Attention students of economics. Do you see an externality here? Or not?
Dr Tickell, a leading nutritionist and author, told the BBC that society should take a more hardline stance against obesity and get tough on fat airline passengers. He said that Australian airlines should impose charges on their overweight clients, as they do for excess baggage, because heavier loads increase fuel costs. It's not fair to single out those people who have a problem, which is already impacting greatly on their life, and make them feel like pariahsIsn't there a straightforward solution here? If there is an externality the airline could eliminate it and increase its profit by charging the obese passenger more for a bigger seat. (No, I don't want to be the airline employee who enforces this policy.)
"I fly Sydney to Perth - five hours - and being totally disadvantaged by some huge person next to me literally flopping over into my seat. Why should I pay the same as them?" he asked.
But the chief executive of the Australasian Society for the Study of Obesity, Dr Tim Gill, said penalty charges should not be imposed on overweight passengers. "It's not fair to single out those people who have a problem, which is already impacting greatly on their life, and make them feel like pariahs," he said.
A spokesman for the Australian budget airline, Jetstar, said it had no plans to charge larger passengers more for their seats. Airlines are, however, monitoring long-term trends in the size and shape of their customers, the BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney says.