22 February 2007

Airline passengers charged by weight?

Given how strict some airlines get about checked luggage, and the growing obesity of airline passengers, an enlightened airline policy could be to combine weights of passengers and luggage to determine if there is an “excess” fare. This means instead of a standard 20kg policy for checked luggage it should be total passenger/luggage weight of (in economy class) say 113kg = 85kg body plus 28 kg for hand and checked luggage. If you weigh 65kg, you get 20kg more luggage, at 110kg you get 3kg to carry/check in, unless you pay more.
At a certain point girth has to matter too, the narrowest Air NZ seat is on the Boeing 737 at 17 inches, so that’s the test. If you can’t fit 17 inches without overlapping, buy another seat (or on international flights go up a class, where it doesn’t matter as seats in premium economy and business overlap).
It’s green too – reduces fuel consumption on planes, reduces demand for flying and it would also encourage more people to lose weight.
Now it shouldn’t be government policy, but I wonder how many people would choose an airline if they could take more luggage if they weighed less, AND knew they could have a seat without someone encroaching on their space?


Eric Crampton said...

I would choose such an airline.
I suspect, though, that more people would rather stay away from an airline requiring a public weigh-in. I can certainly imagine uncomfortable conversations among couples about how much each weighs, and that the avoidance of such conversations would be sufficient reason for many to avoid the airline.

KG said...

Flying in small bush planes, I've had to leave items behind while obese passengers were carried at exactly the same rate as me. And I weigh 72kg.
Passengers from Palm Island to Townsville used to be weighed, along with their luggage and I don't recall anyone ever complaining about it.