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overweight air traveler passenger airplane obeseDo you weigh a lot? You could end up paying a lot (more) for flights if airlines take a new “pay as you weigh” proposal seriously. The essay, written by a professor at a university in Norway, proposes three options for charging overweight passengers more money, explaining that the heavier a passenger is, the higher the fuel cost for the airline to transport that person. The author argues that said changes would benefit not only the airlines, but also consumers, both in terms of in-flight comfort (passengers would sit in seats of appropriate sizes) and overall health (it could be an incentive to lose weight).

More Obese Fliers, Smaller Airplane Seats?

Option 1
This option would involve a straightforward per-pound model, where passengers pay a fixed price per pound. Skinnier and/or shorter passengers would obviously pay less than taller, heavier ones.

Option 2
Under this scenario, each passenger would pay a base fare, and adjustments would be made from there — heavier passengers would be charged more, or lighter passengers would be charged less.

Option 3
In this model, three separate fares would be offered, based on body weight: one fare for underweight passengers, one fare for average passengers and one fare for overweight passengers. For the sake of his argument, the author uses the following as ballpark figures, which include the total weight of both the passenger and his or her luggage: underweight = less than or equal to 75 kg (165 pounds), average weight = 76 – 125 kg (167.5 – 275.5 pounds) and overweight = 126 kg (278 pounds) or more.

Poll: Should Obese Passengers Be Required to Buy a Second Seat?

The proposal, which seems logistically impossible, is unlikely to be adopted by airlines anytime soon, but the essay does address several bones of contention that might arise if it’s put into practice in the future. Won’t it discriminate against overweight/muscular/tall/pregnant people? How will it be enforced? How will it affect things like check-in time if airline personnel have to weigh luggage AND passengers?

“Weigh in” with your thoughts below.

— written by Ashley Kosciolek

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3 Responses to “Air Freight: Passengers to Be Charged by Body Weight?”

  1. Barb Paul says:

    Keep luggage the way it is now except to enforce the size restriction for carryon which isn’t being done now even though it should be. Also keep the checked luggage the way it is now. Charging for overwt.

    Set a weight restriction and weigh everyone at check in at the same time as luggage. All overwt must pay extra just like luggage. Check for seat size the same way you check for carry on luggage size, i.e., the way you should as you have the equipment there to do it but you aren’t doing it. Have a seat and if a person can’t fit into it they must buy 2 seats. This seat should have sides on it all the way up and down, not just arms and open space that they can hang over into another space. Aisles are a consideration also as some can hardly pass thru aisles. It is getting dangerous with these huge bodies on planes as they can’t even get in and out of seats safely.

    I don’t see a reduction if lighter just like you don’t get a reduction for lighter luggage. I see this whole issue as very plain and simple.

  2. I’ve written on this topic. I agree that travelers should be charged by a combination of their total tonnage and their total volume. Given that space on a plane is limited, those requiring more should pay more. Especially if they require a second seat. Paying a fee for total tonnage makes sense given fuel costs, those that have more weight, including their baggage should pay more than those that don’t, it’s simple.

  3. airfreightphilippines says:

    I think it is fair for obese passengers to charged or pay more if they are not fitted in the space provided by airline companies. It is unfair for underweight passengers if their obese seatmate will use extra space and making them uncomfortable for the whole flight.

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