Monday, April 20, 2009

United Airlines

So United Airlines has become the latest in the line of airlines who plan to charge fat fliers for a 2nd seat.

Based on their criteria, is you need a more than one extended (I don't) or can't put the arm rest down (I can) or fill part of another a seat you will be forced to get a 2nd seat. If none is available you will not be allowed to fly.

Thankfully, Canada has the one person one fare policy. Not so thankfully, nowhere else on the planet does.

when my extended family went away last year the travel agent made my grandmother buy two seats for me. Did I use two? Nope. did I get two? Nope. Did my grandmother get any money back? Nope. Did the airline ask any questions? Nope.

Frankly, thought I have never ever for a day in my life wanted to be, I am fat (anyone who says "so do something about it" can go !@#$%^. I only wish it were that easy). Although I am sure people beg to differ, have never had problems flying (Although I live in dread for weeks ahead of time every time I need to fly that I will be humiliated in public as I look like I should need two, but carry my weight in such a way I never have). I fly with my husband and daughter who combined probably do not fill a single seat- so if they have no issue, should you 3 or 4 or five seats away?

Have you seen some of the comments on these stories? They are repugnant and an completely inappropriate for dealing with any other living being, let alone a human one! Many of these people are outright discriminating and these are the people who are going to decide if I need to spend an extra $1400 to go visit my family?

The article says they received over 700 complaints last year. Do the math. Let's guess 10 flights a day (although I am pretty sure it is well more than that) and say 200 people on a flight (although again I suspect the number is actually much higher). So 2000 people a day, times 365 days a year is 73000 people. So less than 1% of people had issues.

Now how many people do you think complained about other things that are not being touched? how many complained about the lack of legroom? The lousy food? A screen not working? I was on a flight last year where my entire group, 30+ people complained about the screens not working on one flight. How many complaints were about 1 person who may have been a real problem on a plane?

I will agree that it is unfair to sit practically on top of someone for the entire flight, but frankly, if you are going to start enforcing that than other changes need to be made as well. I have spent flights with babies who are not mine practically in my lap for the whole flight. I have spent flights with adults or children who have fallen asleep on my shoulder and seem to be incapable of moving. I have spent time on flights with people who have bad knees and spent the whole time stretching into "my leg space". If they are going to enforce a "pay for what you use" policy they need to be more uniform about doing so.

If someone does buy 2 seats, are they entitled to double the luggage? Twice the meals? Twice the service? If it is being treated as a disability are people to get the other services offered to the disabled? Prime seating areas? First choice of seats?

People are so friggen' blind when it comes to discrimination. If it is not an obvious discrimination with which they do not agree, you can make up all sorts of excuses to allow anything.

The following is a facebook conversation with the other person's name removed so as to protect their privacy. For reference sake, a kupah is socialized healthcare that exists in this country. Every citizen pays a portion (4 something %) towards the cost of keeping it running, and every citizen is entitled to make use of it.

The thread was started by someone genuinely (I think) interested in a discussion about whether this was a good tihng or not. His title was

Is it a crime to be fat? with a link to this article http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2009/04/united_oversize.php (and the horrible comments therein.

(I am removing non related to the dialogue comments) I am in italics just to make it easier ot read. The conversation is slightly out of order as I was responding to post on the site before they came in to my in box and vice versa I am certain. I am sure she is well versed in her field and knowledgable, but to my mind the prejudice holds just the same. To tell me that in a socialist system, where everybody is equal, except some are substantially less equal- that I have issues with. As I said, I agree that airplanes are a seperate issue, but to tell me I am less worthy of medical care even though I am not using the resources she claims I am? to tell me I am different from others becuase I am not dead? This is where I have major issues.


Her

I want to preface my comment by saying that while I obviously have some strong opinions on the health status of the morbidly obese, I don't judge them as people. But yes, being that heavy (what the medical profession would term seriously obese to morbidly obese) is a lifestyle choice - obviously not everyone (myself included) can be a size 6. But no one's genetic makeup *forces* them to be a size 3X. One may be predisposed to be heavier, but diet and exercise (other lifestyle choices) can bring you down to a much healthier weight.
In terms of "eating up" resources in the kupat holim. The kupat holim is just that - a joint kuppah. Each person pays 4.8% of their salary in bituach briut, which in turn gets distributed amongst the kupot holim based on the number of members. It is a fact that the seriously obese have far greater risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease - which are all costly illnesses and have costly outcomes.

Me

Sorry, but if it is for everyone, than everyone share alike. Being fat may lead to certain complication, but many other lifestyle issues lead to high risks in other areas. Beach bums lead to skin cancer. Chareidi lifestyle leads to vitamin D deficiencies and thus various cancers, as well as to higher pregnancy rates. Who are you to say "fat" is any worse than any of the others? Like I said, I am a whole lot healthier than many of my tiny friends.

Her

...since there is a finite amount of money in the kupah, and it has to be used to meet all the needs of its members, when money is spent on diabetes, blood pressure, etc., there is less money to spend on other things (birth control, cancer medications, etc.). I just think that being seriously obese serves no one's greater interest and if people who were that obese (along with smokers) knew they'd be in a kupat holim where they'd have to either lose weight or pay the price, it might be a good incentive. lets say that there are 6 million citizens and 600 million shekels (just to make a nice number) in the collective kupah coffers. maccabi has one million people, so it would get 100 million NIS, meuhedet had 2 million ppl so it would get 200 million, and so on. lets say of the one million maccabi members 250,000 are obese and 70% have expensive obesity related illnesses. Lets say each obese person costs the kupah 200 NIS per year in diabetes care (its way more) - that 35 million spent

Me

and again, how is that different from any of the other lifestyles I listed? The person who spends hours on a beach, or had a huge number of children?

Her

that's my whole point - obesity (and again, smoking) related illnesses do not share alike when it comes to the kupat holim - they require a disproportionate amount of funds to treat the issues, leaving markedly less for other things. the higher pregnancy rates and the 10 kids disprove your point. that brings 10 more peopel (and thus that much more money) into the kupah.

Me

by your definition everyone must spend equal ammounts of time in the sun, equal amounts of time out of the sun, have the same number of children, work in jobs with the same potential for injury, etc.

so you are saying that because I am staying alive and not breeding regularly I end up costing the kupah more? There are loads of other things I am not doing that are not costing the kupah anything. By your logic, people who are more active should never be allowed to be so as they might injure themselves, stay alive, and need treatment indefinitely- or they should be forced into their own kupah.

Her

and yes, certain lifestyle choices bring inherent risk (and inherent cost) with them, but none on as great a scale or as wide a cost as obesity and smoking. 90% of adults have vitamin D deficiency because they spend most of the day working.

if obesity didn't cost the kupat holim so much money, then why do they fund gastric bypass surgery for anyone over a certain BMI? because its cheaper for the health system to pay for that surgery then to pay for the associated costs of a lifetime of obesity.

i think you're missing the point of a kupat holim - its to spread the risk equally and evenly, and when you have a cetain demogrpahic of people using a grossly disproportionate amount of the resources, that makes a lot less resources for the rest of the people. obviously there can't be a kupah for cancer-free, illness-free, sick-free people. that isn't the point. but like the airplane seat analogy, if someone takes up more than his/her alloted seat, that means one other person is going to get less than his/her allotted seat. in your case, you have a spouse who takes up less and would happily share hiss eat with you, so that's great. but not everyone has that. why should I be "penalized" and get less than a full seat because I'm sitting next to someone who chooses to be obese? same goes for the kupah...why shoudl I get less services because so many people choose to be obese?

Me

No one on as a large a scale? In what world? We are no larger a segment of society than the 90% you listed above! The fact that it is super common does not make it any more problematic.

I am very glad you are not in the position to understand. Really, I would not wish the hateful things I have heard on anyone- but to say we are less worthy of being alive (see your comments above where you were pretty clear that part of the difference that makes it so much worse is that we continue to need treatment rather than ceasing to exist!) seems rather inappropriate don't you think?

If a child is born with severe, life affecting disabilities, would you have them uninsured or not saved at birth? And there are huge risks associated with it.

And they do not fund it as you described.

And there are huge risks associated with it. You would have someone go through major surgery, under anesthetic, so you can have a more comfortable seat on a plane?

where is an example of you getting less services? Each gets what they need? If god forbid you are injured that does not mean I begrudge you getting the services you need. As I said, currently the only thing I am "taking" from the kupah is my daughters strep throat medicine. In 30 years I am rarely sick, have 0 issues and presume most people take more tan I do from the kupah.

What does bother me is skinny people who think that just because I am fat means that I have less right to regular treatment than they do. If you were to one day see me sitting in the kupah waiting for, oh, I don't know, a strep test, I am 100% sure you would think about how much "extra" I am taking from the kupah- regaurdless of whether you have the slightest knowledge of my or not.

I could have never been there before in my life and you would jump to the conclusion because I am fat.

Her

the disabled child didn't do anything to be born that way - its not a lifestyle choice. i think you are misunderstanding - i'm not saying someone deserves to die because they're fat, and nor did I even insinuate that. my point exactly about the 90% thing - the obese use a larger amount of resources without being that large a percent of society.

I think i am goign to end this discussion because you don't seem capable of not taking this to the wrong level. I didn't say that anyone should be forced to have gastric bypass - simply using it as an example of how much obesity costs the healthcare system. the best option would obvisouly to diet and exercise to a healthy weight.

although you claim to be happy and healthy with your weight, your comments indicate otherwise

Me

Where in the world did I say I was happy with the situation? Please learn to argue the facts as presented.

Her

you can't be 100% sure of anything about me...you have no idea what i weigh, what i have weighed or what i think about heavy people.

Me

as you took my comments, so I took yours. As you see my picture, so I see yours. Based on what you have written and how you have presented yourselves you are right, I can not be 100% sure, but I can certainly presume, (especially as you said it outright!) that you believe fat people, and smokers, should be in a separate kupah (inferring they have no place in yours).

Her

i merely am saying that it would be cost-effective for obese people to be in their own kupah - and yes, cost-effective for the non obese. and if all the obese were in a separate kupah, the money spent on the obesity related care may not leave enough for you to get your strep test! i'm glad you haven't suffered from any of the typical obesity related illnesses, but you are only 30 plus and I'm sorry to say, the odds are not in your favor. and please don't misconstrye that as a threat or a nasty comment. I'm simply saying you need to look at the lifetime, not the youth.

Me

How would it be cost effective. a % of a paycheck is a % of a paycheck. Believe me the only threat I see from you is the fact that someone may one day listen to you and I will then be thrown out if I show up for a strep test. The odds are never in my favour. They were not in my favour when I was in school at a mathy place and wanted to study arts. They were not in my favour when I was a fat kid and started dating. They were seriously not in my favour when I wanted to move to Israel and was flat broke- fortunatly I put my trust in God and not in people who point out the odds.


I am frusterated and sad the soemone in the health care field should be willing to say to my face (well, my avatar picture) that I am a problem for the kupah becuase I am staying alive. I have a huge problem with the fact she thinks other areas are acceptable risks, and would have me go through major surgery so her seat on the plane could be more comfortable. I am severely pissed that I know there are loads of people like her out there and they are the reason that I am scared to leave the house half of the time- and truly aggravated with myself that I let people like this get to me.

Feel free to comment away , but please know that I like myself too much to tolerated hate speak against me even if I am excluded from the group (ie, the majority of fatties, except you sort of thing) and will defriend, block or eat anyone who writes something along any of those lines. I do recognize the fact people should pay for what they use (as I mention over there) but the inappropriateness of some comments is revolting and I will not tolerate it.



5 comments:

roseball said...

Wow, I'm so completely horrified with that person's opinions. They are so completely narrow-minded and biased. So she has strong feelings against the obese and the smokers. Every citizen has their own series of health issues. I'm surprised she didn't group old people too. In the span on nine months of a pregnancy, I'm sure more resources are pulled than the average "obese" person for a few years.... I could just go on.
Good for you for arguing with her.

Jerome Morrow said...

In reference to your comment about less than 1% of people having issues, I believe your logic is flawed.

Yes, less than 1% of people had issues with obese flyers but in reality less than 1% of people on a plane would be forced to sit next to someone spilling over into their space.

In fact, out of every flyer that has actually had to sit next to another obese passenger I'd wager that a much larger proportion of those people would take exception with the situation.

The issue is not solely about the money, and it's certainly not about having a baseless dig at fat people. The fact is that airlines are businesses and they operate to make a profit. If you take up more space than a single seat then you cost the airline two, because nobody wants to sit next to someone who will impinge on the already limited space afforded to economy class passengers to begin with.

Surely you understand that. You wouldn't want to sit next to a stranger that would spill over into your seat that you paid for and neither would I. So who should wear the cost? The airlines are run to make money and they can do with their business what they like, just as you can with your jewellery business. They shouldn't be forced to cover the cost of providing two seats for the price of one. I think that's fair enough.

God bless.

Proud FA said...

As a founding member of the New Fat Acceptance I have to side with the airlines on this one. We are paying for seats. If we take two we should be charged for two. I would be for a fat friendly airline that caters specifcally to fatlings. Let the market solve the problem.

Anonymous said...

I agree with that person's opinons 100%. Obese people are a burden on society. That is not discrimmation that is just fact.

Fat people should be denied bad food and offered gym membership at a lower rate in order to increase their own quality of life as well as the future of the country they are living in.

Anonymous said...

Great! Next they'll be lining up all the fat people in the world and shoting them. Hello Hitler!