Should overweight fliers have to pay more?
A Norwegian professor proposes 3 pay-as-you-weigh approaches to airfare, but carriers aren't biting -- yet.
That sounds just fine, until economists consider applying the same standard to overweight airline passengers.
Bharat Bhatta, an associate professor at Norway's Sogn og Fjordane University College, wrote last week in the Journal of Revenue Pricing and Management that airlines should consider charging by space and weight. According to Reuters, Bhatta suggests that such a move would not only help airlines recoup some of the fuel costs associated with carrying additional weight, but it would also offer passengers motivation to drop a few pounds and get a discount.
Bhatta has devised three pay-as-you-weigh pricing plans that may be coming soon to the airline of your choice. The first would charge passengers according to how much they and their baggage weighed so that someone weighing 130 pounds pay would half the price of someone weighing 260.
The second would use a fixed base rate that rises for every passenger above a specified weight threshold. It's by far the most unwieldy option because every passenger would pay a different fare. The third option, Bhatta's favorite, would set three fares: One for passengers of average weight, one for overweight passengers and one for those below average.
Carriers like Air France and Southwest Airlines (LUV) already require heavier passengers to pay for extra seats if they're too large to fit in one, but they offer refunds once the flight is over. In Southwest's case, a very public run-in with "Clerks" and "Chasing Amy" director Kevin Smith that resulted in him being taken off a flight because of his weight in 2010 has put that airline's policy in the spotlight. United Air Lines (UAL) also requires customers too large to fit in one seat to buy another.
With airline fees already stacking up, the flying public may not be so receptive to a new one that requires them to hit the scales. While no airline has admitted considering such a policy, don't be surprised to see major carriers funneling frequent-flier miles toward gym memberships.
Before we start talking about paying more how about making seats people actually fit in. At 6' 3" 220lbs I dread having to fly and do to the discomfort will drive very long distances when ever possible to avoid it!
Yes, Lighter passengers should pay less and heavier should pay more. If you and your luggage are more or less a burden to get off the ground and stay in the air, then the fee's should be commensurate.
Totally agree. If you can't fit in a seat then you buy an extra seat. I am tired of big people expecting it is OK for them to take their seat and half of mine. I had a man get mad at me because I wanted to sit in my seat at a NASCAR race. No arms between us so he just sprawled into my seat. He really got mad. Lose weight or buy 2 tickets. It should not come as a surprise to you that you are over weight.
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