Irish Airline Considering ‘Fat Tax’ on Passengers

DUBLIN ~ Irish budget airline Ryanair is looking at how it can introduce a “fat tax” after almost a third of travellers voted to penalize obese fellow passengers.

Ryanair, which already charges separately for services like food onboard, asked customers to vote for their favourite “cost reduction” idea on its website over the last two weeks.

The move came after Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary caused a storm earlier this year by suggesting passengers could be charged to use toilets onboard airplanes.

Of more than 100,000 people who voted, 29 percent favoured excess fees for very overweight passengers, making it the most popular option.

Ryanair now says it will now ask travellers how any such charge could be levied. The four options include charging male passengers who weigh over 130 kilograms or females over 100 kilograms for every extra kilogram they carry.

Another alternative is charging for a second seat if a passenger’s waist touches both armrests simultaneously.

“With passengers voting overwhelmingly for a ‘fat tax,’ we are now asking them to suggest which format the charge could take,” Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said on Wednesday.

“These charges, if introduced, might also act as an incentive to some of our very large passengers to lose a little weight.”

After the “fat tax,” the second most popular “cost reduction” idea in Ryanair’s poll was charging passengers one euro (US$1.30) to use toilet paper with O’Leary’s face on it, a move backed by 25 percent.

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