Over the years we’ve seen airlines change their policies in an effort to save money and keep up in a competitive industry. From paying for your luggage to eliminating meals and snacks, airlines have made their need to economize clear. But what if the next step was having different fares associated with how much you weigh?
CNN reports about one small (but growing) airline that already practices the price of a ticket based on a passenger’s weight. Samoa Air has different levels of ticket prices according to how much the passenger and the passenger’s luggage weigh. Passengers who book online will type in a guesstimate of how much they believe their luggage weighs plus how much they weigh and then they are weighed on arrival at the airport to double check. This may sound surprising, but Chris Langton, Samoa Air chief executive, believes this is the way of the future and we will soon see other airlines charging based on passenger’s weight.
Langton explains, “The next step is for the industry to make those sort of changes and recognize that 'Hey, we are not all 72 kilograms (about 160 pounds) anymore and we don't all fit into a standard seat. What makes airplanes work is weight. We are not selling seats, we are selling weight.” Langton also explains that he understands weight can be a sensitive issue but the airline also tries to accommodate the space to make a larger or taller passenger more comfortable and in turn that person will pay a little extra.
Some U.S airlines have requirements stating that larger passengers pay for an extra seat, but actually weighing them at the airport has never been a practice. Airline analyst Vaughn Cordle explains why he thinks U.S. airlines won’t be charging based on weight any time soon. He says, “For U.S. airlines, I think this is an issue they will not touch with a 10-foot pole because of the negative publicity and the practical purposes of weighing people at the gate.”
What do you think of paying for an airline ticket based on weight? Do you think this is a fair practice?