Note: To be absolutely clear, since both Kevin and Natali can put their seats’ handles down, they are definitely NOT “too fat to fly”.
As I kept thinking how shitty Kevin and Natali had been treated, I knew I had to do something more. So, this past Friday (Feb 19) when I dropped my better half to the airport for her to have some fun in Vancouver, I took the opportunity to ask the nice WestJet check-in lady about their “person of size” policy. You see, I know WestJet modelled itself after Southwest Airlines, I was expecting the worst.
Well, to my surprise, the lady mentioned something called “one-person-one-fare” (more on this later) in response. My initial thought was: Cool, one person (regardless of size) pays one fare only, thats nice.
If you have a dispute related to federally-regulated modes of transportation, the Canadian Transportation Agency may be able to help. The Agency can bring you and the transportation operator together informally, help you to understand each other’s needs and interests, and find a solution that works for both.
The “one-person-one-fare” policy was an order from Canadian Transportation Agency! And WestJet, Air Canada, and Air Canada Jazz appealed the decision all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and lost (both the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the airlines’ application). Here is an excerpt,
In February 2008, Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and WestJet sought leave to appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal.
In May 2008, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the airlines’ application.
In August 2008, the airlines applied to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal the Federal Court of Appeal’s Decision to dismiss their application.
On November 20, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz and WestJet’s application for leave to appeal. The Agency’s January 2008 Decision stands.
I am not a lawyer, but for persons functionally disabled by obesity, the “one-person-one-fare” policy applies. So you will only need to pay one fare.
And for other persons of size, I strongly suspect if you can put the seat handles down, you will be OK. You see, with the “one-person-one-fare” policy in effect for over a year, I seriously doubt any Canadian airlines’ flight crews will make any fuzz for people flying within Canada. They know they are in the losing end of this argument.
Please share your thoughts flying within Canada (or US).
Note: I am in the process of gathering research materials and planning to write a business case about this mess.
Feb 27, 2012 Update: Thanks to a reader’s insightful comment and most importantly the case and decision reference for Canada’s “one-person-one-fare policy”, I have now included the case links here for reference,