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Fat passengers can’t fly business in THAI Dreamliners

March 22, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

If your waistline is over 142cm (56 inches), forget about flying in business class on Thai Airways International’s B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

The airline has imposed the limit on waist sizes for business class passengers – and has also banned passengers carrying infants on their laps in business class –  to make room for seatbelt airbags on its two Boeing 787-9 aircraft, the Bangkok Post has reported.

THAI added the two Boeing Dreamliners to its fleet last September. Boeing has installed new seatbelt airbags on business class seats, the paper said.

The specifications mean that obese passengers cannot not fasten the new seatbelt airbags, which meet US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety standards, Flight Lieutenant Prathana Pattanasiri, vice president of THAI’s aviation safety, security and standards department, told reporters.

This type of airbag seatbelt also precluded passengers carrying infants on laps from travelling in business class.

Larger passengers can perhaps try the economy cabin aboard THAI’s B787-9 Dreamliners


The controversial measure is not the first to affect large passengers.

In 2016, Hawaiian Airlines ruled that passengers could no longer pre-select their own seats on flights between Hawaii and Pago Pago in American Samoa. It introduced the rule after a six-month voluntary survey, which included weighing, found that on average, passengers and their carry-on bags were 13.6 kilograms heavier than anticipated.

The Samoan islands have among the highest rates of obesity in the world, a phenomenon blamed largely on fast foods.  The airline was concerned that if a row of very large people were seated together, a family, for instance, their combined weight could create problems in an emergency.

In 2013, Samoa Air famously introduced a controversial scheme to charge passengers according to their weight. “A kilo is a kilo is a kilo” was the motto.

In the same year, Indian budget carrier GoAir resolved to hire only slim women as flight attendants, the rationale being that aircraft need burn less fuel to fly slim women around, thus saving the airline money.

Written by Peter Needham

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