Fat Passengers Weighing Down Airlines
It's no news that airplane passengers--especially in America--are getting fatter. But airlines, who have to burn up more fuel to ferry big passengers around, may soon have to do something about it. In 2000, one study estimated the extra pounds were costing carriers $275 million, and fuel has only gotten more expensive since then.
Passenger comfort is a problem, too, at least according to an account in The Australian:
In 2002, Virgin Atlantic paid ¢13,000 to an English passenger who allegedly suffered a blood clot in her chest, torn leg muscles and acute sciatica after sitting next to a grossly overweight passenger from London to Los Angeles.
She wouldn't have had the problem on Southwest Airlines. It's the only carrier with a clear policy on large passengers: they pay for an extra if they can't fit into a single seat.