A Norwegian expert has introduced the concept of charging air passengers according to their weight. In an article in the March 2013 edition of the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, Dr Bharat P. Bhatta suggested 3 different ways of charging passengers on the basis of their weight.
The first method involves charging a fixed rate for kilograms/pounds per passenger. The second method involves a standard base rate with extra charges for overweight customers and discounts for lightweight passengers. The third proposed method involves charging airfare on the basis of categories – heavy, normal and light.
Weight based airfares are not that far-fetched if one considers the aggressive pricing tactics employed by low-cost carriers – notably Ryanair and Spirit.
Charging by passenger weight would certainly eliminate trying to carry heavier items on one’s person rather than in a carry-on to which weight limits and surcharges apply.
Given the sensitive nature of the topic and the airlines’ general lack of enforcing their own rules when extremely large passengers infringe on other passengers’ seat space, it’s doubtful this concept will take hold. Yet, several years ago few could have imagined that airlines would routinely charge fees to check passenger luggage.
Since weight impacts airplane fuel consumption, could this be the pricing model for airlines in the next decade?