April 16th, 2009
04:53 PM ET

Should obese passengers pay for 2 seats on airplanes?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Obese passengers might soon have to buy two tickets to fly on United Airlines. The company says "for the comfort and well-being" of all their customers, they have a new policy for passengers who:

Can't fit into a single seat
Can't properly buckle the seat belt using an extender
Can't put the seat's armrests down when seated

If there are extra seats available, the passenger will be moved next to an empty seat at no charge. But if the flight is full, they either have to buy an upgrade to business or first class where the seats are bigger or change to another flight and buy a second seat.

United says they decided to adopt the policy after getting more than 700 complaints last year from passengers who didn't have a comfortable flight because the person next to them quote "infringed on their seat."

Some wonder how the airline can enforce such measures fairly. The spokesman for the Obesity Action Coalition says the policy "perpetuates that negative stigma that's already associated with obesity" and that airline seats already "could use a few extra inches of room on all sides."

But United isn't the first to charge extra for overweight passengers... in fact, now they're on the same page as the other five biggest U.S. carriers. This is something that presumably could affect millions of people when you consider that about one-third of Americans are obese - that's double the rate from 30 years ago.

Here’s my question to you: Should obese passengers have to pay for two seats when they fly?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Airlines • Obesity
April 16th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

"Border czar" answer to illegal drug & immigration from Mexico?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As President Obama travels to Mexico, the U.S. continues to grapple with the spill over violence from Mexican drug cartels and the enormous problem of illegal immigration. So - in typical government style - the administration has decided to add another layer of bureaucracy in the hopes of solving these problems.

The Obama administration has appointed former federal prosecutor Alan Bersin to fight illegal immigration and deadly drug violence along the Mexico/U.S. border.

They've named a so-called "border czar" to oversee the efforts of ending drug cartel violence that killed almost 7,000 people last year; and slowing the tide of people illegally crossing north into the U.S. A border czar. Why don't they just close the damn border?

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano named Alan Bersin to be the czar. He's a former Justice Department official who worked on cracking down on illegal immigration in the 1990s. And judging by the number of illegal aliens in the country, that wasn't exactly a home run.

The Obama administration has promised to target border violence and work with Mexican officials to stop drug and gun trafficking. They've already committed $700 million in aid to Mexico and are sending hundreds of federal agents along with high-tech surveillance gear and drug sniffing dogs to the region.

If we want to get serious about fixing these issues, the answer is to secure the border, which remains open almost eight years after the 9/11 attacks; and enforce the laws that are already on the books regarding illegal immigration. And don't forget the huge appetite for illegal drugs in the U.S., which is fueling the Mexican drug wars.

More government bureaucracy is hardly the solution.

Here’s my question to you: Is a "border czar" the answer to our illegal drug and immigration problems with Mexico?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Immigration