Obese airline passengers are a costly load
Now the airlines, too, want us to lose weight. They've joined doctors, nutritionists, animal-rights activists and spouses in nagging us to eat less and better.
The airlines have a good reason: The extra fuel it takes to airlift obese, portly and merely chubby people around the world is getting really expensive.
Major airlines say that the average American weights 4.5 kilos more than a decade ago, and that the fuel to get off the ground and stay airborne while carrying that extra weight costs $275 million U.S. per year.
Some airlines are fighting back. SouthWest, for one, requires obese passengers to pay for two seats. Meanwhile, the Canadian government wants to be sure that average body weights, used to calculate total aircraft loading, are up to date. Transport Canada blamed just that kind of miscalculation for a crash last January that killed 10 people.
These seem like reasonable measures. But we just wish we could shake the nagging suspicion that concern about passenger plumpness may explain the alarming quality of so much airline food - we might pig out on the ground, but airlines seem determined to make sure nobody eats much while up in the air.