Almost half of British men think overweight passengers should pay a 'fat tax' on flights, says a new survey.
The poll by HolidayExtras.com
found that 48% of all those questioned thought heavier people should pay for their extra weight, just as other fliers pay for excess baggage.
According to the Telegraph
, James Lewis, Head of Online Partnerships at HolidayExtras.com, said: "The world is getting fatter - and this is becoming a big issue. Being an overweight passenger affects your travelling companions, physically and financially. If we have to pay extra for excess baggage, it's only fair that we pay extra for excessive body weight.
"Sitting next to a large person on a plane can sometimes reduce the space that you have to relax, so maybe airlines should offer some of the revenue from the additional ticket cost to the person sitting next to the fat person too."
The issue of whether people should pay a 'fat tax' is not a new one, and is becoming an increasingly hot debate.
The news follows a recent suggestion by a former Qantas economist that heavier people should definitely for their excess weight
Tony Webber's simple rationale is: the more a plane weighs, the more fuel it must burn, which costs the airline more and, in turn, will increase air fares.
If passengers on the aircraft weigh more, the plane will consume more fuel, and these costs to the airline will be offloaded on to air travellers.
Just as people are charged for excess baggage, so people should be charged for excess weight, says Tony.
He says that, since 2000, airline fuel costs have increased mainly because of high oil and jet fuel prices, but also because the average adult passenger is carrying more pounds.
After Tony's report came out, Aol Travel
carried out its own poll on whether our readers felt the same. And it appears they do: out of the 10,000 people who participated, 70% of people believe it is fair to charge a fat tax
One said: "It is unfair that we should be asked to pay more for heavy luggage whereas so many people are obese. Why not weigh the traveller with the luggage ? If one is sitting next to a very fat person it can be very uncomfortable as they tend to overflow out of their seat."
But others disagreed, with one reader saying: "What a ridiculous idea!!! Are they on the other hand going to reduce the amount of money that you pay for a child ticket then? Children pay the same as adults and they weigh less than half of an adult weight. If Tony Webber is thinking about the plane using more fuel to carry some people, he on the other hand should be thinking about the ones who weigh less and still pay the same amount. I think that is only fair and justified."
The problem of how the regulation would be enforced has also arisen: would a person have to be weighed and embarrassed in front of other passengers?
What do you think? Should heavier people pay 'fat tax' - or not?
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Sitting next to heavier people on a plane might be a bugbear for some, but here are ten things you definitely should not do on a plane:
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- Punch your fellow passengers
Ok, it's slightly annoying and uncomfortable when someone reclines their seat right back during the meal service, but it probably doesn't justify full blown fisticuffs, resulting in an F-16 fighter jet escort back to Washington and $50,000 worth of fuel being dumped, as happened on an American flight to Ghana last year.</p>
- Change a smelly nappy
It may be tough flying with babies, but if you cause a stink you could be in big trouble. One passenger who cleaned up her baby on a Qantas flight was held responsible for grounding a flight after cabin crew panicked about the 'strange smell'. The flight had to make an emergency landing at Mt Isa, where passengers say they had to be forklifted off the plane because the airport didn't have the facilities to disembark the huge Boeing 767. Not a good look.</p>
- Put hummingbirds in your pants
Strange as it may sound, one Dutch passenger was caught trying to smuggle hummingbirds in his pants on a flight from French Guiana in September 2011. They were sewn inside his pants, each individually wrapped in cloth and taped up to stop them escape him. Not surprisingly, he was spotted fidgeting and was eventually arrested... lesson learned (we presume).</p>
- Put a child in an overhead locker
Tempting as it may be, shutting a toddler in with the hand luggage is a definite no-no. One flight attendant was sacked for doing just that on a Virgin Blue flight in 2011. According to mum Natalie Williamson, he came and put her son Riley into a locker and closed the latch. He claimed it was part of a game of peekaboo, but Natalie - and the airline - saw things differently...</p>
- Pretend your dead husband is just 'asleep'
If you want to return a beloved, deceased relation to their homeland, you'll usually have to pay repatriation fees. One way to get round these is to do what two German women allegedly did when Curt Willi Jarant, the women's 91 year old husband/stepfather died and they wanted to fly him home to Germany: bundle him into a wheelchair, stick some sunglasses on him and say he's 'sleeping'. Only trouble is, someone eventually noticed.</p>
- Strap a drugged rhesus monkey to your belly
You know how it is - you go on holiday, spot a cute monkey, think how sweet it would be to have as a pet...For most of us, the fantasy ends there. Not so the American woman who spent an entire flight home from Thailand with a drugged rhesus monkey strapped to her to look like a pregnant belly. Incredibly, she got through security back home in LA, and was only caught when she blabbed to a shop assistant, who informed the (slightly embarrassed) authorities.</p>
- Wee in your seat
It's far better to cross your legs - believe us. French actor Gerard Depardieu was thrown off a City Jet flight from Paris to Dublin last August for urinating on the plane. The aircraft was ready to take off when the actor asked to use the toilet - but he was told by staff to stay in his seat. He resorted to peeing into a bottle, much to the chagrin of cabin crew. When some spilled onto the floor, the crew alerted the pilot and the plane had to taxi back to the terminal, where Depardieu was escorted off the plane.</p>
- Throw water at screaming children
Anyone who has children themselves (or even just a smidgen of common sense) will know that throwing water on a screaming baby is not the best way to quieten it, but this was the approach American passenger Ronald Duffy chose on a flight to Brazil in 2004. He was almost lynched by fellow passengers, his visa was revoked, he was deported...and still the baby kept crying (probably).</p>
- Try to open the emergency exit
It's not actually possible to open a plane's emergency exits when its in the air, but that knowledge would probably have done little to reassure passengers onboard a flight from Palma to Newcastle last year when a 22-year old man tried to pull open the plane doors at 36,000 ft, screaming 'it's ok, we're just on a flight simulator.' It took eight seat belts to restrain him and six police officers were waiting to arrest him when the plane made an emergency landing at Gatwick.</p>
- Get frisky in the toilet
A recent survey found that one in ten Brits claim have joined the 'Mile High Club' by having sex in a plane loo - but it could get you into serious trouble, as one Australian couple discovered on a flight in Queensland in December 2011. The pair were caught in a compromising position in the plane toilet - and the man was promptly charged with offensive and disorderly conduct under the Civil Aviation Safety Act.</p>
- Light up onboard
Despite the fact that smoking has been banned on aeroplanes for the last 15 years it didn't stop a Canadian family of three from lighting up on a flight to the Dominincan Republic. The plane was forced to divert and make an unscheduled landing in Bermuda and the other passengers had to spend the night in a hotel before continuing their journeys the next day. No prizes for guessing who the most unpopular passengers on that flight were!</p>
- Take photos up the skirt of an air hostess
It's no secret that most men find air hostesses rather attractive, but one 34-year-old man took his attraction a little bit far when he was caught taking pictures up the skirt of an airline attendant on a Japan Airways flight. He used a small, pen-shaped micro camera to take the photos and admitted that he couldn't help himself as he was "aroused by uniforms." However, he managed to escape criminal charges - because prosecutors couldn't determine exactly which part of Japan the plane was flying over at the time of the incident.</p>
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