Saturday, April 18, 2009
Too fat to fly (but not too tall?)
My daughter took a flight recently and sat next to a man who she guessed was over seven feet tall. No lie. And because there was no elbow rest between their seats, she spent the flight hunched into a corner of her seat.
You can be damn sure this gentleman was not charged for two seats. And yet anyone who now flies United who takes up more than his or her allotted seat centimeters due to weight will be charged for two seats. So flying fat will cost you double, but flying tall won't.
I find United's new policy offensive and discriminatory on many levels. If you do too, consider following the directions in the form letter below, which was created by Marilyn Wann, to protest. Because you better believe that if United gets away with this, all the major carriers will start imposing a fat flyers' penalty. And who's to say what's "too fat" to fly with a single ticket? Down the line, could ticket agents be whipping out BMI charts when you get your boarding pass? I put nothing past this fatphobic society (and the airlines desperation to turn a profit).
United Airlines is the last of the major carriers to announce proudly a policy of charging fat passengers double.
They say they received 700 complaints last year (out of 80 million passengers carried) from thin people who did not like having a fat person sit next to them and perhaps take up some of their seat space.
I am convinced that the 700 fat seatmates who didn't complain were not too happy about the situation, either. People in the fat pride community have decided to try and beat that 700 complaints statistic.
I'm writing to ask you and the people you know to complain at United.com about this costly and discriminatory targeting of one demographic group. If this policy stands, it means fat people have less right to interstate air travel than other people. Everybody deserves a safe and comfortable chair on an airplane, at an affordable price!
Here's the link for Customer Relations.
Expect to be asked to fill in some irksome required fields:
- If you don't have a United frequent flier number, you can use mine: 00229870823.
- For flight info, I just put 4/15/2009 (the day United announced its policy).
- For departure and return cities, I put San Francisco in both slots.
Please copy your complaint letter to my e-mail address, so we can keep count as we approach and pass 700.
Thanks tons! - [insert your name and e-mail address]