Sunday, 15 November 2009

If they can charge per inch

Why can't they charge per pound?

As someone that is well over 6', I am more insulted by the lawyer interviewed in this article:

Air Canada will start charging extra for passengers who want more legroom, and while it may seem unfair to tall people, it doesn't violate any human rights, a civil liberties lawyer says.


Very tall people could argue they have no control over their height, making a long-haul flight extremely uncomfortable, but a discrimination case wouldn't have a leg to stand on, says Calgary law Prof. Linda McKay-Panos, executive director of the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre.

McKay-Panos fought an 11-year battle with the airlines to force them to provide a second seat for free to people considered disabled because of their weight.

"The problem with people who have long legs is they have to establish that it's a disability," she said.

While it is true that for some overweight people that it is a disability, or a genetic factor they have no control over. However, not ALL overweight people are disabled. For some, it is a lifestyle choice.

However, for tall people, it is never a choice. It's the way you are. So this blanket brush off of tall people while defending all overweight as disabled annoys me for its inconsistent reasoning. If you need an extra seat because of weight issues, you may have a disability, therefore they cannot be charged more for a seat. But because I am tall, I have to pay for legroom, while subsidizing the extra seat used by the overweight person. How in the hell is this fair or equitable? If I have to pay more, they have to pay more. If they don't have to pay more, I shouldn't have to pay more.

Technically, being tall is not a disability. But cram me into a small seat for a long flight, I may be disabled by the time I land! I can't fly WestJet at all for this reason. Something about their seat design leaves me with back and ass pain that is excruciating after three hours. When I disembark, I hobble off of their planes, I do not walk. So within Canada, Air Canada is my carrier of choice. Now I have to pay more for it too.

For comfort reasons, it would be nice if the seats on airlines comfortably accommodated all shapes and sizes. But realistically, that would mean all seat prices would go up, as larger seats with more legroom mean fewer passengers per flight. I get the economics of sizing for "average" passengers and charging more for above average passengers. I already pay for this subsidy in the cars I buy. I need lots of legroom and headroom in a car, which generally means a larger vehicle, which is therefore more expensive than a compact from the same manufacturer. But anyone that needs a larger vehicle pays more, regardless of disability or not. For some reason on airlines, this common sense rule does not apply.


Ken Breadner said...

In all honesty, I'd rather fewer seats on a plane and higher fares if need be. Unless you're a shrunken skeleton or a nine-year-old, you're not comfortable on an airplane. Given a choice, I'd take a train every time.

Catelli said...

And that's why I only fly for business and never for pleasure...