Crushed Woman On Aeroplane

Does Size Matter When Flying?

Group 23

The continuously increasing obesity rate and its socioeconomic consequences have been a matter of discussion for several years. Airline companies have recently reacted to the phenomenon by applying additional charges to overweight passengers. However, several ethical questions arise.

Is it moral to surcharge passengers that occupy a bigger volume? Would it be ethically acceptable if airlines decide to charge passengers according to their body weight?

Airlines and aircraft manufacturers can give answers to those questions by adopting better strategies and innovative thinking.

The present analysis is based on the ability of airlines and manufacturers to maintain or improve their position in the market while providing the highest degree of comfort to their customers. Every decision made by those bodies needs to consider the general principles of fairness, social equality and respect for diversity through which equal treatment can be achieved for all passengers. The different policies followed by airlines, with regards to obesity charges, raise questions about the impact that such strategies may have on the company’s reputation and the moral acceptance that they will receive from the public.

One Person – One Fare

Kant’s moral theory introduced the idea of universal human worth equality postulate through which individuals should be treated with equal concern and respect by others. Following this framework, it can be argued that surcharging overweight passengers is a form of discrimination that undermines the social equality principles. Moral norms should be unconditionally adopted in all situations. However, imposing additional charges on specific passengers according to their body weight or specific needs, leads to a contradiction with airline policies and hence, a general moral law cannot be derived. This is because extra fees are not applied in other situations where increased carrying weight is observed, such as the transportation of wheelchairs by disabled people. The Canadian Transportation Agency issued a one person – one fare policy protecting disabled and clinically obese passengers (BBC). Following the principle of equality, additional costs arising from the increased fuel consumption due to weight should be equally distributed among all passengers rather than being applied to specific individuals.

The internal arrangement of commercial aircraft is usually organised into business and economy class zones both of which may not satisfy the space requirements of an obese person. Although obesity follows an increasing trend (WHO – World Health Organization), airlines are continuously reducing the space available per passenger in an attempt to accommodate more people per flight and increase their profits. The majority of US companies force overweight passengers to book an additional seat if they cannot fit comfortably in a single seat. If they fail to do so, customers risk missing their flight or pay additional fare charges for their transportation. Since the current solutions are associated with practicality and fairness issues, aircraft manufacturers are responsible for improving cabin space conditions. Engineering professional ethics, defined by the codes of conduct of the National Society of Professional Engineers state that professionals are responsible for ensuring the welfare of the public and their customers. This implies that manufacturers have the duty to produce innovative designs that will provide the maximum amount of comfort to all passengers while minimising potential losses to airline companies. A possible solution could be the introduction of adjustable seat size.

Be Fair, Book a Pair

Utilitarianism states that any strategies adopted should aim to optimise the overall comfort and cost which are the main controlling factors of the stakeholders’ happiness. With increasing global obesity and decreasing seat size, comfort value is at its highest. This is exemplified by the fact that the majority of airlines offer additional seating space at an increased cost. Overweight passengers purchasing additional seats is likely to benefit themselves, other passengers and aircraft operators.

A pricing scheme was implemented, in order to quantify and compare the effect of current comfort policies. This is achieved by analysing the value loss to the airline, in the case of decreased passenger comfort due to oversize passengers purchasing a single seat and the case of oversize passengers purchasing an additional ticket, at a reduced cost, as currently practised by Air France. In the case where overweight passengers purchase a single seat, the value loss to the airline due to discomfort was estimated by considering obesity statistics (WHO), and the average airline ticket price. For the comfort case, each oversize passenger was assumed to purchase an additional seat at half the original price, resulting in a value loss to the airline due to the compromised ticket price.

Aircraft Seating Plans
Click to Enlarge

The results from the calculations (figure below) suggest that a £2100 value loss per flight can be prevented by implementing pricing schemes, such as those introduced by Air France. Therefore, it can be concluded that similar strategies can have a positive impact on the company’s value resulting from improved passenger comfort and hence, according to the main principles of utilitarianism, are deemed as a justifiable action.

From the economic and common sense perspectives, fuel is the main variable expense of aircraft operators and can significantly affect ticket price. As fuel consumption is directly proportional to aircraft weight, the contribution of overweight people towards a higher ticket price is more significant.  At the moment, most companies do not discriminate ticket price according to passenger weight, therefore one can conclude that underweight passengers are subsidising overweight passengers. As a result, it is not uncommon for passengers with a lower overall weight contribution (low body weight & heavy luggage) to face a greater financial loss than oversize passengers whose total weight contribution to the aircraft is significantly higher (high body weight & light luggage). A weight-based pricing system can be considered a better alternative, as luggage weight is already financially accounted for, while passenger weight is not.

Fair Fares

From the analysis performed, a greater overall benefit can be achieved by considering the outcomes of the utilitarian approach. Although Kant’s theory raised some important points, it is believed that the implementation of a one person – one fare scheme would assure equality but not necessarily justice. A middle way solution could be the implementation of adjustable seats with a weight-volume pricing scheme, as it will ensure a fair distribution of cost and associated benefits.

67 thoughts on “Does Size Matter When Flying?

  1. Don’t rely too much on the statistics analysis.
    What would happen if customers start avoiding airlines that apply the ‘double seat policy’ especially overweight passengers solely because they disapprove the companies policy and as a result the overall profits decrease?

    1. Based on the fact that overweight people are a minority, the airline companies are favoring a bigger customer segment (i.e. the non overweight) by applying such a policy and thus it is unlikely the companies will have any detriment (Maybe in 50 years though this is not the case as the overweight people percentage in the world is rising). The final proposal however, is not about a double seat policy but about a middle ground solution with adjustable seats and a weight-volume pricing scheme algorithm. Remember, sometimes trying to be equal with everyone in a very simplistic way, you can end up not being fair.

  2. Also depending on the body type of each person, some people weighting the same amount might fit comfortably in a single seat while others will require two seats. How can you distinguish who should purchase an additional seat or not?

  3. How about we position people that require more space with people that require less space next to each other to ensure comfort to both passengers?

  4. A good idea perhaps is including the option of purchasing two continues seats during booking and allow customers decide if they require more than one seat. How will that work out? How will you deal with customers that should have purchased an additional seat but still didn’t?

  5. How about implementing a policy in which overweight customers must purchase a luxury seat which contains additional space? How will this approach effect the overall profits and in which ways? Will the number of empty seats increase? How about implementing a combination of methods for ex: Purchase a luxury seat, if all luxury seats are reserved purchase two continues seats.

      1. Agreed. We believe though, that thee marketing policy has room for improvement in this direction and we as engineers have the duty of trying to show the way to them by offering innovative solutions to the problem pushing towards what we believe to be a more ethically right and fair solution.

    1. A very good idea that could potentially solve the problem, but airlines are likely to miss out on the greatest revenue stream that is business class and first class. By selling these valuable seats at a reduced price they will lose the hundreds or even thousands of pounds they would otherwise recieve from a wealthy customer paying full price. A good solution would be a compromise where the first rows of economy class are equipped with wider seats which will have a higher price, similarly to what is currently done with extra legroom seats. The higher price for the wider seats could also include a higher service/amenity standard so that oversize passengers do not feel discriminated against due to their ‘natural tendency’ to want to buy these more expensive seats due to their size.

  6. That’s quite an interesting ‘dilemma’ as both points of view seem to be fair and just, but for two different groups of people. Unfortunately, it is a fact that larger people are indeed discomforted in the normal plane seats and in most cases discomfort the people next to them. So considering that, even from an ethical point of view, as individuals they might feel better with the double seat. If they walked in the plane and it was set up like a living room, they would of course choose to sit on the large comfy arm chair instead of a normal chair (anyone would for that matter – but they’d do it for even more reasons). Ergo, it might just be a matter of the freeedom of choice for the passenger; instead of selecting a pair of seats because you’re obese, you can have the CHOICE of selecting a second discounted chair next to you IF you satisfy certain criteria (i.e. weight).

    Overall I’d say I agree with the double seat policy but maybe it just needs better handling and promotion.

    1. That is an interesting view on this topic Koko especially the living room scenario although it does come across as politically incorrect. You talk about fairness and justice regarding points of view yet you assume overweight people would choose to sit on a large “comfy” arm chair for even “more” reasons than an average weight human. My question therefore is how do you justify such a view, because it seems that you are inciting obesity is a result of lifestyle “CHOICES” and not a disease as it is officially recognized as by the American Medical Association.
      If so, I find your comment highly offensive.

    2. Interesting point of view. Even though the double seat solution has been adopted by several companies, several flaws exist to this policy which have been identified. One example is the fact that it is too exposing towards the oversized passengers as they are the only one doing such a thing in the aircraft. On the other hand a solution such as the one suggested in the epilogue doesn’t offer such a thing as everyone will be adjusting their seats inside the aircraft.

  7. Don’t rely too much on the statistics analysis.
    What would happen if customers start avoiding airlines that apply the ‘double seat policy’ especially overweight passengers solely because they disapprove the companies policy and as a result the overall profits decrease?

    Also depending on the body type of each person, some people weighting the same amount might fit comfortably in a single seat while others will require two seats. How can you distinguish who should purchase an additional seat or not?

    How about we position people that require more space with people that require less space next to each other to ensure comfort to both passengers?

    A good idea perhaps is including the option of purchasing two continues seats during booking and allow customers decide if they require more than one seat. How will that work out? How will you deal with customers that should have purchased an additional seat but still didn’t?

    How about implementing a policy in which overweight customers must purchase a luxury seat which contains additional space? How will this approach effect the overall profits and in which ways? Will the number of empty seats increase? How about implementing a combination of methods for ex: Purchase a luxury seat, if all luxury seats are reserved purchase two continues seats.

  8. Interesting topic…… Very Good Job… I think the airline companies will be interested regarding a thorought study all of the points analysed and mentioned above.

  9. The author seems to know how to attract viewers!(smart article)
    In my opinion if the aircraft companies apply any extra charges there is a danger to be charged for discrimination!
    Nice job for the article.

    1. Don’t you think though the non overweight and non oversized people are already discriminated? Leaving the situation as it is, the price per kg or cm of width is higher for lighter and smaller people than bigger and heavier ones. The solution suggested at the end though provides one price per kg and cm of width for everyone. Is this discrimination?

  10. Punishing customers for their weight may be unethical however business is business and cannot be neglected. The formulae for calculating value loss per flight, should be better considered so that it reflects more accurate the loss due to weight. Body weight and luggage allowance relationship should be better considered so that this correlation between the two is better reflected in the price. For example, a heavy customer with a light luggage should be positively affected as the total weight may be lower than of a thin customer with a heavy luggage.

    1. Agreed, however, the best way to calculate the value loss/gain is by seeing similar measures taken by companies in the past or by implementing this change yourself since otherwise any predicting approach can be extremeley complicated, innacurate and misleading. If there is a value gain to the company, then customer base is overall happier and thus according to utilitariarism this is more ethical. However, this doesn’t take into account the different amount of detriment or pleasure each one felt due to this change but rather assumes equal amount of pleasure and detriment to everyone.

  11. Cannot see disabled people not being charged if overweights are charged. Them two have very similar space and weight additional requirements. Therefore it comes done to why you need that extra.

    If you are overweight due to a medical condition? or you are just too tall? or you are too heavy for work purposes (athletes for example)? Or if you just like your self over weight.

    Ethically – who is competent to draw that line between ‘acceptable’ and ‘taxable’ fat. Is ‘fat tax’ gonna be calculated per fuel? Will low fat be refundable? Which medical conditions are ‘acceptable’ for tax exclusion?

    If business is business as per the comment above; best of luck to the person that is gonna draw that line

    1. Agreed. We believe though that to draw such a line is not the company’s duty but the goverment’s instead (NHS). People should have the right to try to prove that they are overweight due to a medical condition and thus be excluded from the additional fare.

  12. I believe that this is an issue that anyone who travels has experienced in their life at least once.
    It is an unpleasant situation for both obese and non-obese people when this happens. In my opinion, from an ethics point of view, this is not acceptable and it intervenes with some of the human rights that everyone has.
    On the other hand, since the size of seats in airplanes keeps decreasing to accommodate more people, this is an issue that keeps increasing. The seats of airplanes are quite uncomfortable for non-obese people as well, so imagine how an obese person is struggling during their flight. It would be best if there was a middle solution that would fit both airlines and passengers (obese and non-obese). For the time being, although unethical, I believe it is a good enough idea for obese people to purchase an additional seat next to them for their own comfort as well as everyone else’s at a lower price so that it is more fair on them too.

    1. Those are very strong arguments that describe customers’ requirements when they buy a ticket. Whether you are obese or not you have the right to feel comfortable during the flight.

    2. Spot on! In the end the ethical responsibility could be down to both aircraft manufacturers and airlines as the specification of cabin layout, seat width and pitch(distance at the same point between two seats in consecutive rows) is their responsibility. They should, therefore, consider their customer’s needs and wellbeing instead of sacrificing them in the sake of money by squeezing the rows together so that a few more seats can be fitted on the plane.

  13. It’s an interesting dilemma,
    The truth is regardless of what changes, there will always be some sort of unfairness in the industry. The airline pays for the extra weight (In fuel cost) therefore that cost has to passed on to someone else. I think a good point to mention though is that in the cAse of musicians, especially ones with heavy and expensive ones, like a cello, they have to book a seat, just so they can take the instrument with them.
    I would strongly suggest 2 things:
    First is, I second on of the comments here, where airlines could seat lighter passengers next to ones that need more space (even though this creates unfairness for the lighter customers) and this way they don’t have to extra charge anyone.
    Second, create weight “buckets” similar to age groups that already exist, and use that to determine the price of the ticket.

    1. I will agree with the fact that increased weight means fuel cost and increased volume is translated to sacrificed comfort. However, I am slightly skeptical with solutions involving scaling passengers before they fly. In addition, what happens in situations where a disabled person needs to carry a wheelchair? Will airline companies charge extra for that as well?

  14. This article is quite interesting and a big issue to raise, not only because it happens in real life but also because this is a racist behavior from popular companies. Everyone has the right to travel and providing to them equal benefits. The past few years the prices become cheaper and that means, there is no satisfying service and the plane becomes more like a bus because of plenty of small and not comfortable seats and the lack of entertainment. In my opinion, the best solution is to make all the seats bigger and more comfortable so as people of all sizes can feel comfortable at their traveling time. If companies want to get more money, getting money from people with more weight is not the best way. Companies could raise a lit of bit the ticket price for all of the passengers, but they would need to have more services and entertainment on the plane so as it will deserve the price which they pay.

    1. Very good point about the price decrease. Ever since the rise of ‘low-cost’ airlines, every service that would be considered essential a decade ago is now a luxury(e.g. on-board meals). What you suggest already exists as non low-cost airlines provide a variety of services and onboard entertainment for even the most basic economy seats. Your idea could work if a minimum seat size was globally enforced by the Civil Aviation Authorities, so that essential comfort is not sacrificed for the sake of lower air fares.

  15. In accordance to the article fuel consumption is directly proportional to the weight of aircraft, the contribution of overweight people to the highest ticket price is more important.

    Brian Sumers an aviation expert, explains to ABC, this phenomenon is not as rare as we think. “Every plane has a maximum weight that can take off and can not lift the plane with a greater weight than that”.

    Some airlines as Samoa Airline and Uzbekistan Airways weigh their passengers before boarding the plane! Air France according to the article also charges passengers who have not joined a single seat. This airline has, since 2005, offered over-the-air passengers the opportunity to buy a second ticket at a 25% discount. In the United States, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines have forced overweight travelers to buy a second place, but these policies have already caused many passenger reactions. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that obese people or people with disabilities traveling by air are not obliged to buy a second place.

    On the other hand, it is not unreasonable for airlines to charge additional passengers if they hold more seats than the other. On the other hand, many will argue that it is the duty of companies to adjust the size of the seats to suit all types of passengers. My opinion is that a “obesity tax” will cause many reactions and is a particularly.

    All in all, I would say that I agree with the dual seat policy, but it may just need better handling and promotion. A weight-based pricing system can be considered a better alternative, as the weight of the luggage is already financially accounted for, while the weight of the passengers is not.

    1. I definitely agree with the main points analysed Oria, especially with the importance of marketing policies when implementing solutions like those described. However, would strategies of charging customers according to their weight have any effect on their comfort? In my opinion, this will only benefit the airline companies.

  16. Reading the article few questions come to my mind. First of all, if for example a passenger with high muscle mass weighs, lets say, 100kg and a child with high fat mass index weighs also 100kg who should pay increased fare and who should not. Furthermore, airline companies need to be clear on whether this is a matter of pure discrimination or if there is an actual reason why overweight or obese passengers need to pay more. It can also be argued that the profit made by the companies is not likely to be greatly affected in any case therefore, what is the reason of imposing extra charges to specific passengers?
    Finally, I would say that I agree with the option of allowing obese passengers to purchase an additional seat but only if they want to or if they need to feel more comfortable since I am not completely sure in what extend aircraft’s fuel consumption is affected by cabin space weight (considering the fact that other features such as the luggage or the engines have much higher mass).

    1. x2rp, any form of weight on a plane will affect fuel consumption. The engines I’m sure that you’d agree are a necessary component of the plane and the luggage-related fuel consumption is financially accounted for. In any case, the double fare was not suggested as a ‘penalty’ or compensation to the airline of overweight passengers’ higher contribution to fuel consumption but as a price in exchange for a higher standard of comfort and a nicer flight experience all around.

      Although you are correct that overweight passengers should only purchase a second seat if they want to and feel comfortable to do so, you have not considered the effect on adjacent passengers. Their flight experience could be significantly affected by an overweight passenger who decided not to buy two seats and is instead taking up much of their space.

  17. The article raises a very relevant and sensitive issue. Due to the increasing obesity levels within the population a solution is desperately needed. The idea of adjustable seating is good if it could work as it would be fair and provide comfort to all passengers.

  18. We all leave in the today’s world of customization. Either you buy a sandwich, clothes, a car, a house, accommodation, holidays and so many other products and services in today’s world, customization is everywhere. What you pay at the end of the day is according to what you get. In my opinion the one person-one fair theory can not be applicable any more. In the case of airline companies, weight is indeed a critical factor and over weighted passengers should be imposed additional charges. Adjustable seating for a number of seats on the plane could be a good way for obese passengers to seat more comfortably by paying an additional charge.

    1. I agree with that since making everyone happy with the current seating policy is not possible. I do understand that there are manufacturing costs associated with the adjustable seating solution and that fuel consumption is affected by weight, however, I am still not sure whether those costs should be equally distributed among all passengers or if they need to be applied to those occupying more space. Afterall, everyone will enjoy the benefits of customized seat size.

  19. This article deals with a very serious existing issue. I believe that airline companies should terminate the selling of uniform price tickets and should start selling seats with different prices, depending on the total body and luggage weight of each passenger. In this way, for example obese or extremely tall passengers could enjoy the flight by paying additional charge or pay travelling with reduced luggage weight. The more expensive and comfortable seats could also be used by non obese or non extremely tall passengers, who will be allowed to carry additional luggage weight, provided they would pay the extra charge.

  20. A very interesting article that addresses a sensitive issue. How would the adjustable seat solution work? In relation to the double seat policy, how will you assess who requires two seats? Will passengers have to disclose their weight when booking flights? Who, then, will assess whether that is considered overweight and whether that passenger will require two seats? Asking passengers to disclose whether they fall into the overweight category and then charging the full price for an additional seat would most likely detract passengers from flying with that specific airline company. A balance must be struck between the benefits received by the passengers and the benefits received by the airline company. Charging less than the full price for an additional seat would affect the airline’s profits; however, asking overweight passengers to pay an additional fee for an extra seat is unfair on them. In addition, doing nothing about this issue will most likely affect the comfort of other passengers.

  21. For me the issue is what exactly am I buying when I purchase an airline seat. Is it a defined volume? If so, then I expect to be able to occupy that volume comfortably and without the intrusion of anyone else, since they have their own volume.

    Given that people have a range of sizes, it would make more sense if there was a choice of seating types. I often pay just a bit extra to get extra leg room, so why not allow someone to pay just a bit extra for extra width too?

    Utilitarianism can be described as giving the most pleasure to the most people. In this particular case, allowing everyone to fly comfortably suggests the current one size for all approach isn’t acceptable. However, you’ve considered a number of ethical angles already in your argument.

  22. Ethics! It is all Greek to me! Ethics are expected to answer questions related to “ethos”, therefore, what is commonly acceptable by a society and what concerns this society.
    In this regards this is a very interesting and well-articulated article, tackling the issue of obesity, as a societal problem, vis a vis an engineering issue with significant economic impact.
    Air companies should have different size sits and different …areas with extra space for tall people with no extra charge as this is not only an issue of cofort but also an issue of health! Let us not forget the recent problems with deep vein thrombosis in people sitting long time in economy seats.
    Very good work demonstrating the skills of the writers in Ethics as well as Engineering and Socioeconomic challenges!

  23. The article is a very interesting. The airline companies should start the selling different size of seats depends on the body and luggage of each passenger. This will be name as A class seats, B class seats, etc with corresponding price.

  24. While this article makes an attempt at neutrality, the stereotypical portrayal of fat people in the accompanying cartoon sets a fatphobic tone from the beginning by depicting a helpless but frustrated thin person between a fat woman eating an entire container of ice cream and a fat man who is drunk and snoring. It is accurate to say that it can be frustrating and uncomfortable for customers to be squeezed into too-small accommodations, both for the customer in question and for whomever is sitting next to them. It is not accurate to imply that all fat flyers treat their fellow flyers with disregard while rudely acting as if the person next to them does not exist. In fact, the opposite is actually true. Most fat people flying do everything can to make the experience more comfortable for other passengers, because they know firsthand how rudely they will be treated because of their body size. (For reference, I suggest reviewing the animated documentary “Flying While Fat” by Stacy Bias).

    A challenge not mentioned by the article (but mentioned by several commenters) is that, if the issue is weight, there is no way to determine weight simply by appearance for people who are not visibly fat. In other words, a tall muscular 250 pound man might not be asked to pay for an extra seat while a short, fat 250 pound woman would be. The weight impact on the flight is the same, but passengers and airline staff are not reacting to actual weight, they are reacting to size.

    If the issue is space, the question that still needs to be addressed is whether it is true that passengers are paying for space (“real estate” on the plane) or transportation (passage from point A to point B). As pricing is set according to location, it would seem that passengers are paying for transport. In that case, one person = one fare. Variables based on body size are not fair within that understanding.

  25. Interesting article. However, each initial change will bring up different opinions and probable serious arguments. However, ethics and health must be in consideration.

  26. Very interesting article!! Well, when I was a student at the university, a long time ago, I used to think that it was unfair to pay for excessive weight since I was thin, while overweight passengers were not charged. The issue though is not a black and white case! Now that I’m more concerned with human rights and taking ethics into consideration, I believe that fares must be the same regardless of their weight. Lots of people nowadays are overweight due to a certain illness. What should these people do when they decide to travel? Run to the doctor’s for getting documents to show at the check-in? Personally, I wouldn’t. Obesity has nothing to do with excessive baggage weight.

  27. As far as I know, nowadays Finnair is asking some volunteers to measure their weight before boarding so that should be taken into consideration when measuring average weight of passengers. Samoa Air is already charging passengers based on their body weight, while Hawaiian Airlines are measuring passengers weight before boarding for evenly distributing weight on plane for balance purposes.
    In my opinion passengers weight is an issue that should be taken into consideration, not for overcharging obese passengers but for considering weight in relation to flight safety, especially at hot weather were air density is lower and efficiency of aircraft engines is reduced.

  28. Modern aircraft are designed for maximum capacity and reduced comfort. This is evident by the fact that obesity rate increases whereas seat-size follows a decreasing pattern over the last years. In my opinion, airline companies have the duty to at least give the choice to overweight passengers to book extra space if that will make them feel more comfortable during the flight.

    In addition, I believe that this is not a matter of weight but space since companies want to accommodate as many passengers as possible. Therefore, I find it a bit harsh to charge specific customers based on their weight.

  29. In the modern World of the Social Media, the publicity and the Social opinion will determine the way an airline will react to the one option or the other.
    The Market Forces are ever greater than and the consumer has a view and attitude to determine what the Airline will adopt as its strategy and position in the Market.

  30. Overcharging obese passengers, especially in cases where underlying medical conditions is the reason for their excessive weight (e.g. hypothyroidism), is unethical.

    In my opinion, Airline companies have the responsibility of ensuring maximum quality services (e.g. comfort, food ) compared to the price the customers are paying, no matter their size. However, their strategy to increase the number of people transported per flight by shrinking the seat size tends to boost their revenue but the quality of their service is continuously worsening. The obesity problem addressed in this article is not high-priority for the companies and also conflicts with their overall strategy. As a result, the problem is simply confronted by either charging two seats to overweight customers or one person – one fare policy with the danger of reducing the quality of others experience.

    I really liked the idea of adjustable seats but is only up to the companies willingness to investigate this idea more and address this problem.

  31. Very interesting topic which should definitely be considered by the airlines! The utilitarianism approach could be used as a solution to this ethical dilemma, however setting values to the net benefits and harms in order to calculate the cost-benefit analysis is very difficult and biased. Based on the golden rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” I believe someone who is overweight should not be treated as different. Therefore, in my opinion your suggestion for adjustable seats could be the fairest solution for everybody. Since this ethical issue becomes increasingly important with the increased obesity rate, your innovative idea of adjustable seats could be a potential solution to this ethically complex problem!

  32. Interesting article indeed!
    Passengers who occupy a bigger volume have the right to travel as comfortable as all the other people. It is obvious that if someone is “big”, he/she comes up with the problem of less space and discomfort when flying. Therefore aircraft companies should have a number of spacious seats (maybe adjustable seats) in every flight so that all passengers can travel nice and comfortably with no extra charge!Nevertheless in that case, the problem of the company´s profit rises, so the company its own should design a study in order to determine which will be the suitable number of bigger seats a flight could have and keeps the profit if the company in a high level

  33. Very interesting article on a current issue affecting the comfort of thousands of passengers daily. Although the raised points are valid and reasonable, I don’t think that forcing overweight passengers to pay more would improve the situation as the consequences on individuals and the industry will potentially be prohibitly catastrophic. In my eyes, the ethical issue is down to the whole airline industry, manufacturers and airlines alike, and their lack of consideration regarding oversize passengers and their individual comfort and happiness needs.

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