On January 10, 2008, the Canadian Transportation Agency passed the “one-person-one-fare” policy that prohibits Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz, and WestJet from charging more than one fare for “persons with disabilities who require additional seating for themselves, including those determined to be functionally disabled by obesity for purposes of air travel.”
The airlines were given one year to comply but the problem was how to implement the policy. Although the CTA stated that the decision “does not apply to persons who are obese but not disabled as a result of their obesity,” the potential for abuse was obvious. Earlier this month, Air Canada and WestJet announced they will require disabled or obese airline passengers seeking a second seat to fill out a five page form and send it in for review well before their flight date. The form requires doctors to – get this – measure the patient’s behind. They’ve even provided an illustration and instructions to facilitate the process:
Surface measurement should be calculated by measuring the distance between the extreme widest projection points of the patient when seated as follows:
Have your patient sit on a paper covered examination table. Rest a ruler or straightedge on the left side of patient at the widest point (hip or waist) as shown on diagram below. Mark the touch point between the ruler and the paper as Point A. Rest a ruler or straightedge on the right side of patient at the widest point (hip or waist). Mark the touch point between the ruler and the paper as Point B. Measure the distance between Point A and Point B.
Imagine paying thousands and thousands of dollars and spending 12 or more years in school to obtain a medical degree, only to be required to measure a series of fat butts for the airlines. Medical professionals are understandably aggravated.