Ever since fuel prices have been on the rise, I've wondered why airlines don't price tickets based on weight rather than the current system where pricing is related to factors that few of us understand.

I mean, really, if it costs more to fly a 300 pound person than a 180 pound person, why shouldn't the 300 pound person pay more?

And by "300 pound person" I'm including the 200 pound person that brings 100 pounds of baggage along. That costs money to fly too.

We're sort of headed in that direction with extra costs for extra bags, but why not just go all the way? Make the pricing fair. Airlines can compete on a dollars per pound from point A to point B.

airliner

Clearly the airlines are desperate to save weight.

This might encourage people to pack less junk. That's save fuel costs, baggage handline time, and so on. It might even encourage frequent flies to think twice about eating that Cinnabon "treat" before getting on board.

Would that be so bad?

After all, when it comes to buying gas at the pump for our cars, we each pay for what we use. The people who are moving heavier loads (either themselves or their cars) buy more gas and the gas stations "compete" on a dollars per gallon basis. There's no flat fee to fill up a car based on when you decided you need to fill up.

Same with electricity. And water. And so many other things in life.

Let's pay the actual cost and no pretend that moving a 12 year old across country uses the same amount of fuel as her overweight 48 year old father.

Have there been airlines that tried this in the past? Did they end up only flying supermodels and skinny people around? Did people pack less baggage?

Update: See the comments on FriendFeed too.

Posted by jzawodn at July 14, 2008 02:11 PM

Reader Comments
# chuq said:

so how do you buy tickets in advance, or for a third person, when you can't price them until you actually show up to be weighed?

on July 14, 2008 02:39 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

I'd expect to have to supply a credit card in advance and finalize it when I check in.

on July 14, 2008 02:48 PM
# fran said:

With people protesting Wall-E's portrayal of fat people (http://ken-jennings.com/blog/?p=910), I imagine this wouldn't get to far. Airlines have already got in hot water for trying to charge overweight people for 2 seats.(http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/06/20/BA93924.DTL)

Besides, it isn't just the weight of people that cost money to move, something as thin as the paint on the planes can make a difference (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071203133147AAGoCe5).

And should they charge more if fewer people are on the flight, since the fuel used will be more per person.

on July 14, 2008 02:48 PM
# Len said:

Are you for real? Is it April Fools already?

From a customer standpoint, I think this would drive many customers over the edge, I can't imagine my wife being real happy about getting on a scale at the airport. If the goal is to stop people from flying than this is a good idea. I'm already treated by the airlines like cattle, now you're proposing that they treat me like freight?

I wonder what the real costs are here. What's the fuel cost (in terms of lbs/mile) to fly X miles?

Also, fuels cost (in terms of efficiency) are very different between different types of aircraft, say an MD-80 and a 777. Are you proposing people be charged by the type of equipment they are flying on as well?

on July 14, 2008 02:50 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Len:

This is not a joke. It's a serious question/suggestion.

Why should I "pay for what I use" when it comes to energy consumption in most areas of my life, but not in the airlines--an industry that's been hit particularly hard?

I suppose trains and others apply here too, but we have so few trains in the USA that it's almost an academic discussion.

How is getting on a scale at an airport any worse than being searched and x-rayed all the time? Is that not humiliating?

on July 14, 2008 02:53 PM
# Mark said:

I didn't know how I felt about this until the part about airplanes full of supermodels. I'd gladly pay a premium for that ;)

A plan like this would certainly benefit more efficient fleets though. If (and I'm totally guessing here) the struggling airlines are the ones with the older and less efficient fleets, wouldn't this sort of spell the end for them if they couldn't upgrade?

on July 14, 2008 02:56 PM
# Kevin Scaldeferri said:

@Len: I presume that "Airlines can compete on a dollars per pound from point A to point B" means precisely that price would depend to a degree on the type of plane. Actually, I imagine that's true already, just not explicitly exposed to the consumer.

on July 14, 2008 02:58 PM
# Alexander Kintis said:

Good for customers but bad for business.

For the airlines to break even with that pricing strategy, they'd have to, obviously, take the difference in price for the lighter people and add it to the price of the heavier people. That alone would cause a riot because, among many other reasons, overall price changing has been relatively stagnant for decades.

If it does end up being generally accepted, airlines could make a strive for the better. Maybe not fare, pun *laugh*, as well as the oil companies but possibly draw in more revenue since, in the US alone, 6.45 people out of 10 are considered "overweight".

Also, first comment makes a good point; obviously there'd have to be amendments to the strategy to encompass all loose ends.

on July 14, 2008 02:58 PM
# said:

How about a metered system...

Start with a base price for a ticket/baggage that would be considered "Average". The old FAA standard of 180lbs/person would no longer work, but I'm sure they could establish some baseline.

If you go over, you pay more. If you don't, then you get to keep the base price. Just like a cell phone plan, you buy a certain # of minutes, if you exceed, you pay proportionately.

on July 14, 2008 02:58 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Fran:

Your paint comment makes me wonder if you read the story I linked too. It's clear that the airlines are now bending over backwards (removing equipment and changing procedures) to avoid spending extra dollars on fuel. I think that the paint/primer issue is valid too.

on July 14, 2008 02:58 PM
# Andy Beal said:

Ambulance-chasing attorneys around the country just licked their lips at the discrimination lawsuit opportunities. ;-)

on July 14, 2008 02:59 PM
# PS said:

So I would presume then that you also believe in non-net-neutrality, i.e. no unlimited internet for all, but pay as you use. Surf hulu, download torrents = pay more internet charges.

The variance is lot more with internet bandwidth usage than with passenger (+luggage) weight.

on July 14, 2008 02:59 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

PS:

I expect that if a bandwidth crisis hits (whatever that means), we'll see that sort of thing happen too.

Why should internet bandwidth be different than other utilities that come into my house via pipe or wire?

on July 14, 2008 03:02 PM
# Fred Moyer said:

Adding a $25 fee for each extra bag is (relatively) easy from a systems perspective. The airline system is already built with fees and baggage as design considerations.

Charging by weight adds a new variable to the system and requires some degree of architectural changes. If the airline did have a system that accounted for weight, and knew exactly how much it cost, they would likely make money. But given the current state of airlines, it seems likely that they don't exactly have a great handle on exactly where all the costs are (or they wouldn't be going under left and right).

This is not an impossible problem to solve, but it is not trivial either. What if you got a plane half full of 100 lb school kids on a trip? The algorithm behind ticket prices is complicated enough that this would only add difficulty. But this would be a fun problem to solve!

on July 14, 2008 03:11 PM
# Bill said:
on July 14, 2008 03:11 PM
# bmers said:

looks like one (fake) airline is already giving it a go:

http://realneo.us/blog/peter-n-dewolfe/an-airline-with-a-new-idea-weight-based-fares

on July 14, 2008 03:11 PM
# Charles said:

Jeremy,

This probably seems fair if you're Tom Cruise-height. It starts feeling less fair when you're 6'5".

If you were to continue this heartless debate, you'd want some sort of compensation for height. And since average height differs among races -- not to mention the relationship between BMI and body fat -- you'd need race-based compensation as well.

-- Charles

on July 14, 2008 03:18 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Charles,

Do you make a similar argument to the water company? After all, it takes more water to shower a tall person and they charge by the gallon.

How is this different?

on July 14, 2008 03:20 PM
# Rafe said:

Yes! It's a modest proposal (http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html). It's horrible and unfair in a dozen ways, but it's the only plan that makes sense given the fact that fuel is the main (only?) variable expense per coach passenger excluding trivialities like sodas and pretzels. And it's transparent. The per-bag charge introduces all sorts of inefficiencies and regressive charges.

on July 14, 2008 03:37 PM
# Geoff said:

Totally with you on this Jeremy that is why aircraft fuel is sold by weight not volume. AA didn't used to paint there planes for the weight reason as well. If the true weight of passengers and luggage were known then the aircraft could probably load less fuel as well!

on July 14, 2008 03:47 PM
# Laurie said:

Showering is not a good argument in regards to "charge for weight" -- there are too many other variables involved in taking the actual shower to make any simple correlation for height and water used.

Do you think the airlines could afford the costs to build an appropriate data analysis package for "pay for weight"? Remember, there's going to be lawyers, so you'd better be able to prove your model to a bunch of people.

What's the physical configuration of the jet? Boeing, MD, Airbus? Is it a jet at all? You get to the point where you're in a DeHavilland Comet, and now you're talking distribution of weight in addtion to sheer mass involved. If they have to swap out a MD80 for a 737, besides 15 people losing their seats, do we see a change in the weight charges?

Is there a straight line correlation between mass and what's needed to launch the jet? Is it a straight line to a point, and it becomes hyperbolic? and if it's a non-linear model, how do you assign charges?

You bet someone would be asking these questions in a court case.

on July 14, 2008 04:03 PM
# Greg Tyree said:

As someone who clocks in at 6'7" and 290 lbs. I would call that discriminatory. I mean I can't help that I am large (and not fat, just large) and would consider it unfair to pay more simply because I am. If they took such an approach then the whole idea of coach would have to change because I certainly wouldn't pay a premium to sit in a seat designed for someone 5'10".

The comment on compensation for height would be needed because you can't penalize someone beyond their control.

on July 14, 2008 04:15 PM
# Matt said:

I find it interesting to think about what would happen if just one airline implemented a price-by-weight policy. Assuming it was priced properly, I think that airline would get more business from people who weigh less, and would be able to keep costs and prices low. Thus, other airlines would see their average passenger's weight rise, and would have to raise prices accordingly. Thus, larger people could end up paying the penalty implicitly.

There's some precedent for this kind of thing in insurance, in a way. Customers who are going to cost the company more (in expected value) have to pay more, even if it's not their fault.

on July 14, 2008 04:26 PM
# Mark Armendariz said:

At 6'6". I have to agree with Charles.

The tall have such special treatment on airplanes as it is. This would just add one more line item to a long list of things that make travel suck miserably for anyone over 6 feet in height.

Maybe if we weren't already being crammed into kid-seats, it would be different. Sure, I could ask for a bulkhead so I've nowhere to put my laptop, or for an exit row, with cold - non-reclining seats and steel walls for armrests - all for about an extra 2 - 3 inches of leg-room.

Otherwise I've little choice but to gain a special familiarity by way of my knees with the spine of the poor traveler seated in front of me. And forget about getting a tray table over my numb knees!! All this for an extra $50 per round trip ticket for being at a healthy weight for my height.

Don't get me wrong, I love being tall. It's the discomfort I find in a world designed for short people that gets under my fingernails. Having to pay more the for pleasure might be a hard pill to swallow.

on July 14, 2008 04:41 PM
# Doug Cutting said:

I'm 6'8" and would gladly pay proportional to my weight or height, especially if I could get proportional legroom too!

on July 14, 2008 04:52 PM
# Phil Windley said:

I think the weight policy ought to be like liquids pre and post security check. That is, you get weighed at the counter and anything you eat after that (like the Cinnabon) is free. :-)

on July 14, 2008 05:13 PM
# Glen Campbell said:

Some nice things here, too. For example, if you're traveling with newborn twins, you can afford to get them separate seats, since they'll only cost $30 each. I'm sure that'll make the airlines happy. Imagine all the school trips that you can now afford to take by plane instead of by bus!

on July 14, 2008 05:17 PM
# charlene said:

So then would crew members who weigh less, make more $$?

Oversized clothing costs more than regular sized clothing. It takes more fabric and they're heavier to ship. It makes sense.

I think the larger issue is that the airlines aren't charging what it really costs to fly. Maybe they should start with fixing that.

on July 14, 2008 05:33 PM
# Andre Stechert said:

Interesting discussion. According to http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/Careers/02/02/cb.tall.people/index.html, tall people not only make more money, but are smarter. I wonder how that plays into the discussion :-).

on July 14, 2008 06:04 PM
# Vee said:

I would probably endorse the idea as it would encourage me to exercise more. Too bad that in our oh so politically-correct society it would never fly (no pun intended).

on July 14, 2008 06:20 PM
# Doug said:

I'm not really sure if the people claiming "discrimination!" are understanding the idea. Jeremy clearly explained that it costs the airline more to haul heavier customers. Thats not discrimination it is basic business. Especially when you consider that Jeremy's idea isn't relegated to body weight. It includes the weight of your carry-ons and checked bags as well. Therefore, no discrimination.

Airlines already do something worse than this anyway. If you are so fat that you take up 2 seats you get charged for 2 seats on the plane to make up for the lost revenue that the airline is not able to capture if they were to sell that seat.

For those of you complaining "but I'm tall I can't help it!". Don't you guys already pay extra for upgraded roomier seats anyway? Should you expect those seats for free just because you are burdened with an extra few inches of leg? The airline shouldn't be burdened with your problem either. If you are too tall you pay extra. Again not discrimination.

on July 14, 2008 08:10 PM
# James Day said:

Typical empty weight of a 747-200: 128,730 lb. Passenger capacity in two class configuration: 201. Empty weight / passenger capacity = 640 lb just for the aircraft.

Typical empty weight of a 747-400: 398,780 lb. Passenger capacity in typical three class configuration: 416. Empty weight / passenger capacity = 959 lb just for the aircraft.

So using that 747-400, cost of flying a 12 year old weighing say 120lb with baggage compared to a 48 year old at say 300lb is in the ratio (959 + 120) : (959 + 300) => 1079 : 1259 or a 1259 / 1079 = 1.17 times the fare for the father. For the 747-200 the answer is 1.24 times.

With that sort of variation even with full aircraft and minimum overhead per passenger is it worthwhile?

Now fly the aircraft half full. For the 747-200 the fare premium drops to 12.8% and for the 747-400 to 8.8%.

If you're serious about saving fuel, don't fly the planes with a high proportion of empty seats; cheaper to pay the passengers to take different flights with less empty seats since most of the weight is the aircraft.

It's also probably clear why the UK has proposed changing from a per-passenger tax to a per-flight tax: most of the cost is the plane, so flying it and not the passenger count is what matters most.

For simplicity I've assumed that cost is simply proportional to weight.

The calculations did cause me to notice that following your logic the fares should be lower for people flying on full flights than for people flying on nearly empty flights. I'll look forward to the airlines doing this or explaining why some passengers are being asked to pay more when most of the cost difference really depends on how full the plane is. Presumably the surcharge should vary based on the actual cost difference after allowing for fixed costs like the plane?

Your proposal appears to lack great merit compared to encouraging airlines not to fly with lots of empty seats and rewarding passengers for flying on flights with fewer empty seats.

on July 14, 2008 10:39 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

James: what are these "empty seats" you speak of? I haven't seen one in years on any of my flights!

on July 14, 2008 11:40 PM
# James Day said:

Jeremy, load factor on Continental was 83.6% in June 2008 so there are quite a few of those empty seats around somewhere.

Maybe we should pity anyone flying in off hours if there's a surcharge based on the passenger's share of the total flight weight? Being the only passenger on a 747-400 would really hurt at a 416 times the fare because of the extra weight per passenger.

I suppose that would encourage people to fly at peak times to get the cheapest fares...

The airlines seem to be doing this sort of thing anyway, reducing schedules and mothballing or selling older aircraft to reduce the capacity in the system. Mergers doing the same thing. Shame there are some practical difficulties with just not flying a leg, since that leaves the plane out of position for the next leg that might be nearly full.

Less seriously, thanks for doing your bit and suffering crowded flights in the interest of fuel efficiency! :)

on July 15, 2008 12:00 AM
# Mark Armendariz said:

"Don't you guys already pay extra for upgraded roomier seats anyway?"

Nope, I fly coach and pay what you pay while jamming my knees in your back.

"Should you expect those seats for free just because you are burdened with an extra few inches of leg?"

Free seats? No. A couple rows with the same price prioritized for taller people? Sure.

"The airline shouldn't be burdened with your problem either. If you are too tall you pay extra. Again not discrimination."

This is only true if we're all paying according to height. Otherwise, that's the exact definition of discrimination.

on July 15, 2008 12:27 AM
# Jean Pierre said:

I think a weight based ticket fare for passengers would be considered highly politically incorrect (at least in the U.S.) BUT: how about airlines just start charging for every single lb of luggage? *Including* carry-on baggage! Just put that on the scale during check-in, too. It's that easy.

Almost no major European airline seems to check carry-on bags. (Actually, smaller airlines like Ryanair do. They also charge you for every single piece of regular luggage.) People cram more junk into their carry-on than they have in their checked baggage, which results in jam-packed overhead compartments and flight attendants carrying passengers' bags through the plane to find a free spot to place them.

I'd pay the extra EUR 15 for my laptop bag. No problemo. But please do charge that suit over there with their oversized carry-on Rimowa case, their purse, their duty-free shopping bag, and their laptop, too.

on July 15, 2008 01:11 AM
# said:

I don't think it's worth it, is there really that much variation between human beings? They already enforce the 20kg baggage limit.

A quick search says a 747-400 uses about 36000 gallons for a 10 hour flight, so 72000 gallons return.

$134 a barrel, or $4.45 a gallon for Jet fuel (source IATA).

= $320,000 in fuel to send say 420 passengers

= $761 a person, WOW, I never knew it was so much. I'm paying 850 Euros a return ticket to Thailand, I reckon that leaves them only 200 euros (after commission etc.) to cover their fixed costs.

Jeez that's huge. I was going to say the cost of fuel is only a small part of the cost, but wow, it's like all of the costs and then some. The extra money from business and first class must be what constitutes a profit for them.

IMHO, point to point flight control is the next big saving.
Instead of the flight lanes over Europe, they should fix the software to calculate point to point flights designed for maximum efficiency. Maybe even taking the wind into account.

on July 15, 2008 01:30 AM
# SÚrgio Carvalho said:

As James Day so clearly explained, most of the weight is the plane itself. Compared to the plane, the difference between a 300 pound passenger and a 150 pound one is not relevant. Efficiency comes from flying full planes, not planes full of thin people.

Come to Europe, and fly a couple of times on low-cost airlines like Ryanair or Air Berlin. Planes are almost at full capacity. They achieve this using a pricing scheme that eases capacity planning. On low costs it's MUCH cheaper to plan a trip with a lot of advance time; this makes people buy sooner rather than later, and allows the company to plan its flights to achieve high occupation rates in planes.

on July 15, 2008 07:21 AM
# Rob Steele said:

Airlines sell convenience, not transportation. We don't ship ourselves so paying by the pound doesn't make sense. Fairs are based on hassle--the more hassle the lower the price. That's how they segment the market and get each class of customer to pay the most they're willing to pay. Things might go more smoothly if they offered a really cheap steerage class for passengers willing to sit between fatties or be thrown off at the last minute without complaining.

on July 15, 2008 08:16 AM
# Kip said:

Something I don't think anyone else has mentioned: Right now, after you buy your ticket, your credit card is charged immediately. Under this system, they couldn't charge you until you actually weighed in. That means less time to earn interest on your money, which might actually be significant to the airline's finances (if I buy tickets two weeks in advance, that's two weeks of an interest-free loan to the airline).

on July 15, 2008 09:10 AM
# Tim said:

The only benefit that I see with this plan is that if I don't show up for the flight, my weight is 0, and therefore my ticket price is also $0.00. That beats the $150.00 change fee some airlines charge.

And I think that change fee (stupid as it is) indicates there are other administrative costs which the airline wants to control -- costs independent of weight. Some costs exist merely because you're a customer. Some are because you're eating. Some are because you used the restroom.

Pretty soon if you take all these various costs together, you end up sounding like that scene from the beginning of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." From http://is.gd/TZY: "In one hilarious scene early in the film, the would-be wealthy crew argues over exactly how to divvy up the shares of the money that they haven't even found yet. Should they divide it by the number of people, the number of cars, the number people in cars? After a ludicrous discussion they decide it's every man (and woman) for himself." My favorite method from the movie was the combination of "cars" and "person in a car".

Another point is that usually only true utilities charge strictly by the true consumption of something. (water, electricity, fuel, EC2 uptime). Milk prices per fluid ounce vary between gallons and half gallons. Fountain drinks vary by cup size, and some vegetables are sold as "each" while others are sold by weight. Almost every other grocery product is sold by its package size, and not priced by strictly as $/oz * oz = $.

Moving to other industries, public services like subways and buses are sold either by distance or by time (2-hour ticket; all day ticket). Taxis are a combination of time and distance, because an infinite number of destinations is possible.

Books are not sold at a per page rate, nor are iPods sold on a $/GB basis.

So many things we buy are NOT based on pure consumption, it's more the exception than the rule. Starting there and then choosing a highly personal and emotional measurement (weight) and connecting it directly with another highly emotional topic (money), and you've simply got a recipe for an angry emotional outburst. Perhaps that's the answer to your question here: http://twitter.com/jzawodn/statuses/858507679. :-)

on July 15, 2008 10:31 AM
# joe said:

This is NOT discrimination.

Does an 8ft tall, 300 lb man consume more fuel to move by plane than a 4ft tall 75lb child would?

Yes.

Can you charge per pound? No. Charge a base rate per person that the airline NEEDS to operate on...otherwise the plain can't afford to leave. Now create a weight class system. Similar to cargo. (Doesn't mean you are treated like cargo. If you believe it does, then you are already like cargo in that you are paying for shipping of yourself) Anyways, if you are over 250 lbs, you are charged extra. If you want heavy bags, you are charged extra.

Per pound pricing would be tough to enforce and require a lot of new equipment and remodels. Your driver's license lists your weight...


on July 15, 2008 06:04 PM
# davidk said:

Only one way to find out if this idea will float or not. Start doing it and look at which airlines go bankrupt (Ignoring protest, and such).

One thing that I foresee in the implementation of this idea: It opens the door for the homogenization of the human being. Too fat? Nope, you can't fly. Get thinner. You're too tall. Heres the number of a surgeon. Sooner or later, everybody will need to fit into some sort of mold as we are required to fit some sort of "form" to be provided an essential service--as a society we may be better for it (productive, psychologically healthier), but I can't help but think this is sort of scary.

Granted, it won't come fast -- It'll be something that slowly erodes into our daily life, like everything else today.

on July 15, 2008 06:13 PM
# Rick S said:

I think we're on to something here. But let's try to describe it more as a general principle. First, establish a new federal agency that will be charged with describing a normal curve (or other appropriate distribution) to all activities in the US. Then, let's make it policy to charge people who deviate from the mean a proportional amount, we'll call it the deviant tax and it will be meant to 1) force normal behavior, 2) recovery costs associate with servicing deviants, and 3) pay for the newly created deviant police. Slippery slope Jeremy: no harm in asking the question, but honestly, one of the less rational proposals I've read here. If this was spurred by a weight and balance problem with Citabria, time for a new plane, or something that flies on biodiesel. AvGas ain't getting any cheaper.

on July 16, 2008 04:48 AM
# Stephan said:

The nickel and diming does more harm than good and charging by wait would probably cost more than it is worth.

You will have to install scales at the check-in counters and probably at the gates as well to make sure that people's carry-ons are not too big.

Most of the traveling I do is for business, so this would not affect me directly except for time spent waiting on people to be weighed, etc. Right now my routine is to show up at the airport, print my boarding pass at a kiosk, go through security, sync e-mail in the lounge, and head to the gate. All of that takes an hour. With more security and checks at the check-in counter, it just kills time.

What would be a better alternative? Reduce capacity and raise prices. Put some airplanes in the desert until the economy rights itself and get them back when this is over.

on July 16, 2008 06:36 AM
# James Day said:

Joe, you do have a point about tall people. We should encourage airlines to have sets of seats with different spacing so that they can put more short people in the same space. That way short and tall people can both end up with some free space between their knees and the seat in front and they still all get to their destination at the same time. Meanwhile the extra row or two of seats will help the airlines to reduce pricing for everyone.

on July 16, 2008 06:08 PM
# Doug G. said:

Hey, if you really think it's a good idea, go ahead a start up an airline company that sets its fares this way.

Reality check: Prices of goods are not set based on costs. They are set based on what purchasers are willing to pay.

By the way, the only U.S. airline that is currently profitable is apparently the only one not pissing their customers off by charging fees for things like checking bags. Perhaps further pissing customers off by making them step on a scale as they board (really? could you imagine anything more humiliating??) is not the best business strategy.

on July 16, 2008 08:57 PM
# said:

@James - where did you get that load factor percentage from? I believe you, but just want to see what other information might be listed for my own curiosity.

on July 17, 2008 08:19 AM
# Andrew S said:

An excellent idea! Please move to the airline industry. Your jets will have the highest MPG by far of any other airline, since your planes will be empty :)

(and in response to a previous comment, for some small flights you do already get weighed at the airport)

on July 19, 2008 12:20 AM
# Brian Duffy said:

No matter how you cut it, this policy is going to either be directly discriminatory, or lead to job discrimination that is indirectly caused by the policy.

Case in point. I'm 6'6", 300 lbs... not in fighting trim anymore, but I'm not Homer Simpson either. I used to have a consulting job where I was on a place 2-4 times a week, paying full-priced tickets since business travel often gets decided near the last minute. So back in those days, my ticket cost the company $500, while the tourist next to me may have paid half that. If you decide to put a surcharge on me due to my weight, guess what -- I'm going to lose that job to a smaller person -- even though the fare has no relationship to the cost of the seat to begin with.

Airlines are losing money because of the deregulated environment, which has led to ticket prices being pegged to "demand" instead of the cost of goods sold.

Ever wonder why Hertz profitable while Delta isn't? The core reason is Hertz's prices are based on depreciation + cost + markup. Delta's (or any other airlines) price structure is indecipherable.

The airlines have been locked in an endless price war which doesn't serve anyone well. Whatever money we've "saved" via deregulation has been paid back 5x over through bankruptcy write-offs and needless taxpayer expense.

on July 22, 2008 05:29 AM
# Kent Brewster said:

I'd recommend that all passengers and baggage be weighed at boarding, and everyone be charged or refunded a share of the difference between the total weight and a percentage-of-capacity number, to be determined by the aviation & powerframe guys and made available to passengers at the time of ticket purchase.

The discrimination argument goes out the window, and anyone who wants to ship more than X number of pounds--self plus baggage--has a real motivation to take that Tuesday afternoon flight.

on July 22, 2008 09:50 AM
# James Day said:

Load factor sources: type 83.6% June into your search engine of choice.

on July 22, 2008 09:36 PM
# Pat said:

Hmm, do the airlines let only skinny people on the aircraft so that that they can get more people on the plane, or Hmmm, do the airlines let only obese people on the plane so that they can charge more, because of the extra weight load.

I think first, the CEO's and presidents of these companies, should take their own cattle planes and not take the personal aircraft, and I am sure that they would think twice on taking their own planes. People do not enjoy flying anymore. You are squeezed, lengthwise, widthwise, Heightwise -- So charge more for all these different kinds of persons.

If I did not have to fly, I certainly would not.

on July 23, 2008 06:35 AM
# James D'Andrea said:

I think the discrimination issue would be moot if the pricing model changes from passanger capacity to one based on weight. Assuming that the airlines do not change the number or seats in their fleets by swapping out "normal width seats" for wider "bariatric seats," then the airlines would want to maximize the weight per seat ratio to maximize their revenues. Then the airlines would want target their marketing efforts towards heavier people. The new model will reward airlines who could transport the heaviest person the furthest distance with the least cost. VIVA LA FAT!!

on August 2, 2008 09:32 AM
# sam said:

We all are looking for comfort in transportation. Weight procedures airline should changes hopefully the new models will increase the weight.

on December 25, 2008 10:01 AM
# guchamali said:

ur an asshole

on March 18, 2009 02:18 AM
# 39 Cent Stamp said:

I install home theaters. I charge clients based on how smart they are. If your an idiot that I have to spend more time teaching the system to you...you pay more. I have all clients complete an IQ test and a street smarts quiz.

on April 15, 2009 04:15 PM
# Bigger Seats said:

I like your plan Jeremy. The only thing i would like to add is that if your larger and paying more you should get a larger seat. Maybe they can make them adjustable or create weight class sections.

Carry on luggage.. They should start charging $50 a bag. Now that they charge for checked luggage everyone went out and bought the largest carry on bags they could find. They run out of storage space before half the seats are full now.

They should charge a one time fee each time you use the rest room. If i dont have to go.. why should part of my ticket pay for a toilet?

They should also charge more for noise. People with whiney babies or annoying children should pay double and loud talkers should pay 20% more.

They should also charge more for odor. Whens the last time you got stuck on a plane next to someone who doesnt bother to shower? I would rather have a fat guy spilling into my seat than a thin funky one whos odor spills into everyones seat.

Another thing i would like the airlines to charge for is the idiots who fall asleep with a blanket over their head but forget to close their stupid window so i have the sun shining into my face the whole trip. I once asked the flight chick to ask a guy to close his window and she said she couldnt because he was sleeping so i kicked the back of his seat a couple of times until he woke up while she stood there and then she asked him to close the window.

on April 15, 2009 04:37 PM
# Dave said:

The cost of extra weight to the airline (in extra fuel etc.) is not excessively "large". I calculate $2 to $3 extra per hour per 100 lb/45 kg extra for a medium twin. This is small relative to the real cost to the airline which is the per seat cost. Therefore, if you take up two seats, you pay for two seats. This is somewhat "obvious". I.e. the airline is losing a "paying" customer if two (or even 1 1/2 seats) are occupied by ONE person. I suppose if you could match up a large person with a small child in "side by side" seating, maybe the child could pay 1/2 price for the seat and the large person could pay 1 1/2 times for the seat. This can be difficult to accomplish in the "real world" though. And forget all of this talk about making WIDER seats. That means wider aircraft which are definitely a lot LESS aerodynamic and therefore LESS fuel efficient and therefore will DEFINITELY cost a lot MORE to operate. And if seat "rows" are removed to accomodate wider seats on current aircraft, prices per seat will obviously go up commensurately as the total operational costs remain essentially the same. Maybe a "slight" savings in weight/fuel (see above). Just purchase a first class seat if you need the room. This will give you more comfort and an idea of the cost of wider seats placed throughout the rest of the cabin.

on April 30, 2009 05:26 PM
# ~Blondie~ said:

Hi, I'm doing a debate on this topic and why or why not it should be allowed. I would like to know more about it and any comments you guys have.....
Thanks, Blondie

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on December 5, 2009 05:36 AM
# charlesbrooks said:

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on February 4, 2010 10:39 PM
# John said:

Tall heavy people should, naturally, not be penalized excessively. The equation driving price should be weighted towards BMI (body mass index). This places the responsibility where it ought to be - people who tend to be wider than taller, hence using not only fuel but space. The result, in economic terms, would be a set of airlines where your fellow passengers would be as thin as you are. I, for one, would finally be able to enjoy my ride without suffering the bloated flabby elbows of my neighbor in my space the whole ride.

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