Australia Proposes “Tubby Tax” for Obese Travelers

“Pay extra or leave your fat behind on terra firma.”

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That could be a new airline rule in the near future if a proposal by Australian health experts passes into law. The proposal intends to charge obese passengers an additional tax for every extra kilo they weigh. According to Dr. John Tickell who’s heading the Australian committee behind the proposal: carrying a whole load of heavy weight cargo costs airlines fuel, and if you’re the one bringing all the additional weight on board it’s only fair that you should pay for it.

The sentiment is cynically practical, but you can expect discrimination charges to begin flying around faster than you can say “Jenny Craig.” In actuality, it’s a polite way of telling hefty passengers, “No fatties, please — at least not for free!” Any attempt to set a prescribed weight limit for flying is liable to open up a legal can of worms.

It begs the question of how skinnier travelers will respond to such rules if they are implemented. Would a size zero swizzle stick guarantee free extra baggage? After all, someone like Posh Beckham – who probably folds up neatly enough to fit in the overhead compartment – would fall below any prescribed weight limit by at least a couple of dozen pounds. Would she receive an extra baggage allowance to balance out the weight ratio? Or would two super skinny people be allowed to share the same seat, thus saving on the fare?

And what of people who owe their obesity to health conditions like a thyroid disorder or tall people who have nothing but their genes to blame for any additional weight? Should they be made to pay for extra body mass? So many questions …

Already those who will be affected most by any “tubby tax” are vehemently opposing the proposal saying airlines should introduce a few extra large seats to accommodate obese passengers, instead of taxing them for their weight.

  1. I’ve always wondered why the airlines charged overweight charges for baggage but not overweight charges for people. Personally, I think it would be very fair to have a policy that allows you to bring 300 pounds of stuff (this means you plus your luggage) for the price of your fare. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you get a 150 pound baggage allowance, and if you weigh 250 pounds, you’d better only bring a 50 pound suitcase. As a 200 pound person, 1 feel that 100 pounds worth of baggage is more than enough. If you weigh much more than that, you’d probably better buy two seats anyway, to avoid encroaching upon the others in your row. Or fly first class, where the seats are wider.

  2. This debate really frosts the asses of a good many people here in the States. And it’s mainly because of ignorant political correctness.

    You’re right, Al: it’s simple business math. More weight means more fuel and more fuel means higher costs. Why should the airlines have to absorb that?

    Should all restaurants be all-you-can-eat buffets where the businesses are forced to absorb the cost of someone who can scarf down 10 courses in a single sitting? Of course not.

    If you’re using/consuming more “stuff”, you (the consumer) are the one who should have to pay the additional cost.

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