Are ‘fatties’ making flying unsafe?

Australia’s obesity crisis has led to many a suggestion that airlines should start charging extra for overweight passengers.

Pago Pago airport in Samoa is already weighing passengers in an attempt to correctly balance seating arrangements on planes. A proposal by British company Fuel Matrix suggests that passengers be individually weighed at check-in, so ground crew can more correctly estimate the fuel required for a flight.

But according to Peter O’Donohue, chief of Qantas’ 787 Dreamliner program, passengers in Australia will not be charged on a per weight basis, because airlines are not allowed to discriminate on grounds of weight, reports eGlobal Travel.

However, because the average weight of Australians is steadily increasing, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Australia’s air safety regulator, is considering adding an extra 5kg to the estimated average passenger weight, because existing regulations no longer reflect reality.

When CASA calculated its existing guidelines in 1990, just 36.5 per cent of the population was overweight. Nowadays, 67 per cent of the population fall into that category.

According to eGlobal Travel, airlines use CASA guidelines to help calculate the gross weight of an aircraft – which must be within certain limits to fly.

Do you think passengers should be weighed and charged extra? Or is this discrimination?

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