Your say: Reaction to airline pay-per-weight proposal

Your say: Reaction to airline pay-per-weight proposal

Is it discrimination? Counter-discrimination? An outrage? Pure economics? Readers share their polarizing opinions on the concept


Proposed changes to airport/airline policies -- anything air travel, really -- incite strong opinions

This week, a story on a "pay as you weigh" scheme for airlines proposed by an economist in Norway drew heated reactions from around the world. 

The controversial paper outlines three different models for calculating air tickets based on passengers' weight.

Published on Tuesday, Airline 'fat tax': Should heavy passengers pay more? received more than 2,200 comments in less than 24 hours.

While airlines and air travel bodies were unresponsive or slow to react to the concept, CNN users didn't hold back. The more sensible responses ranged from hearty approval for the economic principles behind the idea, to outrage over a potentially discriminatory policy, to suggestions on promoting healthier eating.

"I agree with this. If one's weight incurs extra costs for the airline they should pay for it. I also think that if total weight is taken into account from the beginning and paid for then it will dissuade people from trying to bring huge suitcases on as carry-ons, freeing up space for everyone to place something in the overhead compartment, thus speeding up the boarding process, thus reducing flight delays," commented Nick Reynolds.  

@Ahmad Od: I support such a decision, it will motivate obese people to lose weight.

@Hany Alhefnawy: I think airlines companies can contribute in a better way to the idea of losing weight. They can sponsor ads and campaigns about diet and weight loss, and by offering food that is healthy.

"So, some of us with a little flesh are doomed? Carrot and stick? Reining in obesity?" tweeted Robert Madoi

Some users rightly pointed out that the proposed scheme would charge higher fees for not just overweight travelers but those who may be tall and naturally heavier.

"I'll be willing to bet that not a single person arguing this is acceptable is a bit over average in height or weight. For those of us who are over average, even if we are not fat, this feels inescapably like discrimination," wrote "gulwhiz."

@AbdMohsenAlmogrn: I think it is unfair. Some passengers are slim and some of them are young. Also, generally women weigh less than men, so they are less affected by such decision.Others found the idea of weighing passengers ridiculous and offensive.

@Rabab Tito: What about pregnant ladies? How can they adapt to that?

Some readers argued that the current system is actually discriminatory. 

"It isn't discrimination, it's physics. The thrust of the article is, that there is a pound per mile cost that is unavoidable. Thus shipping one passenger's oversized package should not be collectively paid for by others. In other words, far from discrimination, everyone will then have to pay their fair share. Frankly, there is conversely discrimination with the current system as it historically unfairly favors those who carry more weight onto the plane but had paid less per pound transported. In essence it would be righting a wrong," injected Ralphrepo. 

One reader, seabass, agreed with the principles, but voiced skepticism about how this would actually be implemented at an airport. 

"For argument sake, let's say that the fly by weight is implemented. How do you propose to get the accurate weight of the person? Wait in line at the airport to get weighted and entertaining yourself while a person at the front of the queue disagrees (with) the weight from the machine for 45 minutes? Arguing with the check-in desk because their cash account is $10 short and try to get a refund because the airline refuse (to) fly them? There are so many scenarios that would cause significant delays," wrote seabass. 

More delays in a world where passengers have to throw away water bottles while in line to remove our shoes on cold dirty floors, get X-rayed and possibly patted down?

Imagine the comments then.

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