20 January 2010
Sooner or later airlines were undoubtedly going to require obese people to purchase two seats if they wanted to fly to their destination. Air France and KLM will charge obese passengers 75% of the cost of a second seat. Essentially, this is the cost of the seat without the taxes thrown in.
Air France and KLM are claiming that the obese passenger two-seat policy is for safety reasons. The key safety reason being that the obese person cannot be safely buckled into one seat. The policy is one that applies to fully booked flights only at this stage (for tickets booked after 1 February 2010 and for flights after 1 April 2010 - April Fool's Day joke?). According to Air France and KLM, where a flight is not fully booked, the obese passenger will be given a refund on the purchase price of their second seat.
The dimensions of aircraft seats range between 43cms and 44cms wide, and this seems to be the key safety measurement if the two-seat policy is going to work.
Nevertheless, the question is how is the policy going to be enforced? Do travel agents have to make a determination at the time a ticket is booked and paid for as to whether the prospective passenger is obese? Or will it be a requirement for all Air France and KLM flights that when booking a ticket a passenger must supply a doctors certificate stating their weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), and perhaps critical measurements when sitting (will they fit comfortably in a 43cm or 44 cm seat)? Or are the airlines going to not only weigh one's checked in baggage but require the passenger to jump on the scales as well?
The mind boggles.
My guess is that not all airline passengers are going to be concerned about this development. In fact, I am guessing that there will be plenty who fully endorse the move and wonder why it has not happened sooner.