I first read this article on my own paper The Sydney Morning Herald and went in search of the original article (in French) on lemonde.fr (here).
I then later read that Australian airlines won't be taking up this practise which leads me to believe that perhaps they aren't doing it because there are far more obese Australians than there are obese French, or that the decision makers are obese themselves???
I have flown extensively throughout my entire life (and on very long flights) and the issue of weight on an airline has always been a sore point for me. The reason is because I weigh far less than an average adult, yet if I want to bring on a little bit of extra luggage I'm charged an extortionate amount, PER KILOGRAM. This has always angered me because if I were to somehow swallow my goods or tape them onto my body, then I'd be allowed to have them on the plane for free. But if they are not attached to my body I have to pay a lot of money extra. (yes let's not get onto the fact that if I had stuff taped to my body I'd be highly suspicious and have other issues to worry about with airline security staff ;) )...
I'm sorry, that is just not fair. If they are going to charge luggage by weight then surely people should be charged by weight too and if that is deemed discriminatory then the solution is simple: allow the heavier people less luggage, and the lighter people more luggage, and in the end it all evens out anyway!
But if I was an obese person I'd rather just pay extra for business class rather than paying 1.75x the normal fare for 2 seats in economy class!
But on a long flight, I'd rather be sitting next to a slightly obese person than beside a screaming toddler (this has happened) who proceeds to scream for the entire 9 hour flight, or in front of a young kid who won't stop playing with the table and/or kicking my chair (seems to happen often to me too).