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Don't lose weight; just get a bigger airline seat

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Nearly 36% of Americans are officially obese, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. It's only a bit over 20% in Colorado, one of the lowest in the nation. In Ireland, the official level is 18%, but it's increasing quickly. This increasing health problem has a lot of unpleasant effects, but one you may not have considered is discomfort while traveling. The average airline seat is 18 inches wide, too small for many larger people. This may be tolerable on a shorter flight, but not for the multiple hours required to fly from Denver to Ireland.

So now, Ireland's national airline, Aer Lingus, is considering offering bigger seats on some of its airplanes, thanks to a new option from aircraft manufacturer Airbus. They come at a cost though. The aisle seats would be increased to twenty inches wide, made possible by taking an inch apiece from the middle and window seats.

The airline has not yet officially decided whether to make use of the optional, wider seats. An Aer Lingus spokeswoman said, "We have no current plans to introduce larger seats -- but as with all product innovation we will watch developments and keep matters under review."

"We'll be watching innovation that comes on stream in terms of new seating options that arrive on the market," she said "We will also gauge the level of demand. We review matters such as this on a case by case basis.

Samoa Air recently introduced a 'pay-by-weight' system, while Southwest charges overweight passengers for two seats.

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