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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pay More for that "Big Body" Luggage

"Novice budget travelers should learn to pack lightly before mastering any other money-saving technique. Now more than ever, airlines are imposing hefty penalties for heavy baggage," I read this somewhere - but with no intention to get airborne any time soon - and said, "okay, fair enough for the so-named novice budget traveller." "I'll surely be one someday and I'll heed the advice to the letter," I murmured as I hoped to a different tab I had opened on my Apple iMac computer (yes I own one, the office one of course).

But this other tab had a problem (or was it something unusual) with a certain group of people. It was talking about one of those many surveys. Since statistics and me are utterly inseparable, I developed an immediate affection and my curious side of the brain took over the reigns of wanting to know more. And knowing more I did!

Some skinny or average-weighed surveyors at Skyscanner, a travel website, must have been having problems or complaints from equally skinnier colleagues travelling to various locations under the unwanted and unwarranted company of their superiors, in weight.

So what did they do? They decided to conduct a survey on whether airlines should charge overweight passengers more if they (passengers) needed an extra seat, in what they called a "fat tax." 

Only 22 percent of the 550 people questioned disapproved of introducing extra payments for overweight passengers. In other words, 88 percent, 484 juvenile-like and insensitive people questioned approved the introducing of extra payments for our overweight colleagues.

I don't condone eating without excess-food governors fixed - even if it's loose - in one's food-crushing and belly-drowning machines, neither do I condone surveys that can cause emotional distress to travellers. While it is okay to accept one's body size, the modern world has taken "big persons" big bodies to be a disease. Of course it is, to some extent. But which airline cares? Air France? Oh c'mon!

Apparently, Air France has, since 2005, offered overweight passengers the option to buy a second seat at a 25 percent discount. I wonder how many have taken the option.

But isn't it prudent and advisable for these airlines to design seats that can accommodate all and sundry? Why design seats that can and will only fit my fifty-something kilograms body weight, and almost-invisible butt within 500m, without reasoning that Mr. Paul Wight, a.k.a The Big Show, might want to come to Kenya and burn out some of his 220kg while chasing a chameleon at the Masai Mara Game Reserve?

Some respondents to the poll said it was airlines' responsibility to make seats for all shapes and sizes of passengers, while others suggested that the charge should be calculated on the weight of the passenger plus their luggage. Now the former group of respondents reason. The latter, well, they must be thinking the Wright Brothers discovered, invented and built the airplane for them only. How wrong they ought to know they are.

But with such "recent developments," one never fails to wonder what "fat tax" overweight people would have to pay in the not-so-distant future. But one thing that is for sure, they will be required to pay something extra. "Fat tax" on entering a boutique, shopping at a supermarket, driving through a highway with less-fat people, searching for information on average-sized-only websites, and et cetera.

But in the meantime, overweight passengers will perhaps have to pay for that extra luggage, which happens to be the chunks and more chunks of fat embracing their bodies. 

Crazy world I tell you. But before it reaches even crazier for "Miss and Mister Fatty fatties," let me continue starving, lest I miss that all-expenses paid flight to watch Liverpool FC play Kenya's Gor Mahia at a newly built Stanley Park Stadium in Stanley Park, Liverpool, England.   

See you there. If you ever get there.

Now let met get back to my reading. About the novice budget travelers of course.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!