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Is airlines charging by weight fair or discriminatory?

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by kenny, Apr 2, 2013.

Is airlines charging by weight fair or discriminatory?

Poll closed Jul 11, 2013.
  1. Fair

    40 vote(s)
    72.7%
  2. Discriminatory

    15 vote(s)
    27.3%
  1. MissStepcut
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    by MissStepcut » Apr 3, 2013
    AGBF, my husband worked on an airline bankruptcy for a law firm, and it's my opinion (and his) that a lot of regulations and bankruptcy laws have bled the airlines dry and have made it very difficult for them to turn a profit.
     
  2. jaysonsmom
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    by jaysonsmom » Apr 3, 2013
    I tend to look for solutions, so I apologize in advance if I'm not answering the original question....

    I think there should be a range of different size seats inthe same section of the plane so some rows can have 8 seats per row, while others can have 6 or even 4 seats per row, with the wider seats being marginally higher in price, but not outragiously expensive (like purchasing first class tickets). All other services provided in these sections being the same.

    Then, they can post suggested guidlines for your ticket puchase, such as if you weigh under 180 lbs, rows 1-20 can accomodate you, and if you are 180-280lbs, we recommend rows 20-40 for your comfort, and if you're >280lbs, we suggest rows 40-60. That way, it lets the passenger decide what row they want to sit in, AND how much they want to pay so that the discrimination factor is removed....I don't know I'm just thinking out loud...
     
  3. MissStepcut
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    by MissStepcut » Apr 3, 2013
    Any system based on user fees is going to be discriminatory to people who use more in practice, if it's "discriminatory" that as a natural consequence some groups have to use more of whatever it is. I had the misfortune of living in a food desert last summer, and I'm not insensitive to those issues. But I don't think externalizing the costs of certain people's travel on others is part of the solution. In fact, I think any attempt to try to elevate being an unhealthy weight to being a protected class is a step in the wrong direction.
     
  4. Smith1942
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    by Smith1942 » Apr 3, 2013
    What if a woman who is five months pregnant with twins is flying? (You can fly up to at least six months I believe). Should new moms who are carrying baby weight pay more? Or, what about someone who is overweight because their medication for a serious condition makes them so? (Example: There was a British politician, Mo Mowlam, who had a bad health condition with significant weight gain due to the steroids she had to be on. In her youth, before the sickness, she was thin and pretty.)

    My friend used to work with adult survivors of child abuse and there was a high level of obesity in those groups. Many of them ate to assauge their demons, and because it was better than finding escape in drink or drugs. Heaviness can be a sign of unhappiness. You have no idea what has caused someone to become overweight - some people have terrible lives.

    Some people really have a problem with people who are overweight, but I don't. I'm almost five foor four and weigh 106, so you'd think I'd be unsympathetic towards heavier people but I'm not. I think that the inconvenience of being overweight and the negative attitudes people face are enough for them to deal with. OK, logically, maybe it's unfair that two people pay the same and one takes up more space. In the grand scheme of life, this just seems so trivial to me. It's a few hours, you can often move round the cabin anyway once take-off is over - I mean, stuff happens. Travel is full of uncomfortable moments. Is this really worth getting upset over?

    And, you have no way of knowing if the person next to you paid more or not. Airfares go up and down like whore's drawers. If two people of same weight are travelling and one paid the exhorbitant last-minute fare, while the other booked in advance and got an early-bird offer, should the one who paid more shove the lower payee over into half their seat? Ah, but then what if the high last-minute payer had no choice but to be on the flight last-minute and pay a higher fare? Should they then shove back? Should the two pax discuss what they pay?

    There is just no way to apply a fee system to what is "fair", since "fair" has so many variables and each person's situation and circumstances - as they sit there in that moment in time aboard that aircraft - are so very different.

    I think this is a PR disaster for the Samoan airline, as well as mean-spirited and petty. And what normal person would submit to being weighed at the airport, anyway? And since when did we hate our fellow humans so much?

    My father is an eminent scientist - he invented the white stuff that goes in your fillings. That was decades ago, and he ended his career lecturing about business in the context of engineering companies. His students won the IBM Challenge, he ran conferences at Cambridge, all sorts of things. Did he start each new term of his business course with a quote from a famous economist, or with an intriguing scientific formula? No. His opening statement in the new lecture of each business course was this: "Human beings hate each other." I wasn't privy to how this led into the workings of businesses, but he must have been good because his students consistently voted him the best in the university.

    He was absolutely right. This move by the airline is all about how much human beings can't stand each other. I have no idea why people can't live and let live, and just think, "So he/she needs a bit of extra room - big deal" - except in the rare cases where someone is truly huge, and I have never flown with someone that huge, despite much travel between the US and the UK. If so, the crew tries to shuffle.

    My dad's maxim explains an awful lot.
     
    


    


  5. cm366
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    by cm366 » Apr 4, 2013
    And the self-evident truth that every Hangout thread eventually turns to sex is perpetuated for one more day.....

    :wavey:
     
  6. amc80
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    by amc80 » Apr 4, 2013
    I don't understand the viewpoint that this is discriminatory. Discrimination would be saying people over a certain weight can't fly. This is just shifting the pricing model from flat fee to consumption based pricing. The cost of the seat is fixed, but you have to consider the variable costs as well. If someone is responsible for increased variable costs, shouldn't they be responsible for it?

    We have a truck that gets around 10mpg. If I go 100 miles, I'll have to pay for 10 gallons of gas. But the Prius driver might only need 2 gallons of gas for the same trip. I think we should average it and each pay for 6! It's discrimination that I have to spend more in gas for the same trip!

    Yeah, yeah, I know some people can't control their size (height) or weight. DH is 6'7" so we have to fly in upgraded seats since he really can't fit in coach. It sucks to have to pay the extra for something you can't control, but that's life sometimes.
     
  7. Smith1942
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    by Smith1942 » Apr 4, 2013

    :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  8. MichelleCarmen
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    by MichelleCarmen » Apr 4, 2013
    I would be happy to get a discount for being only 5' 4" and not being able to eat as much as taller chicks and maintain my figure. It isn't fair being short!


    Plus, what if a person weighs more bc they exercise and have more muscle mass. Maybe a lower body fat percentage should provide a discount to those who weigh more bc they strength train vs weigh more bc muscle takes up less room.

    Who is this airline, anyway? I don't even know who they are. Can't they research carbon materials rather than peoples' weight to save a buck by knocking people around?
     
  9. AGBF
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    by AGBF » Apr 4, 2013
    I understand your point of view. I am aware of all the mergers of airlines brought about because some airlines were failing. I am looking at matters from a different point of view, however. Why must the CEOs make huge salaries and cut the basic benefits of the customers?

    I bet if there were an airline that was really customer-friendly that it would make a lot of money. But maybe it has to be employee-owned like UPS.

    AGBF
     
  10. momhappy
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    by momhappy » Apr 5, 2013
    I guess that I don't really see how your potential circumstances (like pregnant women or adult survivors of child abuse, etc.) plays into it? If an airline charges by weight, it doesn't matter what the circumstances are - weight is weight. I don't really see the practice as being unfair or discriminatory. If I overpack (and I aways try not to) and my luggage is too heavy, I would expect to be charged for it. It's just part of flying. It doesn't matter what my circumstances are for overpacking, it comes down to a number on a scale.
     
    


    


  11. kenny
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    by kenny » Apr 5, 2013
    Pay what you weigh does not make them more money nor does it cut a basic benefit, nor does it have to do with CEOs (in a zillion industries) making huge salaries.

    The only downside is hurt feelings and heavier folks/bags no longer getting their airfare unfairly subsided by (mostly) women and children.
    Them paying less is a huge upside and since PS is 90+ % women where is the gratitude?

    I can understand people being upset that their feelings are hurt, but fair is fair in every other purchase so why not this one?
     
  12. usnwife
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    by usnwife » Apr 5, 2013
    I just don't see this working long term. Light people and people with a lot of kids will fly this airline to save money. While heavy passengers will choose another airline due to embarrassment or to save money. So how will this airline pay for fuel? The airline would have to charge more per pound, so there will be no savings. Also, will the airline charge/penalize heavier flight attendants and crew? The only advantage to this model, is that they could make plane seats even smaller (as skinny people and children take up less room) and fit more people on the plane and make more profit.
     
  13. TC1987
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    by TC1987 » Apr 5, 2013
    I'm okay with it. Air travel, as well as Carnival Cruises, it's all heading toward "riding on the Marrakesh Express", anyhow. :lol: (old Crosby, Stills & Nash song, for those too young to get the reference.)
     
  14. ruby59
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    by ruby59 » Apr 5, 2013
    Weighing the luggage is quite different than weighing a human being.

    In real life, services are not always equal. Should I pay more in taxes because I have 3 children in the school system when neighbors down the street do not have any? Should the neighbor across the street pay extra because he has a heart condition and has to call for a rescue vehicle more often?

    There is enough unfortunate embarrassment going on at airports for some travelers since 9/11 without having to subject them to anymore humiliation.
     
  15. pregcurious
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    by pregcurious » Apr 5, 2013
    I know in this case you mean discriminatory as a negative term, but we already treat people who cannot fit into one seat differently--we force them to buy 2 seats. Technically both are discriminatory. More people seem to sensitive to the weight thing because all of a sudden it applies to everyone. I think this is actually more fair. Let's discriminate against everyone, instead of people over a specific width. Why not?

    Is it morally wrong? I personally don't think so. While weight is the only measure of how much it costs to fly someone, it is part of the cost, and a different way of calculating cost than just if someone fits into a seat.
     
    


    


  16. anne_h
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    by anne_h » Apr 5, 2013
    I am intrigued by this idea.

    In practice, probably very difficult to implement.

    Anne
     
  17. momhappy
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    by momhappy » Apr 6, 2013
    I don't see weighing luggage as that different than weighing people. Weight is weight. If airlines have adopted the policy of charging extra fees for overweight luggage, then I don't think it's unfair to apply the rule across the board (and apply to overweight passengers). I agree that it might be difficult to implement, but I'm sure that they could find a way to do it discreetly.
     
  18. Laila619
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    by Laila619 » Apr 6, 2013
    Agree with all this.
     
  19. AGBF
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    by AGBF » Apr 7, 2013
    I have many objections to airlines weighing people, and I have voiced them in various places above. One which I have stated and reiterated is that the airlines will just make more money out of it. Whenever I post this someone else posts in refutation of what I posted, saying that everyone will pay his fair share if people are weighed.

    I heard a brief comment on the radio yesterday or the day before, which sums up my feeling about this argument. The so-called "fairness argument". The radio comment (query) was that if overweight people were going to be charged more on an airline, were underweight people going to be refunded money?

    The answer is: of course not! The airlines are not about to start lowering the fares for a lot of people now if they decide to base fares on weight. Do any of you see them lowering a lot of their fares? If not, I rest my case.

    AGBF
    :read:
     
  20. perry
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    by perry » Apr 7, 2013
    The real problem is not the weight of passengers and their luggage, as fuel cost represents only about 25% of the cost of flying a jet - and incremental weight cost is on the order of 5%.

    It is a matter of size. There are people who need more legroom, there are people who need more width. These people may or may not be overweight (or overweight due to a reason they can control).

    What airlines need to do is instead of filling most of the plane with the same size seats - is to have some rows with longer leg-room; and have some non-first class seats that are wider. But, then charge accordingly. People of Size (be it tall, or wide) would be required to purchase the correct size seat for them - and pay the appropriate premium. That way everyone is comfortable. In the case of wide seats - if a row normally had 3 wide, and now has 2 wide wider seats; then they cost 50% more than the normal sized seat.

    I like to fly Frontier - in part because I can buy seats with extra leg room; but also because I can pre-buy extra baggage at a reduced rate (if you book through the Frontier site) - and when you do that you also get moved up in boarding class from the last group.

    Have a great day,

    Perry
     
  21. momhappy
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  22. kenny
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  23. ruby59
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    by ruby59 » Apr 7, 2013
    Referring to the last line where passengers are instructed to input their approximate weight -

    I can just imagine the conversation at the check in counter when some poor employee has to explain to an overweight passenger in denial why the airline feels her butt needs two seats.

    Not sure about Samoa, but here in the U.S., I cannot imagine that conversation going well.
     
  24. icekid
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    by icekid » Apr 7, 2013
    You know, if you weigh more and tote more "luggage" around in your car, you pay more for gas too! Is that also unfair? Just a thought...
     
  25. kenny
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    by kenny » Apr 7, 2013
    Funny, I strip my car of any unnecessary stuff often to save a few drops of gas while my SO has been carrying around a 75 pound sewing machine in his trunk for months.

    It's funny how people vary.
     
  26. momhappy
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    by momhappy » Apr 7, 2013
    Ugh - my bad. I started reading the thread, but then went mostly to the responses. Thanks for pointing that out to me - it's a reminder to read more carefully before I post... :)
     

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