Fat activist Marilyn Wann is promoting two online petitions demanding that the airlines treat fat people reasonably. Here’s what she has to say:
When a human being buys a coach ticket from any airline, I believe that person can reasonably expect having a comfortable and accessible place to sit down during the flight. Fat people currently cannot depend on such a basic service. I believe that fat passengers do not want to encorach on the space of the chair of a thinner passenger adjacent to us. We want our OWN chair!
It is unconscionable to expect some passengers to pay double for something that all passengers should enjoy as a basic service…a safe, accessible, affordable place to sit down. Weight-discriminatory policies could only be proposed in a society that condones and encourages discrimination against fat people.
Recently, United Airlines and Ryan Air (a low-cost European carrier) have both proudly advertised adopting a charge-fatties-double policy. (In the US, United is the last major carrier to adopt such a policy, although not all airlines proudly advertise their divide-and-conquer inhospitality.)
United justified its policy change by stating it had received 700 complaints (out of at least 65 million passengers) last year. I found myself saying on one early morning tv program, “I guarantee you the fat person sitting next to those 700 thin people who complained to United weren’t having a comfortable trip, either. Why is it that thin people feel entitled to complain about discomfort and crowding and fat people don’t?”
The brilliant Lara Frater set up a petition online and gathered in a few days (not a year!) 700 signatures from people of all sizes who oppose weight-discriminatory pricing and policies at United.
Then, just as quickly, some fat-hating person hacked the petition and erased our voices.
I’m writing to ask you to take a moment and sign both of these online petitions to support fat people’s right to participate in air travel. Don’t let this protest go silent!
The new petition against United’s anti-fat policy
The petition against Ryan Air’s anti-fat policy, sponsored by French fat-poz group Allegro Fortissima:
(Note: This link is in French. Basically, it says that Ryan Air is treating people like baggage, and charging for extra kilos whether they’re on you or under the plane, and that this is absurd.)
Airlines need to meet basic costs of doing business (like providing passengers of all sizes with accessible seating) in a manner that is welcoming and hospitable and non-discriminatory.
I’ve signed both petitions. I hope you’ll consider doing the same.