Should the Presidential Candidates Care About Airline Fees?


Poundage is a problematic topic, and yet, would we really notice much difference if we had to step on a scale (behind a curtain, please)? Think about it: air travel today already feels like a visit to the doctor, what with all that poking and prodding from the TSA. Add a blood pressure cuff and your airport physical is darn near complete.

Might as well bring height into the conversation, too, since that's another issue for a lot of passengers. While Americans were busying gaining those 30 pounds over the past few decades, we added half an inch in height. And tall flyers have troubles, too.

Take the case of Malcolm Johnson, the 6'7" man from Edmonton, Alberta. He launched a campaign against Air Canada for hoarding its bigger seats - the ones with extra legroom - for passengers willing to pay an extra fee for them. Today many airlines charge for these roomier options; it's just another way to make a buck.

Which means, 'too tall' flyers are left jamming their knees against the tray tables and muttering over recent news stories such as Southwest's decision to shrink its seat pitch (well, they mutter when they're not too busy defending their hindquarter space from 'passengers of size').

I'm sure our presidential contenders can feel the height pain since they're a tall group: Mitt Romney stands 6'2" while President Obama is just an inch behind and Newt Gingrich is another six-footer. But again, this only seems to be a burning issue among us non-contenders. I think I know why.

There's plenty of room to spread out on Air Force One. Free food, too. And no TSA.

Related links:

Santorum flies commercial

Newt Gingrich's Weight: Elephant in the Room

Latest Airline Fee: Pay Toilets?

Former Qantas Exec. Pushes for Fat Tax

Center for Disease Control Weight Statistics

Too Fat to Fly Rules Affect NBA Players

British Airways' Fake-out Crash Announcement

Flier Too Tall

Southwest Shrinks Seat Pitch

This work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations that include ABC News, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Associated Press and Bloomberg. His website,, offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deals.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...