Canada rules obese get second seat free on flights in Canada


Obese people who are flying internationally will have to wait a while until U.S. courts decide to pick up any similar issues. But for now, in Canada, functionally disabled obese people will have the right to a free extra seat when flying inside Canada. The ruling by Canada's Supreme Court brought an end to appeals that were brought forth by Canadian airlines, in response to the Canadian Transportation Agency's (CTA) ruling on seat policies for people who are functionally disabled.

The ruling by the CTA primarily required that airlines provide a free extra seat for a functionally disabled person's caregiver or personal assistant. But then the ruling was expanded to include, "functionally disabled by obesity for purposes of air travel", which is a significantly different definition of obese than is used in the medical world.

For medical purposes a person is considered obese if they have a Body Mass Index of 30 or higher or are 20% over their target weight. The CTA doesn't provide a clear definition of obese for air travel; only suggesting that airlines follow Southwest's policy of determining "passengers of size" based on whether or not the arm rest will go down.