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s-OBESE-MAN-ON-AMERICAN-AIRLINES-largeWeigh More – Pay More!
By Joseph E Rathjen
Published by: Lifetimeprint.com/April 14th, 2013

It seems like there is no limit these days as to how far airline companies will go to siphon more money from your pockets. If you thought baggage rates were biased, you might be shocked to learn that additional fees may soon be levied on more than just the baggage you carry – they may soon also apply to what’s around your waist – and a little excess weight could cost you quite a bit more at the boarding gate.

Following in the footsteps of a small airline called “Samoan Air”, the seed may have already been planted for larger airline passenger carriers to incorporate some type of fat-assessment fee into their current ticket pricing policies. The rule would be simple: the more you weigh – the more you pay.

Smaller airlines could easily justify the fee through claiming that the additional charges are required to offset the increase in weight-related fuel costs, which have a larger impact on their bottom line because they do not benefit from the cheaper fuel prices that larger airlines secure – after all, it takes one-gallon of jet fuel to move 100 pounds on a domestic flight. In addition smaller aircraft cannot take off if they max out at a certain weight limit.

One major operator, Southwest Airlines, already forces its customers to pay for two seats if they do not fit between the arm rests or if they need seat belt extenders, as do American Airlines, Delta/Northwest and United Airlines (all under their “Contract of Carriage” rules).  They define overweight as “passengers of size” or “customers of size”.

The majority of airline officials and aviation watchdog groups, who have already spoken out on the issue, all agree that the Samoan Airlines fee is an isolated incident, and that most of the other major airlines have no intentions of replicating such a system.  But since when have we known any transportation companies to overlook a profit accessibility when it’s staring them in the face?

Whether this policy is fair or discriminatory, it may very well set a precedent for other industries to follow.  Will movie theaters start implementing the same policies?  How about amusement parks, will they charge extra for overweight riders on a roller coaster ride, claiming that the extra weight changes the velocity and stability of the ride?  Then what about dude ranches, would they charge more for heavier horseback riders because the horses have to work harder to carry the extra payload? And then there are buses, taxis and boats, all of which use fuel to carry passengers…the possibilities are endless.

Not only in life, but where profit margins sometimes far outweigh the sensitivity morals of society, some kind of boundaries have to, and should be put into place.  For savvy business-minded individuals, it’s easy to reason moral factors away, especially when dollars and cents are at risk.  But who’s taking into consideration the human factor, the one that prescribes to human decency and consideration for fellow man?

Have we become so heartless as a society that we could even think about the possibility of penalizing overweight travelers for wanting to go from point A to point B?

I once had an overweight aunt who would break dining room chairs everywhere she went, but we all liked her.  She would get drunk at family parties and make all the kids laugh and do stripteases on top of the party tables, but nobody cared and nobody charged her extra to come.

 “Copyright 2013 Joseph Rathjen – All Rights Reserved”

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2 thoughts on “Weigh More – Pay More!

  1. Good piece. Tell you what, I am short and skinny, and I can barely squeeze into some of the airline seats. It’s no fun flying anymore, that’s for sure.

    • Thanks for the compliment Quiner and for visiting my new (and first) blog! I don’t fly much, but I do commute daily on a commuter, coach bus. Sometimes taking a long ride home sharing your space with “a passenger of size” can be quite a test of your patience and understanding, especially when your legs begin to go numb!

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