Weighty issues for Canadian and US fliers

As you put on your loose-waisted pants and head off to airport to join your friends and family for that big Thanksgiving feast, keep this in mind:

On many US airlines, if you can’t fit in your seat with the armrests lowered, you may be asked to pay for a second seat.

In Canada, however, you will soon get more room to spread out. Legally – and for free.

According to an AP report posted on MSNBC.com today, beginning on January 9th, 2009: Canadian airlines flying domestically “cannot charge extra for an obese person who needs an additional seat or a disabled person who needs space for a wheelchair or stretcher or who must be accompanied by an attendant.”

US airlines aren’t likely to adopt that same plan anytime soon, but for folks who fit into individual airplane seats – and those who don’t – it’s probably a good time to read my Well-Mannered Traveler column that addresses the topic. It’s called, appropriately enough, Squeezed to Meet You and deals with the issue of “seatmates of size.”