I’m happy to see that some airlines and hotels are trying to help the “tall traveler:”
[T]he bigger seat pitches in domestic economy class — 34 to 36 inches — are on United, JetBlue, Delta Air Lines’ McDonnell Douglas MD-88 shuttle, Air Canada and Westjet. Since a seat pitch of only 29 to 30 inches is found in most airlines’ economy class, this is no small potatoes.
Recently, JetBlue reconfigured its planes to sell seats with 38 inches of seat pitch in six rows on its A320 fleet and the emergency exit row in its Embraer 190 planes for an extra $10 or more. (JetBlue’s other seats with up to 36 inches of seat pitch in certain rows, have no extra fee.)
In a 1993 case arising out of Rhode Island, for example, the federal court concluded that, although simple obesity probably would not qualify, morbid obesity caused by a physiological disorder would be a disability entitling the plaintiff to ADA protection. The court’s finding was premised on the fact that the disorder was permanent, and that the claimant’s weight gain was not meaningfully voluntary. A 1997 decision of the federal district court in New York agreed that morbid obesity could be a qualifying disability, although it denied the plaintiff’s claim because she could not demonstrate that her obesity substantially limited her ability to work.
Apparently the EEOC has said that “only morbid obesity, defined as weighing 100 pounds or more over ideal weight, can be an impairment shielded from bias.” From a statistical perspective, my sense is that height over 6’5″ is at least 2 standard deviations from the mean of height. . . I wonder if that’s more or less SDs than 100 pounds over ideal weight? It’s not my area of law, but I have to admit a bit of a personal interest in seeing more accommodation of the tall.
Hat tip: Law & Letters.