Saturday, November 22, 2008

Two for the price of one

Canadian court rules the obese are entitled to two airline seats for the price of one.
Canada's airlines must give obese people two seats for the price of one on domestic flights, the country's highest court has ruled.
The supreme court declined to hear an appeal by Air Canada and WestJet, the country's two largest airlines, on a January 2008 decision by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), which gave the airlines a year to implement the policy after they failed to show that a "one-person, one-fare" structure would cause undue hardship.
By convention, the court gave no reason for declining to hear the case.
What remains unresolved is when exactly obesity constitutes a disability. The CTA said airlines must develop procedures to assess eligibility, adding that free seats need not be awarded to overweight people who are merely uncomfortable in a single seat.
The agency recommended that the airlines adopt a policy used by the American carrier Southwest Airlines, which stipulates that people who are too big to lower the armrest should be given an extra seat.
The airlines had lost an appeal at the federal court of appeal in May and had sought to launch a fresh appeal at the supreme court.
The "one-person, one fare" policy already exists on other types of public transport, including buses, trains and ferries.
The new policy will be in effect from Jan 2009.

Now you done it

In the News

New York Elementary School Renamed After Barack Obama
At the behest of its students, an elementary school near New York City has been renamed after President-elect Barack Obama.
The Hempstead Union Free School District board voted unanimously Thursday night to rename Ludlum Elementary School as Barack Obama Elementary School. The change went into effect immediately, school officials said Friday.
Officials for the Long Island district say they think the school is the country's first to be named after the first black president-elect, although similar efforts to rename schools, parks and streets are under way elsewhere.
The Clear Stream Avenue School in Valley Stream, N.Y., also on Long Island, will consider a renaming resolution in December. Students at the Clark K-8 At Binnsmead school in Portland, Ore., are seeking to rename it after Obama. And the prime minister of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda has said he wants its Boggy Peak renamed Mount Obama.
Most of the 466 Hempstead pupils are black or Hispanic, and Obama's election was a big source of pride, principal Jean Bligen said Friday.
Some of the children read essays about Obama and the election at the school board meeting on Thursday night. "That really was effective," Bligen said.
The change will be formalized at a ceremony in December. School officials hope Gov. David Paterson, the state's first black governor and Hempstead High School graduate, will attend.
Built in the 1920s, the Ludlum Elementary School was named after Dr. Charles Ludlum, a local physician who served on the school board for about 40 years.