Airlines should charge obese passengers more, economist says - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Airlines should charge obese passengers more, economist says

Posted: Updated:

(Reuters) Airlines should charge obese passengers more, a Norwegian economist has suggested, arguing that "pay as you weigh" pricing would bring health, financial and environmental dividends.

Bharat Bhatta, an associate professor at Sogn og Fjordane University College, said that airlines should follow other transport sectors and charge by space and weight.

"To the degree that passengers lose weight and therefore reduce fares, the savings that result are net benefits to the passengers," Bhatta wrote this week in the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management.

"As a plane of a given make and model can accommodate more lightweight passengers, it may also reward airlines" and reduce the use of environmentally costly fuel.

Bhatta put together three models for what he called "pay as you weigh airline pricing."

The first would charge passengers according to how much they and their baggage weighed. It would set a rate for pounds (kg) per passenger so that someone weighing 130 pounds (59 kg) would pay half the fare of 260-pound (118-kg) person.

A second model would use a fixed base rate, with an extra charge for heavier passengers to cover the extra costs. Under this option, every passenger would have a different fare.

Bhatta's preferred option was the third, where the same fare would be charged if a passenger was of average weight. A discount or extra charge would be used if the passenger was above or below a certain limit.

That would lead to three kinds of fares - high, average and low, Bhatta said.

Airlines have grappled for years with how to deal with larger passengers as waistlines have steadily expanded. Such carriers as Air France and Southwest Airlines allow overweight passengers to buy extra seats and get a refund on them.

Asked about charging heavier passengers extra, Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said: "We have our own policies in place and don't anticipate changing those."

United Air Lines Inc requires passengers who cannot fit comfortably into a single seat to buy another one. A spokeswoman said the carrier would not discuss "future pricing."

About two-thirds of U.S. adults are obese or overweight.

In a 2010 online survey for the travel Website Skyscanner (www.skyscanner.net), 76 percent of travelers said airlines should charge overweight passengers more if they needed an extra seat.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Bradenton apartment complex to be repaired after 8 on your side report

    Bradenton apartment complex to be repaired after 8 on your side report

    Friday, August 22 2014 1:27 PM EDT2014-08-22 17:27:02 GMT
    Last week, 8 on your side showed you some of the dilapidated conditions inside some units at the Townhouse Park Apartments in Bradenton.Tenants were having problems with mold and rodents.There was also water damage.
    Last week, 8 on your side showed you some of the dilapidated conditions inside some units at the Townhouse Park Apartments in Bradenton.Tenants were having problems with mold and rodents.There was also water damage.
  • 2.2 million bean bag chairs recalled after deaths

    2.2 million bean bag chairs recalled after deaths

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-08-22 15:01:24 GMT
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. CPSC photoAbout 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. CPSC photo
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death.
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death.
  • TPD claims training stories fell short

    TPD claims training stories fell short

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:12 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:12:02 GMT
    The Tampa police department is responding to an 8 On Your Side investigation into a January shooting.The police contend the reports were incomplete and contained errors.The stories focused on a January 9th police shooting in Tampa and the lack of crisis intervention team training at T.P.D.
    The Tampa police department is responding to an 8 On Your Side investigation into a January shooting.The police contend the reports were incomplete and contained errors.The stories focused on a January 9th police shooting in Tampa and the lack of crisis intervention team training at T.P.D.
  • Police investigating shooting near VSU campus

    Police investigating shooting near VSU campus

    Police investigating shooting near VSU campus

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:57 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:57:58 GMT
    ETTRICK, VA (WSLS) - Police in Chesterfield are investigating reports of an overnight shooting near the Virginia State University campus.
    ETTRICK, VA (WSLS) - Police in Chesterfield are investigating reports of an overnight shooting near the Virginia State University campus.
  • Danville police investigate possible gang activity

    Danville police investigate possible gang activity

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:40 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:40:38 GMT
    Danville police said 8 people face charges of prohibited street gang activity in connection to an attack of a 49 year-old man.
    Danville police said 8 people face charges of prohibited street gang activity in connection to an attack of a 49 year-old man.
  • Hundreds of marijuana plants seized in Henry County

    Hundreds of marijuana plants seized in Henry County

    Friday, August 22 2014 1:13 PM EDT2014-08-22 17:13:01 GMT
    Investigators with the Henry County Sheriff's Office and the Virginia State Police have seized 221 marijuana plants around a home in Bassett.
    Investigators with the Henry County Sheriff's Office and the Virginia State Police have seized 221 marijuana plants around a home in Bassett.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.