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Air France goes prix fixe, not buffet

Starting in April, Air France is going to make you pay for what you consume. If you consume only one seat, that's all you'll have to buy. But, if you require more than one seat, expect to whip out your plastic. For some reason, airline spokesman Nicolas Petteau calls it "a question of security," but I don't think so. To me, it seems more like a question of getting what you pay for ... and asking you to pay for everything you get.

The new policy includes refunded additional fares for obese passengers taking up two seats on a plane that isn't full. Air France estimates that these refunds will be granted in 90 percent of big-passenger cases. Nonetheless, the airline cites economic factors as behind the decision (aside from the bizarro comment about security), which is not only believable but appropriate.

Air France, which denied the policy in the French media, ran into some trouble over this issue three years ago. A passenger weighing 353 pounds successfully sued the airline, which had to pay him $11,423 in damages and the cost of the second seat from New Delhi to Paris. (Let's just hope he had an empty seat next to him.)

Other airlines have similar policies, including Southwest and JetBlue -- and I applaud them. Forget about everything except the simple fact that the ticket you buy entitles you to one seat on the flight. If one seat does not meet your needs, buy two seats. After all, if I go to a restaurant and buy one entrée and remain hungry, I have to buy a second one.

Filed under: Europe, France, Airlines

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