Travel News > February 2010 > Fat tax gets thumbs up from passengers

Fat tax gets thumbs up from passengers


Airlines are right to insist that over-weight passengers pay for a second seat, according to a poll last week.

The vast majority of passengers who responded to the questionnaire on travel website Skyscanner said they agreed obese passengers should pay more.

The survey was carried out after newspapers misreported that Air France, the national airline of the country that brought us such calorific foods as foie gras and croissants, was about to introduce a new policy of charging out-size passengers for two seats instead of one.

In fact, Air France has been giving passengers who can't fit comfortably into one seat the option of buying a second at a 25 per cent discount for the past five years. What's changed is that in future the airline will refund the extra fee for the second seat if the flight is not sold out.

Seventy-six per cent of (presumably the skinniest) respondents to the Skyscanner survey said they thought a fat tax was fair; perhaps they would also want exceptionally tall passengers to buy the seat in front of them too, and those with poor personal hygiene be forced to wash before boarding.

Though Air France is the first European airline to offer large passengers the option of buying a second seat, several US airlines insist that passengers who can't fit into a single seat pay for two economy seats or upgrade to business class.

While it might seem reasonable to suggest that airlines simply ensured their seats were bigger, this is unlikely to happen given the current economic climate is forcing them to do precisely the opposite - that is, to cram more passengers into even smaller spaces.

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