Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Broadly speaking, airlines are happy to annoy customers if they feel they can make money out of it.

What, though, should one make of a curious decision taken by an airline with a reputation for gentle hospitality?

You see, Thai Airways just announced that it's going to be putting certain restrictions on passengers who travel on its Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 planes.

No, it's not going to make the seats smaller than any in aviation history.

Instead, it's going to measure passengers' waists and, if the resulting number is over a certain limit, it's going to not allow the passenger to fly.

Here's the twist.

We're talking about Business Class passengers.

Is it because some Business Class passengers have complained about the size of their fellow humans?

Thai says it's not. It claims that the seats on these planes enjoy new seatbelt airbags that can only encompass a certain girth.

So if you're over 56 inches around the waist, you'll be declined, as the seatbelt won't fasten, says the Bangkok Post.

It's not clear, however, what the passengers will be able to do.

Will they be asked to fly in coach, where the seatbelt may be more extendable?

Or will they simply be told they can't be accommodated? I've asked Thai Airways and will update, should I hear.

The size of human beings has become a controversial subject in airline travel.

Humans are getting bigger. Plane seats are getting smaller.

In 2016, Hawaiian Airlines conducted a survey in which passengers submitted how much they weighed. The company used that data to establish the average cabin weight for the route in order to manage weight distribution.

Last year, Finnair weighed passengers in order to see how much heavier they were these days.

The airline insisted this was just research.

One other consequence of Thai Airways' new rules is that parents won't be able to hold young children on their laps, either.

Though the airline may be perfectly correct in its analysis, it's likely to have an effect on the brand.

Would you want to be known as the airline that doesn't fly rich, large people? Or, as some headline writers have preferred, "fat people"?

Of course, a brand can't please everyone. Many U.S. airline brands hardly please anyone at all.

In this case, however, how many other airlines might be affected? And when might the measurements take place?

I'd hate to see  another dragging incident, you see.

Correction: A previous version of this column stated that in 2016 Hawaiian Airlines won permission to weigh passengers. The airline conducted a six-month passenger weight survey that year, but discontinued it once it had determined the average aircraft weight for the route. 

Published on: Mar 21, 2018
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