Thursday, March 28, 2013

Oh good, another fat passenger debate

Did y'all hear about the push by one economist to urge airlines to start charging passengers by the pound?  Mmm hmm.  I usually try to stay out of hot button issues like this one but since we'll be traveling in the next few months, this perked my attention.
His three “pay as you weigh” models are:
Total weight: A passenger’s luggage and body weight is calculated, with the fare comprising a per kilo cost. In this scenario a passenger weighing 100 kilos (220 lbs) with 20 kilos (44 lbs) of luggage (120 kilos / 265 lbs total) would pay twice that of a passenger of 50 kilos (110 lbs) with 10 kilos (22 lbs) of luggage (60 kilos/132 lbs total).
Base fare +/- extra: A base fare is set, with a per-kilo discount applying for “underweight” passengers and a per-kilo surcharge applying to “overweight” passengers.
High/Average/Low: A base fare is set, with a predetermined discount applying for those below a certain weight threshold and a predetermined surcharge applying for those above a certain weight threshold.
Bhatta prefers the third of these options. He goes on to say that weight could be ascertained through passenger self-declaration, with one in five passengers randomly selected and weighed to dissuade cheats (with penalties for cheaters) or by weighing all passengers at check in.
This latter option however would “incur huge transaction costs” and “would require a passenger to arrive a couple of hours early to have time to get through weigh-in, security and passport control.”
To read the full story, click here.

I've got all kinds of things running through my head from "I'm not surprised" to "isn't the public shame and/or comments enough to deal with?" to "let me move to an atoll and live out our days amongst birds and fish so I don't have to deal with idiots anymore."

What are your thoughts on the 'pay by the pound' suggestion?  Would it deter you from flying if you're overweight/obese more than you might already be with the court of public opinion you have to face when walking down the aisle?

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27 comments:

  1. If I wanted to fly fed-ex I would just go over there and plop my arse on the scale and say "ship me to Hawaii". If any airlines fall for this crap then I see we all just avoid them like the plague and head over to any airlines that still treat human passengers like people instead of freight. There might also be some personal information issues with forcing people to reveal their weights so get those supreme court lawyers ready!

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  2. That just doesn't make any SENSE. First and foremost, the airlines would have to change so much about their operations (adding scales to weigh folks, etc) that they'd NEVER go for it. And they'd never get the public behind it UNLESS they could figure out some way to tie it to "security". Fear (of "terrorists") is the only way they have gotten folks to go along with taking off their shoes and going through x-ray machines to get on the plane, there is no way they're going to get folks (no matter their size) onto a scale without a heavy dose of fear (and Homeland Security breathing down your neck).

    So this is a much adieu about nothing (as far as I'm concerned). All it really shows is how STUPID this guy is and his own weird weight issues (sounds like he has a real hang up about weight himself if he's all about weighing others).

    But just think. If the major airlines DID start weighing, it would be the perfect time for an upstart airline to come along and pimp how they DON'T weigh. They'd have more passengers then they'd know what to do with.

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  3. It's total BS! I can't imagine ANYONE, no matter what size, getting onto that scale willingly. I can't imagine the airlines going for it either. They'd have to hire more people, get more equipment... Don't you already have to arrive about 9hrs before your flight to get through all the necessary checkpoints? I would seriously take a train before paying ANY kind of surcharge based on my weight.

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  4. There is no way any airline will go for this. None. They're already losing too many passengers. Besides, they already figure in an average of (I believe) 150-175 pounds per seat, so the heavy people balance out with kids and slim people.

    If the weights have been consistently "off" (and there HAVE been flights where they haven't allowed 2-3 standby passengers on due to the plane being close to overweight already), then I see them changing baggage requirements before charging passengers by weight. They could always reduce the checked bag limit to 30 pounds instead of 50, or something like that.

    Alternately, they'll just raise prices to compensate for the fuel costs. Again. :-P

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  5. Ludicrous! I envision folks fasting and doing "last chance workouts" the day before they leave for vacation. Or missing their flight because they weren't going to weigh in until they'd pooped, or any other such weigh-in nonsense.

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  6. I can totally see weight checks/surcharges for luggage, but not for people. I have no problem with the person carrying just a briefcase getting a discount over the person with everything but the kitchen sink packed. I don't see it as feasible (or a good idea) to do the same for people.

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    1. I agree. When we flew to Florida, this person took our overhead compartment for all their bags of crap, so I had to put my stuff someplace else.

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  7. That is BS...what irks me is the comments below that article...people have the audacity to make such Sh***** comments..i mean I lament i am fat etc etc but it doesnt give any a$$ to comment on it...be it anyone even my own blood...if u cant sit next to someone without complaining...then get ur own damn chartered plane....sorry i hate such weird crap...

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  8. Thankfully it's pretty much 100% unlikely that anything like that would ever be put into place.

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  9. The image of having the to get WEIGHED before you can fly is just so ludicrous. This is a plea for attention from this "economist." Probably 95% of women in America would think twice about flying knowing they may have to get weighed by a stranger prior to boarding.

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  10. 1. Seat width and seatbelt size are already limiters.
    2. If I'm paying extra, I want more width for my butt as well. The airlines will never do that since they've already reduced seat spacing for the max # of butts.
    3. If people think that humiliation is going to encourage people to lose weight, they are wrong. It's being out in the world, readying our limitations, that motivates us to be healthier.
    4. This is a really stupid, short-sighted idea.

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  11. I've been lurking for awhile now, just haven't had anything to add to the convo...but this is idiocy at its finest. What about people who are on the cusp of the weights? Are they going to have to pay because they ate Chinese food the night before their trip? And as bad as the shaming factor for overweight people is the benefit factor for the underweight. Would this not encourage frequent travelers to attain a low enough weight to get the discount? And just who gets to determine who should weigh what? I'm already pissed because my son's school has started a new grading system for P.E. based on the criteria for the state test AND BMI!! I am so pissed that they think it is okay to start telling kids they are fat based off of crappy science while they are still in elementary school. AND then, they BAN playing tag during recess. Uh, hello, kids stay fit when they run, tag equals running. What happened to discipline the child that intentionally causes problems? I don't know, but when I was a kid there was an inherent agreement that while we wouldn't tag hard enough to hurt someone there was still the risk that you might fall down. Sick of it. Just teach healthy habits and let people be.

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  12. I think it's a stupid idea. However I do think something needs to be done so that people who can't fit in their seat aren't allowed to squish in and overlap into up my seat. It's not fair to the people who do fit in their seats. They should have to buy two seats.

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    2. I am very "fluffy" but make it a real point to be in my seat boundaries. Hate it when the skinny people who give me hateful looks then sit next to me and poke me in the ribs when their elbows are over the armrest. Guess, what, that is my space whether I am skinny or fluffy.

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  13. I can kind of see a weird, twisted logic to it, although everyone who commented about all the changes the airlines would have to make being a deterrent to adopting it also makes sense. Speaking personally, I have swallowed my outrage over being examined with my arms up in that video thingy in the name of convenience. I'll be damned if I'll submit to any more indignity no matter what I weigh. I'll drive where I'm going and get on a cruise ship to Hawaii or Greece instead of flying. Just let them try anything like this and I'll start a Change.org petition that will show them we fluffy people can put them out of business.

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  14. As long as a person can fit safely in a seat and buckle up, that is all that should matter. I think a bigger issue is with the luggage people are bringing with them on the trips.... Just saying ;)This is coming from someone who weighs over 300 lbs, travels just fine in an airplane with no seat issues, and does not need a seat belt extender.

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  15. ugh! as if weight shaming isn't bad enough! I swear, the way the attitude society has towards larger people, it'd seem that we want to look like this, wear clothing that looks better as a sofa upholstery, feel like we're leapers, and treated like we have no moral aptitude or ethics. Only time I fly is when I absolutely have to. When I do, it always feels like I'm being judged like a sickly diseased cow at a cattle auction. I'd rather just stay home. :(

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  16. Give me a break. Flying isn't bad enough for overweight people??? This summer I had to fly to Florida for a business meeting and I literally had anxiety for weeks wondering how well my big butt would fit in the seat and praying my fat wouldn't flow too much over into the seats next to me. It ended up being a tight fit but doable. Funny thing is that the tight fit was because of my long legs.

    Not only is this humiliating it's discrimination for those that are overweight because of medical reasons.

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  17. I can't imagine the weights of passengers on a plane throwing things off THAT much. I mean, unless we're talking some itty bitty plane, but on a huge jet? I don't think so.

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  18. I thought of you as soon as I read this article yesterday. Every overweight person I know worries about fitting in to the seat and annoying their seatmates. This is just ridiculous! I for one only travel when I have to. I would be willing to pay more as long as I also got a larger seat. You don't even get a choice on a lot of planes anymore - they are all the same size.

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  19. Good timing with this. A friend of mine at work is going to New Mexico in May and she's choosing to take the train because she won't fit in an airplane seat unless she buys another seat or flies first class. Her sister told her about a website that shows the dimensions for the different airline seats and she said there's no way she'd fit. She said she's too humiliated to by an entire extra seat because the airlines say she's too big. I personally haven't flown since my honeymoon almost 15 years ago for that exact reason.

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  20. Idiot is too mild a word for this idea. Sometimes economists seem to be completely out of touch with the real world and with real people; this guy surely is. Ridiculous idea, I can't imagine that sane people would seriously consider this a viable idea. I am at a point now where I fit comfortably in an airplane seat, but I would refuse to fly with any airline that instituted this kind of hare-brained plan.

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  21. Here's my thoughts on this back. If an airline is going to charge me per pound, then you darn well better provide a seat that accommodates my ample butt and long legs.

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  22. That's horrible! Takes weight shaming to a whole new level. It's like people heard the term "war on obesity" and thought everybody was saying "war on obese people." wtf.

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  23. The only thing I can say about that is that homeboy is so full of bulls*it he's got to be leaking manure outta his a$$ 24/7.

    That's just so. Dumb.

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