Ultimately the total mass of the person and their belongings is what is being lifted into the air. If there is a dignified way to weigh both, I think that would be fairest.
I think it was a pacific island airline that did it first.
However, I'm the same height as aplummer. Whilst I probably should lose some weight, my lowest healthy weight is inevitably going to be more than any smaller person, and that was never in my control. My clothes are also bulkier and heavier.
While there are many small positive aspects to my size. Travel comfort is not one of them. It would be unreasonable to expect us to react positively to something that makes that worse.
If one combined weight is 220lb/100kg vs another combined weight of 320/145. That’s quite a difference in fuel requirements to move mass from one place to another. I don’t see why not discounting it proportionally to increased cost + opportunity cost. It’s not a penalty if it’s just proportional to actual cost.
They already discount children for theoretically weighing less than adults.
I don’t see the connection to profit you’re making.
As for dignified, I don't know what they'd have said if I'd picked out something way to small or big, say 120 or 250. It was mild weather though, and nobody was wearing clothes that would make it hard to guess weight fairly well.
Neither of those points are true, and you didn't address my question as to whether you're happy to pay more for health insurance, since it costs the insurer more.
>Neither of those points are true
Well, they are, so I‘ll lay it out. Aplummer and James are on a two-person plane flying to Whereverville. James and his luggage weigh 150 lbs, Aplummer and his luggage weigh 300 lbs. It takes 50 gallons of fuel to transport the total 450 lbs. At $2.50 per gallon, the total is $125. So ”the actual cost of the goods and services” is 16.6 gallons ($41.66) for James, and 33.3 gallons ($83.33) for Aplummer. But Aplummer doesn’t want to pay $83.33. He says “So I should pay more for being 6’7”?” and says him and James should both pay $62.50, leaving James “to pay for extra goods and services they aren’t using so [he] can have them for free”.
> Well, they are, so I‘ll lay it out.
That cost calculation is completely ridiculous without taking into account the capacity of the plane, overhead, seat class, disability status, ticket type, volume of luggage and a million other things. Which is why tickets are broken down to "ordinary adult" and "ordinary child".
Someone has to pay. There’s no free lunch.
Why make the lighter people pay for the heavier people?
Yet airlines don't charge per pound, they have cut offs which are pretty generous (e.g I've never been charged for extra weight on checkin luggage) and they don't even bother weighing carry on bags. Because as much as airlines will nickle and dime you, there are limits to all the little surcharges that people are willing to pay and to the complexity/inconvenience of the checkin process.
But when it gets to bodyweight you have even more hurdles. Someone is in a wheelchair, should that be weighed? Well, no they have a disability. So if an obese passenger claims it's a medical condition, they will likely complain about discrimination. Yet carry on bags and checkin luggage can be weighed right now with little complaints about violating ADA. But airlines aren't willing to do even that.
These have all been quite small regional airline flights (e.g. 1-2 layout)
This is a more complicated issue that most people realize. Last year "Nova" had a really good episode caller "The Truth About Fat". It's currently available for free viewing on the PBS site . It is quite interesting and informative.
All these kinds of simplications - too much sugar, too much cards, too much fat, not enough walking, too many video games, etc. - never turn out to be the answer for a broad part of the population. This cannot be turned into a sound bite.
However for the no status / low status passengers although in my opinion there's a baseline revenue target per seat airlines would like to hit and therefore we probably won't see discounts for skinny customers or children, penalizing overweight passengers for an added revenue stream seems entirely realistic. Airlines already hit no status/low status customers with a long lost of contrived fees for everything from picking your seat, slightly better legroom, boarding position and luggage count. Piling on another fee would be profitable and no doubt heartily embraced if it can be disguised as a safety concern.
No, because other factors bring in orders of magnitude more money, which is why airlines cater to business travelers that buy expensive tickets last minute, not leisure travelers, that buy tickets months in advance. Weight (and the cost of fuel to move it) is only one of many factors that contribute to the total cost of airline tickets.
> And people in low economic brackets would try to lose as much weight as possible, probably getting below healthy conditions just so they can travel cheaper.
If we take baggage fees as in indicator of cost, we could assume 50 lbs will cost or save you about $30. And people are going to not only lose weight, but lose so much to be unhealthy to save…60 bucks round trip on a once yearly vacation? If giving people $60 a year to lose weight is real, we have just discovered a way to save billions on healthcare.
But I also think it should be a two way street. If we have a strong tail wind we should get a little bonus. If passengers fail to look into weather forecasts and there’s a strong head wind well tough we get charged extra. That kind of thing.
If you deliberately chose to purchase a seat you know does not fit your needs, then attempt to steal space from the person next to you, then you are the bad guy. Not the airline. If you think you deserve to be gifted free additional space you did not pay for, then you are the bad guy.
He said he was he not spilling over into the next seat.
(If airlines want to embarrass people, they need to do it in a tactful way. Like before buying the ticket. For instance, if your waist is over--whatever 50 inches, you need to buy two, but not on the plane in front of everyone. Airline have to go back catering to their custmers. Taking a flight seems just awful these days.)
Now, I don't know the whole story of how the communication with Smith went down, but I 100% agree with the policy: If you can't lower the arm rest, you need to buy another seat.
Also, your suggestion "Like before buying the ticket" doesn't make sense. How is the airline to know someone is large enough to buy require 2 seats before they board?
I remember when this story came out, and there was plenty of backlash against Smith for going on his tirade, and some of it from other overweight people basically along the lines of "I know I'm overweight, and I know I have to deal with it by buying a second seat".
Likewise, luggage is weighed at the airport, rather than what someone claims the weight is.
Better question: what fraction of airline's margins could one explain with the variation of passengers' weights? Airlines' pre-tax margins are low . Almost any factor, meaningless or meaningful, will look tiny relative to revenues or costs.
In terms of flight operating costs (FOC) per hour, about 16-36% according to the numbers for a 737-500 across for Continental/United/Southwest a few years ago.
It's very dependent on utilization. Fixed ownership (i.e. depreciation/leasing) costs start to dominate at low utilization rates.
Boeing 737‐500 FOC per block hour (~2017):
Crew Fuel Maint. Ownership Hrs/day
Continental $510 $430(19%) $ 651 $698 3.9
United $927 $487(16%) $1048 $510 4.3
Southwest $388 $537(36%) $ 251 $350 8.2
The same for the 737MAX.
So an extra 100 lbs on every passenger is a drop in the bucket!
Edit: the plane holds 328-550 depending on seat configuration per the above link. I went with the upper end of that range per consideration of the “safety considerations” indicating it is the upper end of that range that is being reconsidered.
Is the average American 100 lbs heavier than the average person from the rest of the world? Probably nowhere near that.
The problem case for weight are the regional jets (E190 etc) and to a lesser degree the 737/A320 family. Those tend to be weight limited enough that you need to offload passengers or baggage if it's too warm outside.
Of course, fuel is no different than any other weight, so the same rule would apply to the revenue load (people, bags, freight)—for every three pounds it cost you one pound of fuel.
Incidentally, I've always felt ticketing should be pro-rata wrt weight. Well, where 'always' is defined as 'since I obtained my FAA dispatcher license.'
(1) Yes I know link between a 'normal' BMI and health is complicated.
The weighing could be done at the end of the flight.
It's possible some people will actually get healthier. However, it's also much easier to lose 10lbs from dehydration and pooping than from losing fat (from my experience).
"We have to recalculate weight on airplanes" is just a proxy, a code smell. There's an iceberg of catastrophe here.
(And actually, they have also gotten noticeably heavier in Asia and Africa, too, but because they started with much lower obesity rates, it just isn't as noticeable. For example in 1975 14% of Japanese were overweight, compared to 47% US. By 2013 that was 28% Japan, 72% US).
There's a nice interactive graph on the linked page around 2/3 or so down that lets you look at the growth over time for assorted countries.
This should be pretty alarming, because it indicates that whatever is leading to soaring obesity in the US quite possibly is not something specifically that we in the US are doing wrong in our eating or exercise choices and habits.
Of course it's more complicated than that, studies are moving in that direction but it's going to be 50 more years since updated dietary guidelines become common (grandma's) knowledge.
American bread is basically cake. We serve fries with everything. Ketchup, which is basically red sugar paste, is a go-to condiment. People drink fruit juice “to be healthy”, etc etc.
Even in big tech companies, nearly all of the snacks are carb dense potato chips, sugar glazed nuts, candy, instant noodles, and more.
Everyone eats like they work 10 hours of calorie-intensive labor while barely moving at all. It would be a wonderful if the only thing Americans ate was chicken and steroid milk exports.
The difference is your portion sizes are gigantic compared to ours. If you go to a McDonald’s in Holland and buy a meal, our fries are what you’d call small size, and our cola are what you’d call child’s size. At restaurants we don’t have unlimited refill of cola like you do, we pay for each bottle so we don’t typically drink an entire days worth of kcal in cola with each meal like you do. Our breakfast is smaller and cold, not big lavish feasts with cooked food. What you call breakfast we’d probably call lunch, and what we call breakfast you’d probably call a snack.
We also collectively exercise more than you do just by living. It’s not a secret that bicycling around is a huge thing and the primary transport we think of when we want to go somewhere unless we have a reason not to.
I’m sure the types of food you have are a big contributor, but at the end of the day you’re the ones stuffing all of that into your mouths instead of properly portioning out sizes.
Portion sizes, excessive fat and simple sugars, loading everything (even savory foods) with huge amounts of federally-subsidized cheap corn syrup, all sorts of things. It's not as simple as (or related to) livestock practices.
There are no more normal size candy bars for sale in the gas station by my winter home; only "king size" which are approximately 2x the size of a normal candy bar. This is just one of a million little examples.