Friday, April 17, 2009

How long is your extender?

There have been several Internet news articles recently about a United Airlines policy that would require some obese passengers to pay for two seats. (Since one-third of Americans are considered medically obese, this could help the airlines economic situation.) United Airlines is, according to the articles, the fifth such airline to enact such a policy. (I wonder why we never heard about the first four)

Not wanting to sound mean or offensive, but really, something has to be done. Think about it, just because there are airplanes, doesn't mean that everyone fits into one, and for that matter be allowed to be a passenger. There are, after all, real physical limits.

But, the criteria and procedure for requiring a passenger to purchase two seats needs to be thought about at least a nano-second. From what I can gather, here will be the procedure.

1. The passenger boards the plane, and if it's observed by the flight attendant that the said passenger cannot either 1) buckle in with one extender belt or lower the arm rest, then it is time to go to step 2.

2. If an empty seat is available on the same airplane, then allow the passenger to move so that they spill over into the empty seat, harming no one else. If this is not the case, then go to step 3.

3. Allow the passenger to purchase a "Business Class" or "First Class" seat. (they are usually bigger). (man, I'd really enjoy adding a few extra comments here, but that would only confuse this issue) If this "Business Class/First Class" option doesn't work, then go to step 4.

4. Require that the passenger leave the plane and catch a later flight after purchasing tickets for two seats. (airport police would be called to escort the money-strapped, irate passenger from the plane, then the checked bags would have to be removed). Problem solved, right? Not hardly.

Here is what I see happening.

Passenger: "Well, the extender belt on "such and such airlines" worked just fine, it must be the extender belt, I'm not going any where until you get me the standard extender belt."

So, that raises an interesting thought. Just what is the length of a "standard extender belt". Well, ask eBay. Several are offered that measure twenty-four inches. You can actually buy your own.
So, in some government database somewhere, there will be a definition regarding the "standard extender belt size." (If there isn't already)

What will happen in these situations? People will get a custom-made extender belt (a cloned standard look-alike), with a full thirty extra inches, and when the flight attendant questions them about the size of their extender belt, the case will go straight to the Supreme Court, and we would be mired down in court costs and delays for who knows how long.

This will happen, there is no doubt in my military mind.

So, there has to be a better way. (this is where I get mean)

All airlines have a "luggage-sizer" thing where you place your carry-on in the compartment, and if it fits, then wah-la, you are good to go. Imagine a "Girth Sizer Unit" (GSU) whereby the suspect passenger sits in a mock economy-sized seat and has to strap in with a "standard-sized seat belt extender", or purchase two seats while at the counter. Would there be a line? Probably.

One has to chuckle at the situation we have gotten ourselves into. How in the world did this become a problem? As thinking Americans, something hasn't been clicking for a while. And please, don't claim it is a DNA issue, or it is something we just couldn't help.

A side note: On the Lewis and Clark Expedition, I don't think any of the participating soldiers were turned away because they wouldn't fit in a canoe. They were turned away because they couldn't shoot or track or hunt, but not because they wouldn't fit inside the means of travel.

So, how long is your extender?

PS: Here is one article..

One black coffee with NO sugar, please.

Good night.

1 comment:

  1. wickedly written but yes I agree... what HAVE we done to ourselves? (and that is a literary us, I fit inside a seat without an extender *just for the record*)
    I love that there is grand child art out here. fabulous.
    and I like your photos.