Airlines should introduce “pay as you weigh” pricing for plane tickets, an academic has suggested.
Charging overweight fliers more would help carriers recoup the cost of the extra fuel required to carry them.
The idea has been floated in the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management publication, by Bharat P Bhatta, an academic in Norway.
He suggests three methods of implementing the scheme. A straightforward price per kilogram, a fixed low fare with heavier passengers paying a surcharge and lighter passengers being offered a discount.
The third option would see passengers divided into three bands – heavy, normal and light and being charged accordingly.
“I think the simplest way to implement this would be for passengers to declare their weight when buying a plane ticket,” Dr Bhatta Sogn og Fjordane University College told The Daily Telegraph. “This would save time and eliminate expense.
“At the airport airlines could randomly select passengers and if they lied about their weight they would have to pay the fat fare and a penalty.”
Airlines are already trying to tackle the increasing problem of passenger obesity, which is becoming a major issue especially in the United States.
British Airways also has a policy in which passengers who are unable to fit in a single seat are first given an extension seat belt free of charge. If they are still too large, then they will be expected to buy another seat.
In recent years one passenger deemed as being overweight was escorted off an Air Transat flight from Gatwick to Toronto to see his dying aunt, because he was unable to afford the £928 demanded by the airline for two seats.
Overweight passengers have, on occasion, even been bumped from full flights because there is no room for them on the plane.
Ian Yeoman, the editor of the Journal, endorsed Dr Bhatta’s proposal."For airlines, every extra kilogram means more expensive jet fuel must be burned, which leads to CO2 emissions and financial cost.
"As the airline industry is fraught with financial difficulties, marginally profitable and has seen exponential growth in the last decade, maybe they should be looking to introduce scales at the check-in."
David Millward Telegraph.co.uk