The Globe and Mail reported a day or two ago that a Canadian court has ruled that Air Canada (the yuk factor outfit still operating as Canada's flag carrier) and Westjet (another Canadian airline), can't charge disabled people two airfares if they require their carers to fly with them. I think one can argue about this, but at least I can see how the court could reach the conclusion that charging such passengers two airfares is probably unjust.
What bugs me is that the same ruling is also seen to apply to seriously overweight people. The judgment is basically this: if you are too big for one regular seat, the airline must provide you free of charge with two seats. This is the most bizarre judgment I have ever seen (I'd love to know the judge's weight on this one ...). Here's the problem: for most overweight people (if not for all of them), the decision to eat too much or too many fattie things has resulted into them being overweight. They are by and large responsible for their predicament. Disabled people cannot usually be held responsible for their disability.
So, what would be unjust about charging the overweight crowd for the extra space that they need, and possibly even for the extra fuel needed to transport their fat around the world in an aeroplane? At the end of the day what we are doing as airline passengers is to purchase SPACE on a plane going from A to B (frequently via C, D, and E), as well as the right to truly horrendous 'service', food for purchase, the right to look at armrests and similarly amazing goodies.
My view on this issue would be that if you need more space than the average passenger you ought to be charged for the extra space. Some accommodation is frequently rightly made for very tall people (they didn't choose to grow that tall), so we often find them sitting in emergency exit rows. All that is sensible, but why people's wrong eating habits should be beneficial to them in terms of the space airlines must now provide to them without being permitted to charge them extra, completely escapes me.
Wrong verdict, and wrong message sent out to society. I need to reconsider, obviously. Perhaps I should aim to gain quite a bit of weight before I board my next intercontinental flight, so that even in economy an airlines must provide me with plenty of space. All that this means, in the real world, is that people of average size must subsidize the space overweight people require (free of charge). That is unjust. It is so evidently unjust that one wonders in which dreamworld the judges reside that passed this judgment. If anything, as a society we have a strong public health interest in encouraging people to lose weight. It's good for them and it's good for our health care bill. Perhaps uncomfortable plane seats could be a good start!