Two seats for price of one for obese Canadians

November 22nd, 2008 at 11:47 am by David Farrar

Whenever you think regulation has gone mad in New Zealand, it is reassuring is usually worse.

The Canadian Supreme Court has rejected an appeal against a ruling that airlines must provide extra seats free of charge to morbidly obese flyers.

Canadian airlines should be able to charge what they want. Hell if an airline wanted to charge passengers based on their weight, I would support that. You pay for luggage over a certain weight, so why not people?

But this isn’t even that. This is telling airlines that if a passenger is so obese that they can’t possibly fit in one seat, then they must get that second seat for free.

How idiotic.

This is what you get when you take a good principle such as non discrimination, and apply it to extreme ends.

Interestingly in NZ, Air NZ has started charging for empty seats. How? If there are empty seats on a flight, then you can ask to be next to one for $75 on a flight to the US. Now that’s a smart idea. In Canada no doubt it would be illegal.

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29 Responses to “Two seats for price of one for obese Canadians”

  1. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,787 comments) says:

    Crazy. Appears the the courts in Canada and Air New Zealand are both trying to bankrupt there national carriers.

    Yet more government bailouts to follow.

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  2. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    And this just in – ‘Polynesian Ariline Companies Goes Bust Overnight!’

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  3. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Kanada- hopeless commie basket case. Harper fighting a losing battle against widespread cultural leftism.

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  4. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    If you have a medical certificate and are being transported for a medical procedure, then fine. If not, then you should pay for the cost of your carriage.

    What’s Canada’s take on the “you must be atleast ‘this high’ to ride this ride” signs? What about maxiumum weight on roller coasters?

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  5. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    It’s not all bad, Redbaiter, Mark Steyn just said this a few days ago:

    “…….Just under a year ago, the Canadian Islamic Congress held a press conference to announce its “human rights” complaints against the excerpt from my book America Alone. And, with that, the hitherto private dispute between the CIC and Maclean’s went public.

    How stands the fight on this first anniversary?

    Not bad. A few days ago, at the Conservative Party convention, a policy plenary session voted overwhelmingly to abolish Section 13 – the “hate speech” provision – from the Canadian Human Rights Code. How overwhelming? Nine to one in favour – and they had trouble finding anyone to speak against the motion. On Saturday, the vote went to the convention floor, and over 99 per cent of delegates declared their support for abolishing Section 13. Among them was the Justice Minister of Canada, a man who until his vote had remained silent on this issue, even as his department intervened ever more forcefully on behalf of the government censors.

    This is an amazing advance for a cause that wasn’t on the public radar a year ago and is hardly the kind of pocketbook issue likely to excite widespread interest. There have been other developments, too – the various investigations into the corrupt and disgusting Canadian “Human Rights” Commission that led to the CHRC’s unprecedented tactical retreat in the Maclean’s case; the widespread publicity at the British Columbia “Human Rights” Tribunal that persuaded the three pseudo-judges in Vancouver to do the same. Those of us who believe hack bureaucrats deciding which opinions they’re prepared to issue official licenses for is an abomination to a free society owe a special debt of gratitude to Ezra Levant, who has done more than anyone to “denormalize” (as he puts it) the government thought police, even as their few allies have attempted to bury him in an avalanche of nuisance law suits. That said, I wouldn’t want to give the impression that the restoration of Canadians’ rights to free speech is some kind of right-wing crusade (whoops). Among the other opposers of Canadian state censorship are such unlikely Steyn allies as PEN Canada, Liberal MP Keith Martin, The Globe & Mail, Salman Rushdie, Noam Chomsky, Richard Dawkins and Professor Steven Pinker.

    In fact, the real story of the last year is how few friends the “human rights” racket has. No one will defend either the principle or practice of current thought-police legislation other than the system’s principal beneficiary (Richard Warman) and a few other hangers on, such as Pearl Eliadis, Canadian Jewish Congress honcho Bernie Farber and The Toronto Star’s Haroon Siddiqui. As Kathy Shaidle says, it’s an establishment of cardboard heroes chasing phantom enemies in order to protect its sinecures and social status…….

    “………..freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism but freedom from government regulation, government prosecution, government fines and government silencing. “Free speech” doesn’t mean some mosque should be beyond criticism; it means more criticism. It means Mr Siddiqui can call me an “Islamophobe” and I can call him a clapped out hack seeking to mire Canadian Muslims in a wholly unearned and invented victim complex, and the government sits back and says, “May the best man win. We don’t have a dog in this fight.”

    Section 13 is incompatible with a free society. Twelve months ago, George Jonas, David Warren, Rex Murphy and a handful of others understood that. Today, the Justice Minister of Canada, the Canadian Association of Journalists and 99 per cent of delegates at the governing party’s policy convention get it. It’s a long battle, but this first year was won by the cause of liberty.”

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  6. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    Yet in NZ we have OSH rules that are physiologically based. For example, at Auckland Raceway (Auckland’s best go-karting), I noticed that, in addition to a minimum height limit (presumably, to ensure drivers can reach the pedals), there is now a maximum weight limit of 130kg.

    Some would argue that this is discriminating against the obese.

    This is logical — because the chassis will be designed and constructed based on some reasonable driver mass — and thus I agree with the policy. (Plus I don’t want to be hit by a kart containing an overweight driver.)

    But that airline ruling is just daft. My preference would be for flight cost to be based on passenger weight plus total luggage weight (including carry-on bags).

    People who need wider seats should pay extra for wider (or double) seats. The rest of the travelling public (who, in Canada, are now subsidising the fares of the fat) should demand it.

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  7. dime (8,789 comments) says:

    $75 so theres no one next to me? hell im already half sealed off with a bed.. may as well be a real asshole and block the one next to me haha

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  8. davidp (3,329 comments) says:

    The BC Human Rights Tribunal ruled that people working with food in restaurants don’t have to wash their hands if they have skin complains. So not only do Canadians have to put up with bits of flaky skin in their salad, but there is like to be traces of urine in the dressing.

    Canadians can celebrate this human right. I think I’ll just avoid eating in Canada.

    http://ezralevant.com/2008/04/the-human-right-for-mcdonalds.html

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  9. Chthoniid (1,967 comments) says:

    I read the story with some horror.
    Travel in North America has got steadily worse with over-weight passengers. The blubber flows into the nearest empty space- typically my seat. I feel as if I need a harpoon to defend the tiny bit of space the airline has allocated me.

    Add the general creaking of the seats around you, the challenges of these people needing toilet breaks pushing past you…tray-tables aren’t designed for such girths either.

    I’ve ben travelling in Asia a lot more now, and I like it so much better. Passengers are generally so much slimmer that you end up not having to deal with invasive, sweaty blubber-like pseudopods.

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  10. kiwipolemicist (393 comments) says:

    The Socialist/Marxist state is stealing money from the airlines and giving it to the obese people. Socialists try to make everyone equal but can never succeed because they always have to oppress someone to do it.

    The Canadian rules also cover disabled people who require companions, forcing airlines to provide free travel for the companion. Until about 17 years ago a blind person travelling in NZ on state-owned long-distance buses or trains and Cook Strait ferries received a half fare, as did their companion. You could make an extremely weak argument stating that tax payers want to subsidise blind travellers, but forcing privately owned airlines to subsidise disabled travellers is inexcusable. That state is saying “We want to help these people and you’re going to pay for that help”.

    http://kiwipolemicist.wordpress.com/2008/11/13/how-the-welfare-state-expands-and-endures/

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  11. Southern Raider (1,377 comments) says:

    Do they get two meals to go with the two seats?

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  12. Southern Raider (1,377 comments) says:

    I think there is a big difference between a blind person needing assistance and super fat arse who has no self control.

    I bet there is a few Americans that even with two seats they still flow over into the adjoining ones.

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  13. Don the Kiwi (1,341 comments) says:

    I’m not surprised at anything that comes out of the Socialist Soviet of Canuckistan.
    They’ve really lost the plot. Just as well we dumped Heilen and co.

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  14. adc (520 comments) says:

    it’s easy to see the reasoning.

    You see a seat advertised. You pay for the seat, you should be able to sit in it. Otherwise it’s not fit for advertised purpose. The airline is then duty bound to provide a seat that can be sat in for the advertised price.

    It’s already a thin line how small some seats are, even for normal people they are hardly fit.

    If I were the airline though I’d have people on the scales with their luggage. That would provide a clear commercial incentive to keep fatties off your planes, so more beautiful people would then gravitate to them, and more people would want to fly with you to be near the beautiful people… mua ha haaaa

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  15. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    DPF said…
    appeal against a ruling that airlines must provide extra seats free of charge to morbidly obese flyers.

    The government should get the fuck out of this. Airlines are private properties and they have the right to choose who flies or who doesn’t fly with them.

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  16. Brian Smaller (3,915 comments) says:

    This sort of PC crap is crazy. The latest I heard was a web dating site that was forced to include specific search and options for gay people. LIke there aren;t enough dating sites on the web. Apparently they caved rather than going to court. Pathetic.

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  17. NZD.JPY (130 comments) says:

    My problem isn’t the width of my backside but the length of my legs. I should be able to sit sideways so my knees don’t touch the seat in front, which bloody hurts after a few hours or so. If fatties can spread over 2 seats then I should be able spread over 2 seats. After all, they chose to be fat, I didn’t choose to be tall.

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  18. Grant Michael McKenna (1,152 comments) says:

    NZD.JPY, at ^’2″, I so agree with you- one reason why I always request the seat next to the exit. I’ll put up with the fractionally higher death statistic so that I can stretch out a bit.

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  19. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Not much incentive to lose that blubber then?

    Lovely Country, strange politics. Like the Prime Ministers Wife that chose to be a Rock ‘n Roll Groupie!

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  20. Nookin (2,891 comments) says:

    The reporting on this is superficial to the point of being misleading.
    1. There is a statutory obligation in Canada to ensure that people are not unduly impeded by reason of disability when travelling . The law over there is different to NZ and so it is like comparing apples with pears. The law allows regulatory intervention when market forces do promoted undue impediment.
    2. The complainants were not merely obese. One had a disease that resulted in paraplegia and could only travel with an attendant. The other suffered rheumatoid arthritis and also need an attendant. They needed the attendant during the course of travel and not just at each end. An overly large person would not qualify
    3. The policy of one-person-one-fare has been accepted and implemented by rail, coach and ferry transport.
    4. Undue hardship is a defence but in this case the best estimate was that it may affect 0.09% of turnover. The Supreme Court was not persuaded.
    5. Although human rights issues were involved that matter came down to an interpretation of special legislation which we do not have.

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  21. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “There is a statutory obligation in Canada to ensure that people are not unduly impeded by reason of disability when travelling”

    Disabled peopel are always going to be unduly impeded becasue of the very fact that they’re friggin disabled in the first place. FFS. Typical Kanadian Kommie legislation.

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  22. Nookin (2,891 comments) says:

    I have never regarded special attention for needs of the disabled as a communist trait.

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  23. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “I have never regarded special attention for needs of the disabled as a communist trait.”

    No, you probably haven’t. How would you regard legislation that forces property owners to make modifications to their premises they might otherwise choose not to?

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  24. Nookin (2,891 comments) says:

    If you mean commercial premises which have to include disabled access and disabled facilities I would have thought the legislation to be entirely appropriate. The law doesnt apply to residences – only premises to which the public are to have access. What would you like to see – someone in a wheel chair fried because they cannot manouvre a difficult exit in time?

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  25. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “I would have thought the legislation to be entirely appropriate”

    That’s what I meant by communist. Forcing property owners to comply with such legislation is undermining property rights and should not happen in a society that understands how important those rights are to the overall concept of personal liberty. You see it as being considerate of the disabled. I see it as an example of the kind of compulsion countries can do with out. Its also a mindset they can do without. Crossing lines and all that. Your final question is offensive.

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  26. Nookin (2,891 comments) says:

    The legislation only interferres with property rights when the owners holds out an invitation to the public at large to frequent them. The legisaltion is designed to make them safe. You have two options: tell the disabled that they are unwelcome – which is discriminatory – or expose them to an offensive risk. Neither option is regarded as acceptable in most modern societies.

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  27. Hagues (711 comments) says:

    “You have two options: tell the disabled that they are unwelcome – which is discriminatory – or expose them to an offensive risk. Neither option is regarded as acceptable in most modern societies.”

    How would that be different from having a gym that only allows women members? Thats discrimination against men, but allowed purely on the basis that they can make money from women that don’t want to work out with men. So why can’t a business make a business decision not to fork out for ramps (or whatever) on the basis it saves them money even to the discrimination of disabled people?

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  28. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “which is discriminatory”

    I don’t care about discriminatory. I believe in a free country, anyone should be free to discriminate if they so choose. The disabled have an option. They do not patronize businesses that choose not to cater for them.

    “Neither option is regarded as acceptable in most modern societies.”

    I don’t agree with a lot of things that are “not acceptable in what you term “modern societies”. I think you, with your lack of regard for private property rights and your equal disregard for freedom of choice are a communist and that the societies that you are so proud of are seriously deficient in their regard for individual liberty.

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  29. deanknight (263 comments) says:

    I’m with Nookin on this one. The outrage about the decision is misplaced. Reasonable accomodation to ensure equal treatment is always tricky. But this one seems fall on the right side of the line.

    For those interested in analysing the decision itself, see:
    - http://www.cta-otc.gc.ca/access/surv-rpts/081119_e.html

    (I know that some of those being outraged here don’t believe in the principle substantive equality in Canadian and NZ human right legislation and prefer formal equality – but that’s the basic difference on rights issue between socio-dems and libertarians…)

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