Should airlines charge you by your weight?

With all of the cutbacks and extra fees in the airline industry over the past few months, it’s difficult not to think about weight on an aircraft per passenger. That’s why airlines unilaterally increased baggage fees earlier this year — more weight requires more fuel which is makes the flight more expensive to operate. If you can encourage passengers to pack lighter or less, the carrier will save money.

But what if airlines charged by not only the weight of the luggage but also by the weight of the passenger? One analyst consulted by the popular world and economics website Bloomberg has ventured into the uncharted territory of charging by passenger weight. Robert Mann, aviation consultant at R.W. Mann & Co suggests that it’s the “next logical step”, given that airlines are basically treating passengers and their luggage alike as freight.

So you would step up to the ticket counter, weigh your checked luggage, send it away then weigh yourself and your carry on to determine your ticket price. You and your luggage weigh 200 lbs? Your ticket is 200$. You and your luggage weigh 300? 300$.

Admittedly, the article speaks with another aviation consultant, David Swierenga, who points out how unrealistic the idea is — and since Bloomberg is a careful media source I imagine they didn’t elaborate on purpose.

Why would this idea never work? America is overweight. We would FLIP OUT if a policy like this was ever adopted, the airline in question would get the pants sued off of it and the carrier would be dead before it even started. It’s not too hard to portray “charging by weight” as “discrimination against overweight people”.

Airlines will just have to keep coming up with other crafty ideas to make profit until jet fuel returns to normal. Stay tuned for the next ridiculous fees that they come up with.