Ryanair mulls fat tax after online poll

22nd Apr 2009

Ryanair is considering levying a “fat tax” following an online poll in which 30,000 passengers voted in favour of charging excess weight fees for very large passengers.

The low-cost carrier would follow United Airlines which has just announced plans to impose such a charge on overweight people it calls “passengers who require extra space”. American Airlines is also introducing the charge.
Ideas mooted by Ryanair would be to charge per kilo for males over 130kg (20 stone) and females over 100kg (15 stone); charging per inch for every waist inch over 45 inch (male) and 40 inch (female); charge for every point in excess of 40 points on the Body Mass Index; and charging for a second seat if passengers’ waist touches both armrests simultaneously.

Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: “Over 100,000 passengers logged on to ryanair.com to take part in our competition and almost one in three (over 30,000) think that very large passengers should be asked to pay a fat tax. 

“With passengers voting overwhelmingly for a ‘fat tax’ we are now asking them to suggest which format the charge should take. The above four points seem to us to be the simplest, fairest and administratively easiest to apply. In all cases we’ve limits at very high levels so that a ‘fat tax’ will only apply to those really large passengers who invade’ the space of the passengers sitting beside them.”

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


Ryanair confirmed the final poll results as follows:

29% - Excess fees for very overweight passengers

25% -  €1 for toilet paper - with O’Leary’s face on it

24% -  €3 to smoke in a converted toilet cubicle

14% -  Annual subscription to access Ryanair.com

8% - €2 “corkage” fee for passengers who bring their own food onboard


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