When I first thought about airlines charging based on overall passenger weight, I thought, “No way…no airline would have the guts to do it.”Â But after thinking about it some and after all the recent weight-related airline news, I think this could actually work. Hear me out…
I couldn’t see Southwest or United doing something like this, but maybe someone more like Ryanair or Spirit would be willing to try it. Or at least they would advertise that they might do it in order to get free publicity, but never actually do it
Weight equals money. The heavier the plane, the more fuel it takes to move it and the more it costs. Just a little change can mean big savings for an airline. Think about shipping a package. Most of what you are paying for is weight. They will put your package on a scale, find out where it is going and give you the cost. The more it weighs, the more you pay. Why shouldn’t airlines do the same?
Already, some airlines have gotten a little creative with reducing weight. From Qantas installing carbon fiber seats to cut down on weight toÂ ANA recommending that passengers use the restroom before their flight.
If airlines are looking at creative ways to reduce weight, why couldn’t one take it to the next step and charge for a passenger’s overall weight to get from point A to B?
Should a 80lb child with 10lbs of baggage pay the same amount to fly across country as a 250lb person with 150lbs of luggage? It almost doesn’t seem fair when you think about it. Yes, a child and 250lb person might take up a seat, but it won’t cost the airline the same amount to fly each across country.
I am not just talking about charging a passenger based on how much they weigh, but how much everything weighs that they are transporting. If you don’t weigh much and have no bags, your ticket might beÂ extremelyÂ cheap. Where someone at 250lbs with bags will cost a bit more.
This game plan of course has its faults. Here are some of my major concerns:
* Would it cause people to do unhealthy behaviors to pay less? Like not eat for a few days or sweat out weight?
* How about passengers with documented disability of being overweight?
* At some point passengers will have to be weighed. Will they be willing to do it? They might… when flying on small prop aircraft, many will ask weight.
* What if a price cut off is at 200lbs and you are at 201lbs? That would be reallyÂ frustrating.
* People would totally be upset about this. Bitch and moan and say they will never fly the airline. However, this happened with checked bag (and carry-on) fees, yet people still pay them. SoÂ short-termÂ anger followed byÂ acceptanceÂ would most likely be the course of action.
* Mary Kirby brought this one up…what about items you buy after you check in and are in the terminal. Like food, duty-free items, etc?
I would envision a big scale at the ticket counter. You step on it with all your gear. Only the ticket agent sees the total number. Or heck, maybe they don’t even see it and it just tells them how much your ticket will cost. Possibly, the first 150lbs get to fly for a cheap base fare and anything after that would get charged an extra $1 per pound. Someone who has a total weight 150lbs might pay $100.00 for a ticket and someone with 300lbs of total weight would pay $350.00 for the same flight.
Is this idea crazy? Possibly. But if it costs less to fly you and your stuff across country, why should you pay to fly someone else who has more weight? I would be willing to bet top dollar that airlines have already discussed this as aÂ possibility. There might be some upfront costs, but I think a smaller airline might be able to make something like this work.
Think we might see this anytime soon? How would you react?Â Okay…Â time to hit the gym.Image: DrBakker