Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Fat tax on planes? Try this for an airline...

Good evening and welcome to Andy West airlines. This is your pilot speaking.

Dr Bharat P Bhatta has caused a right old dust-up, after suggesting that fat passengers should pay more for flights, because of the fact that heaving their weighty bottoms into the air burns up a greater amount of fuel.

Writing in this month's Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management (a publication every bit as exciting and unpredictable as an Alexander McCall Smith novel), he suggests lighter passengers should also receive a discount. 'Hear, hear!' I say.

In fact good old I Can't Believe It's Not Bhatta has given me the inspiration and drive I needed to set up my own airline! Yes, there'll be additional charges for plump passengers as well as discounts for guys with long legs. I reckon it'd be a runway success. Get it? Please have your boarding cards ready...

Good evening and welcome to Andy West airlines. This is your pilot speaking.

Might I take a moment to acquaint you with a few of the airline's in-flight benefits and policies? You will have appreciated our passenger-filtering system before boarding the plane. Those who queued unnecessarily at the gate despite having seat reservations have each received their complimentary slap from the crew on boarding the plane.

Those pretending a suitcase is hand luggage have now had their suitcases removed to the rear of the plane and chucked out of the door. If you have already reclined your seat, even though you haven't been on the plane five minutes, you will now receive a second complimentary slap from a crew member.

You will be pleased to see our crew members are, in fact, the Swedish national football team - apart from the one who looks like a dangerous egg. Unfortunately their uniforms have been mislaid so they have no choice but to work in their pants.

Andy West Airlines has now loaded all luggage into the hold. I don't know if there was a pet in the cat box. If there was, it's dead. Get over it. This is a plane not Noah's ark.

We are now fully tanked up and so is the plane so we shall be taxiing to the runway very shortly.

Please note that all mobile phones must now be switched off. Business calls during the flight will result in me personally hunting you down and choking you with a microwaved panini.

Parents travelling with young children should be aware that we do not permit any shouting or crying during our flights. Such behavior will lead to your entire family being locked in the noisy family cupboard for the remainder of the journey. It is small and cold. I suggest you keep your Jemimas and Jacks quiet or drug them.

To those unfortunate enough to sit in front of a child who has not been brought up properly, please inform a member of the crew immediately if the back of your chair is kicked. The offending child will have their legs confiscated and ejected from the plane. You will be aware that we do not permit babies on our aeroplanes because they're babies and why the hell would you take a baby on a long-haul flight in the first place anyway? If you have smuggled a baby onto this flight and it starts to cry, we will find it and you will go into the noisy family cupboard. If there is not any space in the noisy family cupboard, then the baby will be ejected from the plane immediately along with the legs.

The use of the toilets is strictly monitored. No passenger can spend more than four minutes in the cubicles. If you take longer than that, the doors will automatically open and you will be forced to join the back of the queue mid-poo. If you are taking drugs in there, please be careful not to waste any. The toilets are not for those wishing to join the mile high club. That is, unless you are Dean and Sarah from Wigan in seats H10 and 11. We'll be filming you. Those wishing to see a selection of voyeuristic short films taped during the in-bound flight from Los Angeles might wish to peruse our exclusive channel: LAXtube.

The seats on this flight can recline but we ask that you refrain from waggling your chair back and forth incessantly for the entire flight. Be aware that you are not the only human being on Planet Earth and there is someone sitting behind you and it's more than likely they have legs. If you are found to be inconsiderately reclining your seat, a member of the crew will be employed to pour your drinks on your lap and pummel your face with a hard, scratchy cushion for the remainder of the flight.

Finally – and I will be reiterating this as we approach Mykonos – can I remind all passengers that, on landing, they are not to unbuckle and stand from their seats while the plane is still in motion. There is no need to engage in a race to see who can retrieve their belongings first. Nor is there any sense in standing in the aisles before we have reached the terminal. Anyone guilty of premature evacuation will be tasered. Please do not applaud when the plane lands. You are an adult. Grow up.

We have now been given permission to make our way to the runway. To everyone on board, please enjoy your flight with Andy West Airlines. There will be no safety presentation because it's a waste of everybody's time and frankly the world would be better off without you.

I'm told the weather in Mykonos is hot. There may be no return flight. I wish you a very comfortable journey.