Airlines around the world have gone to great lengths in recent years to reduce the weight they...

Airlines around the world have gone to great lengths in recent years to reduce the weight they carry, with an eye to decreasing fuel requirements and increasing profit. So if weight is such a key concern for airlines' operations, why not charge for overweight passengers as well as overweight baggage? At least one economist thinks it's a great idea.

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Comments (24)
  • positivethoughts
    , contributor
    Comments (2065) | Send Message
    If, at a ball park, customers are willing to pay $10+ for foot items or beverage items, why does the airline not offer something similar on the plane? Why just serve miniscule amounts of garbage food at no extra charge?
    30 Mar 2013, 10:13 AM Reply Like
  • tgollier
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
    Of course, I'm sure neither the airline nor the economist is thinking they should provide an oversize seat for that oversized price.
    30 Mar 2013, 10:26 AM Reply Like
  • Zheeeem
    , contributor
    Comments (457) | Send Message
    They do. It' called "business class".
    30 Mar 2013, 11:09 AM Reply Like
    , contributor
    Comments (196) | Send Message
    They already do. Its called buying two seats. DOH!
    30 Mar 2013, 02:39 PM Reply Like
  • blueice
    , contributor
    Comments (4179) | Send Message
    This is why I am joining Jenny Craig's Flight for Life program, which is approved and endorsed by the TSA and the FAA...
    30 Mar 2013, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • villashaka
    , contributor
    Comments (47) | Send Message
    Just charge by the pound as Fedex and UPS do- fair treatment to all and not hard to implement : base fee + weight surcharge at check-in
    30 Mar 2013, 10:40 AM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3194) | Send Message


    You seem to have not realized that the definition of "fair" has changed.


    If you ask me to pay for myself - thats not fair. After all something happened in my life which is to blame and society itself should pay for me. It wouldn't be fair to expect me to take responsibility for myself.


    If it did get implemented you could expect a government subsidy to soon follow.
    30 Mar 2013, 12:22 PM Reply Like
  • divinecomedy
    , contributor
    Comments (465) | Send Message
    Not sure to which airlines "airlines around the world" refer to, but here in Asia, the airlines have always charged for excess baggage. Budget Airlines do not provide food nor drink for free, but you can purchase those on board. Must be quite profitable since occasionally they'd run promotions where you pay 2 dollars to fly to certain destinations (and good ones at that).
    30 Mar 2013, 11:00 AM Reply Like
  • bgold1955
    , contributor
    Comments (2352) | Send Message
    Does this mean they will give a discount to the 3 year old that paid adult fare price?
    30 Mar 2013, 11:45 AM Reply Like
  • jmodrkrk
    , contributor
    Comments (94) | Send Message
    it's too easy for them to just raise the price on everyone uniformly and avoid all the potential moral missteps of charging the obese more (although I am all for it as someone who works hard to stay healthy thin). What about really tall people? or Infants or small children? Surely, they wouldn't accept any less. Airline pricing and competition is pretty uniform, they all raise together and don't engage in pricing wars -- pure oligopolistic competition.
    30 Mar 2013, 12:36 PM Reply Like
  • Mad_Max_A_Million
    , contributor
    Comments (1175) | Send Message
    This reminds me of a flight I took on a stretch 707 loaded to the max with GIs bound for Saigon, plus loaded with all the junk and baggage every one of us GIs could pack into one duffel bag and a suitcase.
    Got to Okinawa on a very hot March day and tried to take off at noon with a full load of fuel scheduled for a round trip to Vietnam (limited refueling allowed on the ground due to enemy element in the area, per Continental Airlines contract).
    Thought we were going to die. That plane went down the runway for an eternity. We were sure they had run out of runway. And when they did get off the ground, we seem to spend a lot of time skimming the pacific.
    Clean up on Isle one....
    30 Mar 2013, 12:44 PM Reply Like
  • SoldHigh
    , contributor
    Comments (991) | Send Message
    Excellent idea - however, the airlines will be expected to provide seats that fit them.
    30 Mar 2013, 01:18 PM Reply Like
  • The Geoffster
    , contributor
    Comments (4297) | Send Message
    Why not require the obese to fly in cargo planes which are already equiped for heavy loads?
    30 Mar 2013, 01:44 PM Reply Like
  • jmodrkrk
    , contributor
    Comments (94) | Send Message
    haha, haters gonna hate. When I lived overseas on a military base even the civilians flew in the cargo sections of C131s, just simple cargo webbing for seating. Had to wear earplugs too, no soundproofing back there -- looking back i kindof preferred it. Could this be an idea for a new breed of discount airline? I don't know what rules the FAA places on airlines for safety or whatever, if it's even possible.
    30 Mar 2013, 03:32 PM Reply Like
  • The Geoffster
    , contributor
    Comments (4297) | Send Message
    Indeed. Ryan Air has proposed just that, but the regulators objected.
    30 Mar 2013, 05:18 PM Reply Like
  • Mobywhite
    , contributor
    Comments (409) | Send Message
    I would start flying exclusively with any airline that could guarantee me I won't sit next to someone who is so fat that they are in my seating area.
    30 Mar 2013, 06:48 PM Reply Like
  • blueice
    , contributor
    Comments (4179) | Send Message
    LOL, just blew beer out of my noise, Geoffster!!!
    31 Mar 2013, 12:13 AM Reply Like
  • tomcechner
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
    Give discounts to the light weights and make the heavy weights pay full fare. Or just charge by the pound. Pretty insulting isn't it? But the corporate free market system is a dog eat dog world.
    30 Mar 2013, 01:47 PM Reply Like
  • Terry330
    , contributor
    Comments (881) | Send Message
    Overweight people should pay more for almost everthing, flying-health insurance-fast foods-federal taxes. US could increase GDP by about 1% with this insensitive for good health.
    30 Mar 2013, 02:37 PM Reply Like
  • Jeff331
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    Surcharge for skinnies that have to run to the bathroom every 10 mins, surcharge for those that put large bags in the overhead, surcharge for those who listen to loud music through headsets, oh, and while we are at surcharge for families with screaming babies and children. Oops, maybe anyone that is under 50. And thats just a start!
    30 Mar 2013, 02:44 PM Reply Like
  • 1980XLS-2.0
    , contributor
    Comments (528) | Send Message
    Shipping of almost all items is based on size & weight.


    Why should people be any different.


    As with everything these days, the responsible are required to subsidize the irresponsible.
    30 Mar 2013, 02:47 PM Reply Like
  • BuildingBlocks
    , contributor
    Comments (47) | Send Message
    1. Design an airplane for the obese
    2. Start an airline
    3. Charge a premium for seats and foods
    4. Profit
    30 Mar 2013, 06:00 PM Reply Like
  • Mobywhite
    , contributor
    Comments (409) | Send Message
    Three times a year I fly to Kansas City for business. Once on a Frontier flight I was seated next to a passenger whose rolls of fat where about 4 inches into my seating area. That is not an exaggeration.


    I don't normally have back problems but my back was sore for days because I had to lean towards the isle so we were not touching.


    I wrote Frontier and they said that due to the delicate nature of the problem there was really nothing they could do. I have not flown with them since.
    30 Mar 2013, 06:46 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4667) | Send Message
    This should go over well, considering the 16oz beverage thing in NYC...


    With smoking on the decline, is obesity the Next Big Thing?
    31 Mar 2013, 09:51 AM Reply Like
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