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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...



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC)
They are having to do similar things with ambulances and all sorts of emergency equipment. Hospitals are putting into place all sorts of policies regarding the management of bariatric patients.

Its also and issue with OH&S and nursing staff who have to try and get people up and about.

I have thought for a long time that people and luggage should be weighed altogether. It isn't fair for a person that weighs 100 pounds to be sitting next to someone who needs and extension seatbelt. Plus if you the 100 pound person should be entitled to the same weight allowance as someone who weighs 220 pounds (who hopefully would be over 6 foot, which again is not necessarily comfortable to sit next to, when there is inadequate leg room - I got stuck between two guys on a flight to Europe in a plane where my knees were touching the seat in front of me. I am only 5'5" and both the guys were at LEAST 5 inches taller than me... that was an uncomfortable 14 hours...)

So yes, paying for a total weight would be much fairer...
Feb. 2nd, 2009 12:51 am (UTC)
That's a good idea. You buy a ticket, you get 300 pounds of capacity, that includes you and your luggage. Little person, big luggage, and vice versa. You need more poundage, you pay. I guess it's just hard for airlines to get so personal...
Feb. 2nd, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
Well they weigh EVERYTHING for the planes to the mines here. So they have trialled the facilities, and know how to make it work. Plus some of the people going up the mines are getting rather large as there are 4 star chefs providing as much food as the miners want up there...
Feb. 2nd, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
My town had to buy a bigger ambulance.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
Yep. They had to buy bigger helicopters to evacuate people out of Grand Canyon. It's happening everywhere.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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