In Australia air ambulances that transport people from remote areas to big city hospitals are no longer big enough. One report says that 17.5% of the 21 million total population Down Under is grossly overweight. The Royal Flying Doctor Service is replacing its fleet of four with seven airplanes. Two of the new planes will be equipped with stretchers that can handle a 570 pound patient.
This article suggests that the US Airways commuter crash that killed 21 people in 2003 may have been compromised by the load that it carried. It crashed after not gaining elevation rapidly enough. Looking at obesity and flying from this perspective, one could say that airplanes should not exceed some maximum weight load, and that the owners of the loads to be transported should pay according to the burden, just like in shipping. If people paid by the pound, maybe the airlines would find the funds to install seating that is comfortable for all sizes of people, and charge accordingly. I think we would all welcome some frankness and some innovation in this area.
At least Australian medical air transport companies are ready to make the invesment of redesigning for changing times...