Uncomfortable Future for Budget Air Travellers
The future will be uncomfortable for airline passengers who want to save money, and who refuse to pay the exorbitant amounts charged for business or first class seats. So says an article in India Today (www.indiatoday.in) which details changes such as seats where customers actually stand up, called vertical seats, and extra fees for overweight passengers.
The vertical seats are expected to be introduced within five years, and some airlines such as Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) are already charging for the use of toilets on some of its equipment. An Indian budget airline called GoAir (www.goair.in) is growing fast and plans to expand its employee numbers by some 2,000. However, only females need apply. I'm not sure whether this is because females on average weigh less than males, or because they are considered to be better pilots and flight attendants for some other reason.
Such blatant gender discrimination would, of course, be illegal today in most Western countries, but airlines could get around it to some extent by restricting the height and weight of employees. Every extra pound an airline carries causes it to need more fuel, and therefore to be more expensive.
If you needed an incentive to lose weight, the prospect of having to pay more for your airline ticket may be just what the doctor ordered. I don't know when the fee for being overweight is expected to go into effect, but already on small commuter planes there are sometimes weigh-ins for passengers and their luggage if there is reason to believe the plane may become too heavy to take off safely.