Will Airlines Charge Passengers By Weight?

I think we all knew this idea was going to float to the surface. An article on Bloomberg.com suggests that airlines might maybe, just possibly, consider weighing passengers and charging by the pound. As if we were freight.

Oh, wait. News flash. We ARE freight.

So I’ll fast-forward through all the airline bashing and outrage to this question: would it work? I think probably not.

As I pointed out in March (bash, bash, outrage, outrage) it’s the logical extension of charging a fee for luggage. The more weight on an aircraft, the argument goes, the more fuel it burns.

Except that, as somebody pointed out in a sage entry on FlyerTalk, airline ticket pricing isn’t about actual costs. It’s about supply and demand, and that’s why it can cost more to fly a short distance than a longer one.

If airlines want to get all logical about fares, they should get entirely logical and charge by weight and distance. There must be some formula. (How about fat x far = broke?)

Anyway, if they want to weigh me, they can weigh me with my luggage. At least I’ll be able to claim that I’m carrying lead pipes and bowling balls.


3 thoughts on “Will Airlines Charge Passengers By Weight?

  1. Mary

    I remember that Kenya Air weighed both passengers and luggage for a flight from Nairobi to Lamu many years ago. They didn’t charge by the pound though, they were just caluclating very closely how much weight they could take on and still get over the mountains on the way to the coast. They made it, but I refused to fly back, and instead flew down the coast to Mombasa and took the night train to Nairobi.

  2. Heather

    I don’t see this going over well either. Most execs should see that required weigh- ins would be discriminatory. Southwest’s policy is discriminatory and it surprises me the the lawsuits that have been lodged against the company have been unsuccessful. While Southwest’s policy mainly targets those who are overweight or obese, it appears it may also target women with wide hips. For women, it is not necessary to be overweight to have hips that do not fit into airline seats.

  3. Lee

    I am really sick the last acceptable prejudice in this country, that being picking on big people!
    Having been fat and then thin, I think this is disgusting.
    The seats are terrible if you are thin or big!
    They need to make the seats larger for everyone and just charge a bit more. People would be I think, happy to be comfortable.
    People will be ashamed to get a ticket. Imagine someone in front of so many people being weighed and humiliated as if a criminal.
    What a stupid thought.


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