Will new court ruling pave way for airline 'fat tax' in Britain?

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Will court ruling pave way for airline 'fat tax' in Britain?Alamy


A new court ruling could see the introduction of a 'fat tax' for obese air passengers in Britain.

Two disabled passengers just lost their cases - Christopher Stott v Thomas Cook and Tony Hook v British Airways - after the wheelchair users sued when they were not able to sit next to their carers on board a flight, resulting in 'embarrassing' incidents.

But, according to the Telegraph, their cases were dismissed after the court ruled that the Montreal Convention, a framework of international rules on air travel, should take precedence of British law.

Daniel Barnett, a barrister at Outer Temple Chambers, says the ruling gives airlines the ability to 'disregard seat allocation promises' and makes it difficult for passengers to sue airlines over emotional distress.

He also pointed out to the paper that this means airlines will be able to slap a 'fat tax' on a passenger if they choose to, saying: "The ruling confirms that disabled passengers have no right to dignity once the wheels leave the runway.

"It also means that airlines are immune if they choose to embarrass overweight passengers by demanding a fat tax."

Many airlines, including Ryanair, say that fat tax isn't necessary as many obese passengers buy an extra seat to accommodate them.

The news comes as former Qantas economist Tony Webber suggest heavier people should pay more to fly.

He reasoned that just as people are charged for excess baggage, so people should be charged for excess weight. His rationale? The more a plane weighs, the more fuel it must burn, which costs the airline more and, in turn, will increase air fares.

And, a poll carried out by Aol Travel in response to his suggestion shows that two-thirds of people agree with him.

Over 10,000 people took part, and 71% agreed that people who weigh more should be charged more to fly.

What do you think? Is a 'fat tax' fair? Leave your thoughts below...

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