Recently actor Quinton Aaron was asked to give up his seat on a US Airways connecting flight because of his size. The star of the Oscar winning movie, The Blind Side says he didn’t cause a scene or ask the airline to reconsider, he simply grabbed his bag and left as quickly as he could.
In The Blind Side, Aaron played the real life Michael Oher, a homeless teen who is taken in by a local family and raised as their own. Oher would eventually join the NFL as an offensive tackle for the Tennessee Titans. Standing 6 foot 8 and weighing 550 pounds, Aaron’s size was perfect for the role, but after this “humiliating experience,” he’s determined to lose weight.
In the past, Aaron avoided the seat issue by flying first class, but when there were none available on the US Airways flight, he had to buy two economy seats. This solution worked until the the passenger who purchased the third seat arrived on the sold out flight.
He told ABC News, “As I saw the seats, I’m literally hoping that no one had to sit next to me because I knew it wasn’t going to work if they did.” He was asked to leave the plane and was re-booked on a later flight.
The European budget airline Ryanair is on a mission to cut fuel costs. In addition to announcing that it will now print its in flight magazine, which will also double as a menu, on thinner paper, Ryanair is also cutting the amount of ice on board and will reduce the weight of the seats and carts. These changes will save them thousands of pounds in fuel and printing costs, but that’s not all they are doing to lighten their load.
Flight attendants for Ryanair may find their jobs in jeopardy if they don’t keep their weight in check. Airline spokesman Stephen McNamara told The Telegraph: “We encourage staff to watch their weight – with the motivation of appearing in the annual Ryanair calendar.”
Sounds crazy, but some airlines do more than encourage. Thai Airways required specific BMI and waist line measurements of their flight attendants last March, and gave employees six months to drop the weight. In August 2010, the same happened to 28 Turkish Airline flight attendants who were given six months to lose weight or be faced with termination.
Are you prone to airsickness? Well, this news won’t help your traveling woes any: According to recently released government documents, meals served on many major airlines are made in unsanitary and unsafe conditions that could lead to illness.
Over the last two years, inspectors with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have cited various catering facilities that prepare airline food for suspected health and sanitation violations.
On par with unruly behavior or carrying a potential terrorist weapon, we can now add being too overweight as one of the possible reasons for getting booted off of an airplane.
Just this past Saturday, director Kevin Smith was asked to de-board a Southwest flight from Oakland to Burbank, California because, ahem, his bum was encroaching on the seats of his neighboring passengers, which according to Southwest Airlines regulations, posed a safety hazard to his fellow passengers.
Southwest said in an official statement that his removal was for the “safety and comfort of all customers.” The airlines also extended their “heartfelt apologies” to Smith.
Travel is integral to my life. I start to relax when I walk in the airport and immediately relax when I board a plane. As a therapist, though, I know that more than 35% of the population experiences at least some anxiety about flying.
Calm your mind by practicing mindfulness and meditation. Visualize a soothing environment, perhaps your destination, imagine and experience it using all of your senses. After returning from a trip to Bermuda several years ago, I started using this picture to help clients practice visualization. What do you see? (The blue of the ocean and sea rocks.) What do you hear? (The waves crashing, the cars passing above.) What do you smell? (Salt water and sunscreen). What do you feel? (The warmth of the sun, the sharp rocks, the firm sand, sunglasses on my nose.) What do you taste? (Fruit juice.) Choose a setting that is calming for you and immerse yourself in it using your imagination. (more…)
More lessons from 10,000 feet… On this flight, I am sitting near Russ who travels frequently for business. While distracting Emily from her flight anxiety, Russ told her and I about a flight he experienced during which the oxygen masks fell. He shared that all the passengers automatically turned their heads right and left like the flight attendant does during her pre-flight spiel. He and I both found it interesting how such things can be ingrained into our consciousness. I would venture that few to none of the passengers had ever had to utilize an in-flight oxygen mask prior to that incident.
Unless your flight anxiety is high, my guess is that you tune out the spiel after your first flight or two (even Emily didn’t seem to be paying much attention); I know I don’t consciously pay attention and didn’t realize how the flight attendants turn their heads. Yet, almost everyone mimicked the flight attendant automatically. (more…)
I thought travel season was pretty much over, now that school is back in session, but as we drove behind school buses on our way to the airport this morning, the friend who is driving my car home said that he was taking three other friends to the airport this week. My friends that travel for business seem to be booked for weeks. Even those with children in school have Labor Day weekend, fall break, and Thanksgiving for which they can plan. As I write this from above 10,000 feet, I thought it would be a great time to share some healthy airline travel tips.
- Walk instead of taking the moving sidewalk. Or for a really great workout, cut your time short and sprint to your gate with all your luggage. Trust me, that is a workout!
- Pack your own healthy snacks and pass on the salted peanuts and spiced cookies. A small baggie of trail mix can easily fit in a carry on. The airline will provide water (or coffee if you had to get up as early as I did). Do not give in to the bright colors and temptations of McDonald’s, Cinnabon, or Starbucks at every gate. (more…)
NWA's new flight attendant dresses, designed by Richard Tyler. Photo via Washington Post.
There has been controversy over weight issues with airline passengers in recent years. But now the issues are coming from within as employees of Northwest Airlines (now owned by Delta) are getting a bit perturbed by the uniform design approved by their employers.
Delta Airlines hired fashion designer Richard Tyler to design their flight attendants’ red dress uniforms. Tyler wanted them to “look sexy.” The problem is, some workers are complaining that they are too small.
The Northwest chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has filed a grievance against Delta. They would like to see the company offer the red dress up to size 28. Currently, the uniform is only offered up to a size 18. (more…)
Last December I wrote about a Canadian Supreme Court decision to give the right to extremely obese people to have two seats for the price of one on airlines.
But the European discount airline Ryanair isn’t being so kind. They took the initiative to ask the public what they should do with obese passengers. More than 100,000 people voted on whether or not they should charge fees to “very large” passengers. Twenty-nine percent voted for “excess fees for very overweight passengers.” And the “yeas” have it. (more…)
This news is sure to raise the ire of a few Canadian citizens. Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that obese people have the right to two seats for the price of one on flights that stay within the borders of Canada.
With airlines already feeling the financial crunch from skyrocketing fuel costs, this may add to the burden.
No word on how the law will decide what constitutes obese enough to get the extra seat. The airlines appealed the measure, but the courts struck down their pleas.
Here’s what I found on the specifics to what is referred to as the One-Person-One-Fare Policy. You qualify, if you:
- are accompanied by an attendant for your personal care or safety in flight; or
- require additional seating for yourself, including those determined to be functionally disabled by obesity.
So, we ask you the reader… is this legislation a fair measure? Or are people getting undue favored treatment. We open the floor to you.