Air fares: Public weighs in …

According to a survey reported by  NBC News  …

Survey says: 4 in 10 Americans  wouldn’t mind being publicly weighed at the airport.


The results suggest that a once-unthinkable concept of differential fares based on size could become a fact of life for fliers.

Here are some verbatims:

YouGov:  “We’re finding that more people don’t seem to mind the concept.”

One advocate: “A lot of people don’t even weigh themselves once a year … It could be a good reality check for people and good for the health of the American public.”

Random traveler: “If you pay money for a seat, you expect to have use of all of it.”

More than half (63%) believe passengers should be required to buy a second seat if they cannot fit into a single seat with the arm rest lowered.

A spokesperson for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) asks “Are airlines going to reconfigure their planes so you have small, medium and large seats for passengers of different weights? Anything less would be discriminatory.”

Ken’s Take: An interesting conversation, but this pricing idea will certainly die of its own weight …

Thanks to EY for feeding the lead

= = = = =
P.S. Before you reply “genetics” …

I’ve got bad eye genes.  Is the eye doc discrininating when he makes me buy glasses?

If you say don’t buy them, I say “don’t fly”

All of us got dealt some bad cards.

* * * * *
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3 Responses to “Air fares: Public weighs in …”

  1. Luke Says:

    By that same vain, should they be able to engage in preferential hiring practices to thinner (and therefore more fuel-efficient and less aisle-obstructing) flight attendants?

  2. Tim Says:

    I think the bigger challenge with an idea like this is logistical. I fly every week, but never once do I interact in any way with airline personnel before boarding. I’m certainly not going to the airport to weigh in just so I can book a ticket, much less book one not knowing what my final fare will be until I weigh in at the gate. (Maybe some folks pack their bags a month in advance – I don’t.)

    I suspect that airlines would do just as well charging based on self-reported weights, when you think about it.

  3. Tim Says:

    Honestly, I suspect the actual result of pricing air fare by weight would merely be to accelerate the continuing decline in air travel. But, two more quick thoughts:

    First, on genetics: we don’t really need to debate the contribution of genetics to fatness here. I used to work (and travel) with a fellow who was beanpole thin, but weighed in at 275. He was 6’8″ tall. I suspect his clothing (hence, his baggage) weighed more than average, as well. People that tall may be rare, but there’s no doubt they’d get a double-whammy – paying extra to cram themselves into painfully uncomfortable accommodations. The same would be true for the very muscular. Clearly, there could be no exceptions for the tall or muscular – this is purely about weight, not health.

    Second (putting my marketing hat on here): maybe airlines seeking to implement this sort of pricing might start with a “base fare” assuming average weight plus 20% or something, then offering discounts based on weighing in less than that. The weigh-in is then optional with an incentive for doing so, but no risk of public humiliation for those who choose not to.

    There. I’ve now officially thought about this too much.

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