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Fat tax?

I’ve always found this to be an interesting story and I’ve heard this being discussed for years now.  I’ll post a link to the CNN article I read at the bottom of this post.

Here is the basic idea:  The fuel (gas) costs for airplanes is HUGE.  Doing anything to save fuel costs is a very important business idea for any airline company.  The problem is that this can be a very sensitive issue.  We all know that it costs more money (a lot more) to fly with very expensive luggage.  But what about if you are fat yourself?  It’s not very easy for the airlines to say, “sorry sir, you are too fat. We need to charge you extra money to pay for the extra fuel required to fly your fat ass all over the world”.

I even remember a debate from years ago about charging super fat people double price.  This idea was not because of the fuel price, but because some people were so fat that they literally needed to sit on 2 seats.  We all know that airplane seats aren’t very big in economy class, and it’s easy to imagine that its absolutely impossible to put 3 super super fat people side by side in 3 seats.  (If you don’t believe that there are many people who are really that fat, then, well, I guess you’ve never been to the USA!)

Anyway, this topic is about any extra weight on a plane costing the airlines money.  Due to “political correctness” and an overly sensitive world (especially in the West) it’s impossible to charge passengers based on their body weight.

One Indian airline company recently had an interesting idea.  They announced that they are going to hire mostly petite (small) female staff.  A lot of airlines do this anyway, but they are making it a policy (rule) and their reason is that it will save them money on fuel costs.  I think it’s obvious that most airlines want to hire attractive young female flight attendants for other reasons, like for all the male passengers who love staring at them (even though men don’t easily admit this).  It’s good for almost any business to have attractive females deal with the customers.  But it’s not easy to just say “we are only going to hire attractive women”.

Anyway, the Indian airline gets to have the “best of both worlds”.  The way they are selling this idea to the public is they are saying that they want small females because it saves them “gas money”.  Apparently, just hiring mostly small women will save the company $500 000 USD per year in fuel costs.  That is a lot of money, AND it’s better for the environment.

I know what a lot of “western people” think about this topic, and I’m interested in your international opinion.  Please share your comments as usual in the comments section below.

1.  Do you think it’s ok for airline companies to start charging heavy people more money to fly?  Why or why not?

2.  Do you think people in the west are “overly sensitive” about these things?

3.  Do you think it’s ok to hire only small females for this job?  Is it fair?  Why or why not?

There are really no right or wrong answers, all of this stuff is just personal opinion to get you guys talking and practising English.  I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

We’ve got the live chat set up now and some more cool movies in here:  Live chat and more cool movies

Here was the original article from CNN.

Can’t wait to read your thoughts!

28 Responses to “Fat tax?”

  1. Johnny Lobo Says:

    I don’t think it would be fair to charge people extra money just because they are fat. That would be called discrimination. We can´t charge someone extra money just because of their appearance.

    If airline companies succeed on it, tomorrow we will be charged extra money for being different to the rest of people. Tomorrow we can be charged for being too tall, too old, for women being pregnant or for people with a disease. You see what I mean.

    People all over the world, especially from the west, will feel offended by that policy that can bring a lot of consequences for airline companies.

    By hiring small people fro the cabin crew won’t solve the problem of fuel costs.

    My suggestion for that problem would be to fly less in order to save money and also the environment.

    Johnny Lobo

  2. Elham Says:

    I think the airline should be get less than money for the thin people if they want to get more than money from fat people but I belive that fat person don’t like to be a fat and this rule is not fair

  3. jaime spain Says:

    I think this is not posible nowadays but it’s going to be normal in the future

  4. julio Says:

    I agree with Johnny lobo`s previous comment. This policy of only hiring petite flight attendants is discriminatory .About fuel costs, i am not savvy but i have read about the huge profits that the oil companies obtain each year, adding to that tax breaks that benefit the oil corporation. Why they don´t sell oil at a more reasonable price .. greediness, of course.!!!

  5. Ivan Kolev Says:

    Hi…Andy !
    I read written by you, I started laughing so hard that my neighbors were asking … what’s going on man … and I just retell them the story because they do not know English, and began to laugh together. Even now I laugh as I write this. I personally think that it is up to each individual company. (Their policy) We all live in a market economy. So to get better than the other has to offer something better. So the company which begin to charge these Fat people would certainly lose a lot of money but not if it offered more than other corporations have to offer. Here they need to think a lot … what ….. how.
    I think people in the west are overly sensitive about these things because They are really overly fat. When watch American movies and shows I feel so bad and disgustingly to that me sick. By watching these fat women … and say … Geez … who likes them these women … there is something wrong here … in this nation. When I first went to Greece I saw almost the same …. very fat women. So Greek Men seeing a thin and beautiful woman (foreigners from Romania and Bulgaria and Ukraine) lose Their mind …and fall in love. By the way Greek men and they are not very weak.
    I think that everything should be measured, no matter what it is.

  6. Kinga, 23, Poland Says:

    This is great theme to discuss. Personally I think that overweight people shouldn’t have to pay extra money for their tickets. It can be taken as some kind of discrimination. Apart of that if the airline companies bring extra charges, what about the other means of transport? This companies could also demand higher prices for higher fuel consumption.

    When it comes about problems with small seat in economy class in my opinion this should be concern of airline companies. They need to take care about their customers and provide them the best travels conditions, especially now in time of crisis.

  7. Ryoken Says:

    I don’t think it’s a good idea that airline companies charge fat people more money than normal people. Why do they have to spend that much money only because they’re fat!!! It’s just unfair. If airline companies want to make much more money, they have to think an idea that would help them to bring more people, I think.
    ps. I really agree with Julio about the price of oil because gasoline price is too high for me to spend every two weeks…

  8. Padid Says:

    Dear Andy,
    I suppose, we shouldn’t see the point just from the aspect of humiliation of Fat people or how sensitive people are. In my opinion,if they are going to occupy more than one seat in the plane or make the flight a misery to somebody who is sitting beside them by their disgusting smell or somehow annoy their fellow passengers, then charging them a bit extra could be reasonable. Moreover, this policy could encourage fat people to get some exercise, maybe. On the whole, I am in complete agreement with charging them more money, but in terms of its implementation, I have to say, it should be considered by all of airlines and must be tured as a determined rule.
    As for tiny females, I see it up to a point and besides thin or small flight attendants could be attractive enough too. If it really saves that huge amount of money for a company per year, I will definitely go for the idea.
    Dear Andy&Add, I usually read almost all of your posts but didn’t have enough time to leave some comments, but from now on, I am going to reply to most of them as much as I can.
    Padid, from Tabriz, Azerbaijan province of Iran.

  9. ASAD,Pakistan Says:

    That kind of policy will simply add more food to a lot of racism. Passengers will not be sitting next to a fat guy or a black guy or a vice versa. As citizens of this world, we need more cohesion than division. And, it is really a bad idea in practical. People already hate “USA” for taking finger prints and have people go through “body scanners”.

  10. JG, Brazil Says:

    Hi Andy,
    This is the first time I write on your blog.
    I’ve been reading your topics for a long time, but I’ve never left a comment, so I think it is the time :)

    In my opinion, airline companies shouldn’t charge more based on people’s physical appearances, because doing so any company could charge less or more money based on other physical issues.
    Everybody should be charged the same amount of money as human being.
    What airline companies should do is to offer better treatment and give in a bit about earning so much, because nowadays what they really want is to earn more and more by making up a lot of excuses to get the money out of its clients.

    JG from Brazil.

  11. Masayuki Says:

    I think getting more money from fat people is not acceptable. But how about this? If you are lighter than avarage men, you can get discount. To make your flight fee cheaper, I believe many people start exercise. It’ll be the win-win-situation for both flight company and custermers.

  12. Seth Says:

    To be honest, I do not know what to think about that myself… On the one hand, I am against any kind of discrimination, and double prices and so on for fat people is definitely a form of discrimination. Moreover, define “fat”. How do you tell who is “fat” and who is “ok”? I think this could lead to a very dangerous practice of labeling and standardizing people, and I second what Johnny Lobo said.

    On the other hand though, it is true that obese people take a LOT more space than other people. I know this is not (usually) their choice, but facts are facts, you know… Even in the public transportation I sometimes get annoyed by very fat people because they take two seats. I get that they may not like the way they are themselves and all, but they take space for two persons and from that point of view they should be charged twice.

    So for me this is quite a controversial issue, but I can see where people with both opinions on the matter are coming from.

    Greetings from Bulgaria!

  13. Justyna Says:

    I’d say exactly the same what Padid says. Exactly. And every time when I’m on airport there is something like that: Little, skinny old lady has to pay double money for luggage because she wants to take for her grandchildren some stuff and it’s just a little bit over the weight.. but there is a huuuge guy who is only a little laggage and doesn’t has to pay anything although hes waight is 5 Times bigger than the little, skinny old lady and her double luggage together! It just annoys me. I think they should pay. Definitely. The same is with motorways. If you driving a lorry in some countries you just have to pay more money than people who driving a small cars.

  14. Ivan Says:

    I charge fat people entering my house.
    They demand cola and hamburger more usual that petite girls

    Airplane can do whatever they want before they get problems ( if any).
    It’s good you have a blog, I like the idea and topics

  15. Maribel Says:

    That was really funny! I can’t believe Indian airline wants to hire smaller and slimmer women to save money! That is so hilarious!! :)
    I dont think there’s a problem with that , they can hire any kind of people they want. That’s their prerogative. But for charging obese people more I think it’s not fair, since some people may be sick and can not lose weight while they may be indigent and cannot afford the ticket. I dont think that wiuld be a good idea. It will impact the whole world’s view by eliciting negative feeling in fat people and arousing sympathies in others. People will denounce it ethically and this will end up decreasing their profit.

  16. rio sasongko Says:

    hallo im from indonesia, here i rarely seen any fat people i mean extremely fat,the one that can cause a problem during flight like for example needed 2 seats just for one person, so i imagined that these kind of people really need to be charged more than average people, and i think its not some kind of discrimination over a fat people, because they are different and needed to treated differently just like for example elderly people.and i believe its not because genetically that people are became fat but more often because of what they are for fat people out there…shed some fat by eating right and exercise.

  17. negar,Iran Says:

    I think that charging fat people extra money is not as much unfair as it is believed by other friends.Fat people should somehow understand the consequence of being overweight in different aspects of their life which in this case is the problem they confront flying by airplane and occupying too much space!
    western people’s sensitivities in this regard does not seem to be unreasonable.
    Hiring only small females might somehow contradicts with the idea of attractiveness of flight attendants.By doing this,air line company might lose something in favor of something less important. Losing the standards of appearance for flight attendants in favor of being economical!Of course, all the time it is not the case.

  18. amin Says:

    Although it seems to be unfair and a kind of humiliating to charge fat people because of their weigh more,in my opinion it can be so applicable and useful. first of all it will courage them to loose some weight and get closer to health and being in shape.second of all, it really helps airlines reduce their expenses and consequently ,it would be possible for them to make travel fee for typical people lower.this road down,not only higher number of people will be able to afford travelling on an airplane,but also total benefit of airlines would ,under some certain conditions and in some certain cases,dramatically increase!
    About hiring beautiful and wonderfully lovable women as flight attendant ,in order to attract more customers ,ones that stair at their body and take advantage of them,is a kind of injustice and being cruel to them.from where i stand ,it is absolute immortality to hire them only because of their beauty,not their abilities

  19. Maribel Says:

    oooh I see Iranian guys and girls are really active here ;) Im proud!

  20. Adriano Lemos Says:

    To be honest, I don’t know in what idea I’d like to get aside. So many people all over the world have hitch whenever needs to do a travel being by airplanes, train or even by bus, what’s a matter now ?
    The problem is , the way of goverment manage the things, in others words if there was a kind of rule just for who exceed an amount which is judged unusual , it’s ok , otherwise the burden is to heavy to bear.
    Therefore, I’d say that people may feeling accused only because are above the weight a little.

  21. Alfredo Says:

    I agree to be charged by the weight. It is something objective. It is not discrimination. Fly is important, is beatifull, makes the world small, we can have more time.

  22. kyawminthein Says:

    I have no idea becauseso many dificulties in different sides.Sometimes we have oppotunities cost for life.

  23. Maria Says:

    I think that obesity must be consider like an illness. Not ALL fat people want to be fat. The best way to fight with this is reserve one row for people with this condition (as in buses and trains). This approach would eliminate the bother others passenger. And in meantime the airlines has to start to invest in new technology to reduce use of fossil fuels and change to others clean and cheaper technologies.

  24. Olga Says:

    Airline companies need a profit and they will make it anyway. A question is who will be charged – other fat people will be charged based on their body weight or passengers will share a charge for having a fat guy on board. So I don’t think charging fat people is so much unfair.

  25. Elena Says:

    Hi Andy!!! I think it is a very good idea to start charging heavy people more money to fly. It is not a discrimination because they obviosly have got a lot of money to buy this junky food so they can to afford to buy for themsalves an more expensive air ticket. If they fatty because of desise they must improve it with documents from hospital and have facilities anywords better price like normal people or even better. People is really different so it should be flexible approach to deal with them. Fatty people are very sensitive of course but they obuse they health in most situation so doesnt metter if they complain. People like to compline anywhere. But this situation definetly will stimulate them to look after about themselves and pehabs make sociaty more healthy in future. It is perfect to hire only small females for this job because in airplane not enough space for movement and they more convinient and mobile for doing this job.
    Sorry for my mistakes. From Russia with love Elena.

  26. Daria Says:

    Very interesting topic! I have read the previous comments and I can see that most of the people are against this idea. However, I believe that given this approach will help to reduce costs and save the environment, it can also be a very good “opportunity” for fat people to consider their way of life, appearance,etc. After all, I think it is fair to ask a person who would like to fly somewhere to pay for as many seats as they would feel it comfortable to occupy during the flight. If a fat person can use two seats paying just for one, why do not a normal person have such an opportunity? I can also claim it as a discrimination against normal people. This is just a thought though..:)

  27. Val Says:

    1) =) Why not? Fat people will have incentive to loose weight, at least, in order to save money. Anyway, why someone else must pay for their extra weight?
    2)Yes, I DO think that western society is overly sensitive about things which don’t worth it and doesn’t think about really important things. In my opinion, all the bad things in our society like obesity, alcoholism, homosexualism (yes, I know that it’s trendy to tell about positive feelings towards gays nowadays, but I want to be honest),cruelty,stupidity and so on multiply because of the tolerance(which I personally think is just beautiful sophisticated word for indifference). People MUST feel disapproval of the society if they do something not right. Indifference make society degrade. But if the society is ill, like in modern world, there is no way back… to morality, virtue and intelligence.
    3) Is there other choice? To give this job to big fat women? Come on, that’s not aesthetical =)

  28. Rose Says:

    I think it is unfair to charge fat people extra money for being overweight because for patient guys there is impossible to lose their weight. However, I agree with Maria. Set a fixed place for fat people would be better for other tiny guys. Moreover, the petite flight attendant is not reasonable enough for saving fuel.

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