A Norwegian business professor has proposed that air travellers should have to pay more if they weigh more. Illustration: Michael Mucci
It may only have a slim chance of succeeding, but a pay-as-you-weigh airline pricing scheme has been suggested.
Heavier passengers would pay more for their plane tickets and lighter ones less under plans put forward by a Norwegian professor.
Writing in this month's Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management publication, Dr Bharat P Bhatta said weight and space should be taken into account when airlines price their tickets.
Dr Bhatta, of the Sogn og Fjordane University College in Norway, has put forward three proposals.
- Fare according to actual weight: Charging passengers according to how much they and their belongings weigh, fixing a rate for kilograms per passenger so that a person weighing 60kg pays half the airfare of a 120kg person;
- Base fare minus or plus an extra charge: This option involves charging a fixed base rate, with an additional charge for heavier passengers to cover the extra costs. Every passenger could have a different fare according to this option;
- Same fare if the passenger has an average weight, but discounted/extra fare for low/excess weight below/above a certain limit. This option results in three types of fares: high fares, average fares and low fares.
"Charging according to weight and space is a universally accepted principle, not only in transportation, but also in other services," said Dr Bhatta, who thinks the third option is most suitable for implementation.
"As weight and space are far more important in aviation than other modes of transport, airlines should take this into account when pricing their tickets."
Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management editor Dr Ian Yeoman said: "For airlines, every extra kilogram means more expensive jet fuel must be burned, which leads to CO2 emissions and financial cost.
"As the airline industry is fraught with financial difficulties, marginally profitable and has seen exponential growth in the last decade, maybe they should be looking to introduce scales at the check-in."