05/22/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

United Airlines: Double Your Fat, Double Their Pleasure

United Airlines is the latest airline to jump on the anti-fat bandwagon and penalize their overweight passengers by charging them for two seats should they not fit "comfortably" into one. They say that they are doing this because they received 700 complaints last year about overweight passengers.

In my capacity as someone who knows the "overweight" landscape well as an "ex-fatty" (50 pounds permanently removed eight years ago), author of two best-selling weight loss books, seminar leader and Life & Wellness Coach, I have a few questions for United Airlines and the other carriers who have adopted this two-seats/two-faced policy.

Fat Suit.jpg
What other complaints have you received in the past year, and how many? Has no one mentioned the delays, cramped seating (no matter your size), or poor food choices? I'd like to see a full report on complaints.

You say that your criteria for double charging is, "if a passenger cannot close the arm rest, or cannot fasten the seat belt with an extension." Given that 34% of Americans are obese, might you consider making the seats larger?

What if you still receive complaints about those who manage to "fit in" their seats, but nevertheless, a bulge or a ripple of fat undulates across the divide? Where will you draw the line or the tape measure?

Will you have a "model" at the gate, as you have a display/image of what size luggage constitutes a carry-on?

You penalize overweight people yet you offer no real healthy choices when distributing your peanuts, snack bars, and cookies. Why not offer fresh fruit?

Instead of adding to the problem, creating even more of a stigma for those who are overweight, why not become a part of the solution? Partner with Life & Wellness Coaches, fitness centers, nutritionists alike. Offer frequent flyer miles to those who create healthy lifestyles. Dedicate a section of your flight magazines to health education.

Step up to the healthy plate and make a real difference.

Spread the healthy word...NOT the icing.

Janice Taylor is the author of Our Lady of Weight Loss and All Is Forgiven, Move On.
Visit Janice Taylor, Beliefnet Blog.

"Janice Taylor is a certain kind of kooky genius." ~ O, the Oprah Magazine
"mindful eating in humorous yet earnest style . . . ." ~ the New York Times.