adora

On "heavier people should pay more to fly".

I've noticed that skinny Asians tend to bring a lot of luggage. It's an Asian thing to bring stuff for your friends and family when you fly. Most Asian max out their luggage allowance, which is about 130-150lb. A person 100lbs overweight but with just a 20lb carry-on has much less load on the plane than a skinny person with max luggage allowance.

To be fair, pay by weight, which includes yourself and your luggage. Why not getting on the scale with your bags when you check-in?

Colin Young

I've been recently thinking that the ticket should come with a total weight allowance, as you suggest, but with the ability to resell your excess weight allowance. Trading markets for excess weight allowances could spring up to enable the exchange, taking a cut of the transaction. e.g. for $400 I get a seat from BOS-SEA + carry-on, with a total weight of 250lbs. I'm a 150lb flyer, so I can either bring 100lbs of luggage, or I can sell 50lbs to someone else. I'd expect the airlines would want to keep their per-piece luggage fees in place.

I expect that the large ticket sellers (Expedia, Orbitz) and meta-seach engines (Kayak, Hipmunk) could offer these markets, possibly even automating things to the point that they could assume the pricing risk up front. e.g., my ideal search would go something like this:

4 flyers (150, 150, 40, 60)
4 checked bags (50, 50, 30, 30)
other optional features (curbside check-in, meals on board, use of toilets, etc.)
total of 560 lbs combined passenger and baggage weight

Give me the final price, where the online agency has modeled the value of weight and will give me the discount up front (assuming 250lb/ticket, that's an excess of 44o lbs they can sell to other customers). Alternatively, I might wish to purchase the entire 1000lb allotment and take my chances selling my excess 440lbs on some other market (possibly operated by the airline or an online ticket seller).

I think this idea would make for an interesting project for a business student to analyze the opportunities for airlines, travel agents, and passengers. I believe that being up-front about the total cost would also go a long way to dealing with customer's anger at the airline industry where you are promised a ticket price of one number, charged at another higher price after non-optional fees are added and then ambushed at the airport and on board with yet another set of fees for bags, food, departure fees, etc.

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Spencer

I'm a little disappointed that the "most disappointing rookie" link was to a bleacher report article. Their stuff is typically rubbish but I gave it a chance because you guys promoted it. It was just as bad as I expected.

Some of their disappointing rookies were 7th round picks. In the NFL 7th round picks sometimes don't even make the team but these were all players who had made their respective squads. That could hardly be called disappointing.

Another theme I noticed in their disappointments were players who put up big numbers in college and had supposedly disappointed in the NFL. One example was the St. Louis Ram's Greg Salas. He put up big numbers at the University of Hawaii but wasn't considered to be a cant miss WR in the NFL and was drafted in the 4th round. Expectations aren't high for a 4th round pick, particularly a WR as they take more time to get acclimated to the NFL. He caught 27 passes for 264 yards, respectable numbers for a 1st year WR. For this he gets labeled by bleacher report as the Ram's most disappointing rookie.

It's a very negative article and a poorly executed one at that. I know it's super bowl week so maybe you felt you needed to link to a football article but this wasn't the one.

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Zach

Stephen,

I'm 6'6", 220 lbs (a healthy weight for my height). Flying sucks. I'm one of the people who pays the extra $40 for exit row seats. I could totally accept that I'm responsible for some marginal cost of the excess fuel usage despite maintaining a healthy and socially responsible weight for my height (I don't pay extra for the extra fabric/labor/machining necessary for my larger than average size clothing, but whatever).

But paying for this extra fuel usage becomes unfair to me because aying a surcharge (say 10%) based solely on my size should encompass more than just the extra fuel. Most important to me and other tall people, we should be given seating with 10% more space. I could make an argument for 10% larger peanut bags (we tall people tend to have higher metabolisms).

Obesity is a lot more common than people my height, I understand that, but not many people have it worse on airplanes than tall people. Lets not screw them over in one more way.

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Mike B

Charging more for fat people on airlines is unworkable unless you want to just go after the single flyer market (which I guess does include most business travelers). The reason being is that if there is a group of people traveling together, and if one of them happens to be heavy, they will probably choose the airline that offers the flat weight pricing especially since paying a weight surcharge would be rather insulting and heavy travelers would probably go out of their way to avoid it, even if it cost them more money.

Jim K

We're already taking nude pictures of passengers and feeling them up when they go through security. Now you want to compel people to submit to a weigh-in? Seems to me that any gains would be more than offset by the loss resulting from the further erosion of the flying experience and associated drop in demand for tickets.

Andy

They can start charging by weight once they start charging by the mile...

As anyone who's looked at airfares can tell you they're not by distance but by supply and demand and however the pricing departments fill the fares...