Airlines could soon charge ticket prices based on how much you weigh! New research from leading economists shows that heavy travelers cost airlines big bucks. Between extra fuel costs to transport the extra weight to the actual wear-and-tear their bodies exert on seats! Right now, airlines distribute those costs among all flyers.
But economists argue that with the obesity epidemic – where already 1 in 3 people are overweight – airlines need to charge heavy people higher prices. Otherwise, they’re financially penalizing average weight travelers, and ticket prices will only get higher.
One solution is a pay-as-you-weigh model. For example, carriers can set a fixed rate per pound – say $10. So, a person weighing 150 lbs would pay $150. And a 200-pound person would pay $200. Another idea? Airlines could set a fixed base fare. And you’d be charged more or less depending on if your weight is above or below that threshold.
Some airlines are already moving toward a “pay-as-you-weigh” model. For example, Southwest Airlines requires flyers to buy an additional seat if their body doesn’t fit within the seat armrests. And Samoa Air recently started charging passengers by weight.
But critics blast the “pay-as-you-weigh” movement as discriminatory, and compare it to charging someone more or less based on their gender or nationality.