Tag: Overweight PassengersView All Tags
Back in April, we told you about Samoa Air's move to charging passengers per kilo of bodyweight after they hop on the scales (with their luggage) at check-in. Now at least there is some better news for passengers of size or for those who simply like to stretch their legs.
The island airline has created an Executive Row called X-L Class for its new flights between Samoa and American Samoa. You'll find the minimal business class onboard their Cessna and BN Islander aircraft for island-hopping passengers weighing 130 kg or morethat's just about 285 pounds. The seats will offer about 12-14 inches of extra space during the 40 minute flight.
Before you ask, we checked twice to make sure that this Economist story was published April 2 and not April 1. We can't vouch for when the actual webpage on which the story is based went up - maybe it went up April 1 and The Economist plus some other papers got nailed - but it's still alive today so that would be a really dumb way to do an April Fools' joke. Plus there's the video at the bottom.
So here you go from Samoa Air: they are going to start charging passengers by weight. The more you weigh, the more you pay (or as they're putting it, the less you weigh the less you pay; LCCs use the same obnoxious 'pay only for what you use' logic when they add fees). Listen - we, as much or more than any other site - know that debates over overweight passengers can get contentious. But there has to be a balance between preserving people's dignity on one side and forcing them to account for the space they're usingor the arm rests they're not putting downon the other.
Overweight Passengers / LCCs / Southwest / AirTran / Southwest Airlines / Airline News / Airline Industry / Seats / Seating / → All Tags
Southwest's infamous "customers of size" policywhere if you need a seat and a half you have to purchase two seatswas the cause of one of the airline world's most notorious social media disasters. So naturally Southwest is having its recently purchased airline AirTran adopt the exact same set of guidelines, because that's one of the ways they keep down costs. Another way was described a few months ago in an Associated Press article headlined "US airlines make money again by flying less," which doesn't really have anything to do with this post but is obnoxious enough to be worth mentioning.
In any case, AirTran will implement the new policy starting March 1 of 2012. Following Southwest's lead, if a customer can't lower their armrest they have to purchase two seats. If two seats aren't available on a particular flight, other arrangements will presumably be made, almost certainly combining the usual "you need to get off this plane" humiliation and the "we'll get you on a later flight with more seats" reassurance. As with Southwest, a passenger on a below-capacity flight can request a refund for the second seat's cost.
Remember the fresh smell of spring 2010, when KFC began cooking up Double Down sandwiches around the country and patriotic Americans dutifully gassed up their cars and drove over to sink their teeth into greasy fried chicken on top of cheese on top of greasy fried chicken? Yea, that sure was an interesting time, when the country went wild for calories instead of against them.
Unfortunately this seems to be an annual occurrence, as this spring's big fat (literally fat) news is that Chandler, Arizona's obesity-theme restaurant Heart Attack Grill is expanding to open a second location. Anyone want to guess where? YepTexas. The second-ever Heart Attack Grill will open in downtown Dallas, Texas this Friday, selling their famous "Quadruple Bypass Burger" and neverending helpings of "Flatline Fries." By the way, the restaurant's tagline is "a taste worth dying for" and that burger? It's 8,000 calories.
Videos / Weird Travel / Overweight Passengers / Hong Kong Airlines / Hong Kong Travel / Martial Arts / Flight Attendants / Airline News / → All Tags
Above, thanks the Wall Street Journal, you can watch as the newest and youngest FAs at HK Airlines use their hands for other things than pouring you tea and demonstrating safety procedures. This learning Wing Chuna form of Kung Fu that works well in confined spacesis, for a change, totally in the name of their own safety. The fact that they're looking for press (and getting it) is totally forgiven because this is the awesomeness. We took a self-defense class once, but we didn't get to wear a flight attendant uniform for it. Do over?
Weird Travel / Overweight Passengers / Hong Kong Airlines / Hong Kong Travel / Martial Arts / Flight Attendants / Airline News / → All Tags
Don't mess with the cabin crew onboard Hong Kong Airlines, because they're about to become martial arts masters. No, really! After a flight attendants trained in close-range combat found her skills helped her deal with unruly and heavy passengers, the airline has now made such training compulsory for all flight crew, with other HK Airlines staff invited to learn as well.
According to the AFP, the flight attendants will specifically learn Wing Chun, a form of Kung Fu ideal for up-close combat in confined spaces.
Flight crew won't just be using it to chop troublesome passengers into submission; it'll also aid with overweight passengers. The Wing Chun-trained FA who inspired all this actually found her strength allowed her to better deal with an overweight man who was feeling ill onboard a flight. Those who are currently in the program say they're enjoying it, since being able to defend themselves is a valuable skill.
Perhaps now some American airlines will consider makes Pilates part of their crew training?
[Ip Man photo: alternativechronicle]
Can you believe it? It's been nearly one full year since Kevin Smith got kicked off a Southwest flight for being too fat to fit in a seat, and as we're all quite aware, a lot can happen in a year. Smith's year was eventful, as he first bought a bus to avoid the embarrassment of flying, and then missed a Virgin America flight not because of his weight, but because he was too damned late.
And now, the latest news on the Kevin Smith travel front is that he has lost 65 pounds, as a result of the too-fat-to-fly drama. He told Joy Behar about this change:
Celeb Travel / Kevin Smith / Virgin America / Airlines / Airports / Overweight Passengers / → All Tags
Kevin Smith had another run-in with an airline this week, and this time he didn't even make it onto the plane.
On his blog, Kevin explains that for several months after the Southwest Incident, he would only travel by bus but, due to prior engagements within days of each other on opposite coasts, eventually he was forced to take to the not-so-friendly skies once again.
The arguments over overweight flight attendants play out a little differently than the near constant fights that travelers have about overweight passengers. Both are somewhat about safety, but that's roughly where the similarities end. With overweight rowmates, the day-to-day issues are about comfort. People invoke the "what if there's a one-in-a-million crash and I can't get out" argument to sound that much more legitimate (that and they make hay out of, umm, fitting into lavatories).
When airlines suspend overweight flight attendants, like Turkish Airlines just did to 28 of their employees, the safety issue certainly makes an appearance. It's probably even more legitimate than it is with passengers, since crews actually do play a critical role in flight safety even during non-emergencies. But the real issue is about looks, and about how much customers want their Diet Coke served by someone who looks svelte in a uniform, even if half of the suspended crew were men. And airlines aren't even shy about pointing that out.
The Flight of the Hippogriff ride is okay for overweight riders
Airlines aren't the only ones having issues with the increasingly overweight percentage of the American public; theme parks are just as mired in the mucky area of how to treat those who simply don't fit. The most recent hubbub centers on the three rides at the newly opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and how random pre-screenings of larger riders are occurring, with some weighing over 250 being turned away from the rides.
Better roller coaster technology has made tracks not so rickety and dangerous, but it has also made tighter and faster maneuvers possible, which can be dangerous for those riders who have health conditions, and being obese is a recognized health condition. Screening overweight passengers and denying ride access to those who do not fit into the seats or appear to be at risk of trying the safety of the ride has been a norm at theme parks for years. And like it or not, this is a good thing. If you think the embarrassment of being turned away from a ride for being overweight is bad, then imagine if you were responsible for breaking the ride orhorror of horrorsfalling out of it.
The debate over whether or not overweight passengers are safety risks onboard flights is only just beginning, and it is a topic that carries much heft (slight pun intended) among airlines.
Onboard a recent flight, we witnessed a grossly obese man (very similar to the one pictured above) being ushered through economy, through business class and through first class to reach the first class lavatory. The reason? He could not fit into the smaller bathrooms in the lower classes, and a flight attendant was needed to give him permission and lead him to the first class ones, into which he only barely fit.
It was obviously an embarrassing scene for both the passenger and the flight attendant, and we wondered: what would have happened if he still couldn't maneuver inside of the first class toilet? Frankly, it was a demonstration of why overweight passengers are barred from sitting in emergency rowsthat over-wing exit isn't the largest trapdoor. Perhaps a good test of checking whether a larger passenger is okay to sit in the emergency row is to see if they can comfortably enter the economy bathroom stall. Or is this too harsh? What do you think?
[Photo: the infamous TwitPic]
The debate over what to do with overweight passengers on flights flared up dramatically last week when film director Kevin Smith was booted from a Southwest Airlines flight on account of his...umm...girth that required more than one seat. In response to the understandably embarrassing incident, Smith lashed out on Twitter against the airline, even though he was eventually accommodated.
But we're going to call bullshit on some of this. The one thing that really caught us when we first heard the news was the fact that Smith went straight to Twitter, and not to Southwest customer service at the airport or over the phone. Therefore, he didn't take the steps to seek a resolution that benefitted him personally, but he did find one that benefitted him professionally: he got major press attention during the crucial week before his newest film is released.