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Old 10-29-2014, 11:46 PM
Location: Honolulu
517 posts, read 567,180 times
Reputation: 588


You bet airlines have most likely already hired and had their people look at the cost/benefit of doing this. It's obvious that since it has not been implemented yet that the cost would far outweight the negligible benefit.

It is true that fuel costs are a huge part of the operating cost BUT the issue is what is the extra cost of carrying the heavier people vs the lighter people.

The difference is likely negligible and the additional INSANE amount of logistic/infrastructure needed to implement this idea (not to mention a huge PR backlash) will far outweight any benefit to an airline.

It sounds like a simple idea but to implement something like this into our current air travel infrastructure would be nearly impossible.

1. Imagine first airline to implement this, they will be trounced in the media likely (depending on political affiliation). Sure any PR is good PR but how would this help/hurt your sales?

2. How would you decide what to charge for weight? based on how much over BMI? or using pure weight?

3. How would you charge it? Is it a progressive system or a flat fee for each BMI/weight category?

4. What if you are only 0.01 over or under? Is that within the margin of error of the machines?

5. Oh yeah how much would it cost to hire extra personnel to work maintain and repair the weighing machines? What if there is tampering or bribery? Also cost of hiring a company to build/design these weigh machines and also have support systems in place to help repair fix issues. Also how many weigh machines per airport/gate/terminal?

6. How much longer would the check-in process be? Everyone has to stand and be prepped to be weighed?

7. What if after weighing, you had a HUGE bowel movement and you likely lost enough weight to be moved down into a cheaper weight category? Can you request to be weighed again to get the cheaper rate?

8. Should under-weight people get discounts? How much? Would this encourage crash diets?

9. Also, what if you bought a round trip airfare and you went on vacation and on your return leg you gained 10lbs? Can you legally challenge that it is not right because if you went on vacation a reasonable assumption is that you would gain weight?

10. What if the round trip is code-shared or utilizes multiple airlines/connections? What if you missed your connection because you had to be weight again to get on the next leg? How much extra would these cost the airlines?

11. Would this mean you have to be weighed before you get on a plane each time at the gate?

12. Oh and don't forget to hire team of IT/software company to run and integrate the new weight-factor into their price and cost systems.

13. As someone mentioned, would you have a pre-set price to pay during booking? And then apply extra charges/discounts at the time of weighing?

14. Also, airline's legal team needs to review what case-law/legal precedence is there regarding possible lawsuits for discrimination. What if someone has a medical condition that predisposes to weight gain? Would this hold up in court?

15. This may also cause possible decline in air travel and cause many to reconsider other means of transportation. Skinny people won't save enough money to want to fly vs other means of transport, so likely larger/fatter people may simply not buy a ticket. That right there is going to be possible lost overall revenue

And those are probably just scratching the surface.

And I'm sure airlines have had meetings/internal reviews/projects to study this possibility and I'm sure all those questions have been discussed and likely these things are not going to be seen in the real world anytime soon.

Old 10-30-2014, 12:35 AM
1,458 posts, read 1,206,678 times
Reputation: 2148
The weight of all of the passengers combined is negligible compare to the weight of the plane and the fuel itself. Makes no sense IMO and is an ACLU lawsuit waiting to happen.
Old 10-30-2014, 12:41 AM
Location: Honolulu
517 posts, read 567,180 times
Reputation: 588
Originally Posted by HTY483 View Post
The weight of all of the passengers combined is negligible compare to the weight of the plane and the fuel itself. Makes no sense IMO and is an ACLU lawsuit waiting to happen.
Yeah, the cost of implementing the infrastructure and extra people/hardware to do this would far far outweigh any extra benefit of increased revenue.

You'd have to pay for all the weighing machine and upkeep and personnel to run those and IT personnel to run the software and also customer service reps to handle the extra calls. I doubt any extra profit would cover the increase in cost.
Old 10-30-2014, 01:32 AM
Location: U.S.A., Earth
4,490 posts, read 2,877,828 times
Reputation: 4006
"Paying a fair share" is about what YOUR situation's about. That's all. If you want to fly halfway around the world, you can expect to pay more than someone just 600 miles away. If you want business class or first class seats, you pay more. They're simply trying to work this in with weight too.

I can see it mattering for space travel where it costs $10K to send one lb of stuff into space. For commercial flights, I'd like to see how that works out weighing your luggage and yourself. I guess they'll do it at the security gates, but then would have to tack on extra costs if you're overweight. I'd hate to have to weigh myself at a check in, if nothing else since often have just 1 small bag I don't need to check in.
Old 10-30-2014, 01:52 AM
1,588 posts, read 2,015,302 times
Reputation: 3344
I can just see it now. People going a diet weeks before their scheduled flight just to lower the surcharge. "I would have the extra slice of cake, but I have to weigh in for my flight on Saturday. Money's been tight you know!"

The idea makes sense and really has little to do with obesity as much as it does about actual weight and the effect that it has on fuel economy. It not about some obese woman who's 5'2 and weighs 150 pounds paying less than a man who's 6'7 and weighs 225 pounds. The 225 pound man, who has a lower BMI, is still causing the plane to burn up more fuel despite not being as obese.

It is a more equitable way to pay fares rather than having lighter people having to subsidize heavier people. It encourages personal responsibility. If you want to pay less, weigh less.
Old 10-30-2014, 02:29 AM
Location: SF Bay Area
14,330 posts, read 19,538,449 times
Reputation: 18436
Default No, but if too big to sit in one seat...

I am so sick of the airline industry price-gouging people. Hell no, they shouldn't be charging people by weight. Utterly riduclous. I think they should widen the seats, and give people more room to relax and enjoy the flight, rather than narrowing the seats and squeezing the hell out of people, charging for every damn thing, in addition to all the security and luggage delays.

If a person is so big that they take up two seats, they must have special accomodations for such people, and charge them more for those accomodations. But everyone else shouldn't be charged by weight. Ridiculous.
Old 10-30-2014, 07:22 AM
Location: Troy, Michigan
240 posts, read 189,534 times
Reputation: 110
9 pages of thread and if you look at the about page on the CBC website for the program you see the story is fabricated, made up. North Gulf Air does not exist. I'd gather the hq of Atlanta being the south is a jab at Americans with the fat stereotype. There is a real airline, however, in Tonga that does weigh passengers and charge by weight. Id gather that is because many Polynesians tend to be larger and the aircraft is smaller, so there is some basis of truth in the story, but let's check the facts.
Old 10-30-2014, 09:28 AM
Location: City of Angels
2,935 posts, read 4,765,000 times
Reputation: 2236
Originally Posted by neguy99 View Post
Be sure you don't ever fly on a 787. Most airlines are going with a 16 to 16.5" seat width! That is less than most commuter planes, which are 17". A 777 is 18", and an A380 is sometimes 19 (depends on airline).

Boeing intended the Dreamliner to have even wider seats than the A380, but airlines opted to squeeze an extra seat into each row. Boeing isn't thrilled as their spiffy new plane is quickly getting a reputation for being a miserable experience -- the narrow seat more than takes away the advantages of the bigger windows and fresher air.
Thanks for the heads up. And to think that I was looking forword to flying on a dreamliner. All the A380 planes I have flown on have had the ten seat configuration (Korean, Asiana, and Emirates) but I've heard airlines are going to start adopting the 11 seat configuration which is going to suck.
Old 10-30-2014, 09:57 AM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,680 posts, read 16,095,286 times
Reputation: 7694
Originally Posted by ackmondual View Post
"Paying a fair share" is about what YOUR situation's about. That's all. If you want to fly halfway around the world, you can expect to pay more than someone just 600 miles away. If you want business class or first class seats, you pay more. They're simply trying to work this in with weight too.
Except that airfares often have far less to do with distance flown and far more to do with competition (or lack thereof) at the airports along the route. As someone who lives in an area where Delta has about 70% of all airport gates within a 100 mile radius, and the remaining carriers effectively price match to Delta's rates, I'm usually going to pay more to go from my part of Florida to NYC than most people pay to go from NYC to LAX. And it's frequently only about $100 more to fly from Boston to the Azores (transatlantic) than it would be for me to go from VPS-ATL, which is less than 500 miles.
Old 10-30-2014, 10:56 AM
2,620 posts, read 2,522,849 times
Reputation: 7230
As long as they give extra space to people along with the extra charge I'd be all for it.

But expecting a 300 lb person to cram into the same size seat as a 90 lb kid then pay extra on top of it is not cool.
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