes ---) he demanded everything first, he was the big guy with the big money and the big luggage and big camera ... Mum and I had travelled with 10 kg between us .. we'd been told to take less than needed = we did!

    They had to redistribute the weight of the plane .. there were only a few of us .. and most of us were on one side, and he was on the other ... I wasn't happy - but he was selfish!

    Had my G for Grump G day! No it was an incredible holiday .. but he should have had more manners! Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary - Many of the above comments echo your sentiments - including me!

      Shame on that man - and shame on the airline for not giving him the the boot. I really would like it if airlines would stop kowtowing to rude individuals -pushing overbearing "elitists" and parents with annoying, spoiled children - both should be tossed in with the luggage!

      I'm sorry to read you had such a damper of an experience - very frustrating indeed.

      Thanks for "weighing" in with your thoughts, Hilary - good to see you here. :) :)

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Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

I'd give you a penny for them, but alas we just snuffed it out. Yup...gone!
It's all about the nickel now...so at this rate you can leave 5 thoughts!

Cheers, Jenny

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