Thai Airways bans obese passengers from business class
Thai Airways is in the midst of controversy over its new policy to ban overweight passengers from its business class. The airline is putting waistline restrictions on its newly acquired Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners citing safety reasons.
Business class seats aboard the Dreamliners have new Zodiac Cirrus seats which in accordance with US Federal Aviation Administration include a new safety belts and airbag system which can deploy an a case of emergency. This means that passengers with a waist wider than 56 inches (142.24cm) cannot fasten the seatbelts. The new system also bans parents travelling with small children that have to be held on an adult’s lap during takeoff and landing.
The new policy generated backlash on social media, and in response the airline apologized for the inconvenience on twitter “We are sorry for the inconvenience. It’s due to safety regulations and the seat belt contains an airbag, and therefore it can’t be extended.”
According to Manchester Evening News, activist Srisuwan Janya, from Association of Thai Constitution Protection threatened to sue the company over its discriminatory and demeaning policy.
This is not the first time airlines have faced heat over their policies regarding overweight travelers.
In 2017 Finnair started weighing its passengers in a voluntary scheme to gather data about passenger loads.
Hawaiian Airlines also conducted a voluntary survey in 2016 asking flyers to step on a scale with their luggage as part of a fuel-saving, weight-distribution and safety measure.
Back in 2013 now defunct Samoa Air announced that the airline would charge passengers based on their body mass.
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