It seems that airlines are always looking for new ways to tax people. Not too long ago there was a big controversy about airlines making heavier-set passengers pay more for their seats. This was known as the airline “fat tax”. Then, for a while at least, this scheme just seemed to leave the spotlight. Now it has found its way back into the spotlight thanks to a new proposal that has shown up in Norway.
Apparently Norway has introduced a new proposal called “pay as you weigh”. In short, this new scheme is going to see airlines in Norway charging more for fliers who are overweight. The airlines don’t look to make any extra money off this scheme, as they are also planning to offer a discount to people who are lightweight.
The whole idea behind this scheme is for airlines to offset the cost for flying overweight passengers. According to airlines, flying overweight passengers costs them more fuel. Not only that, but sometimes they take up more than one seat. Thus, for the comfort of other passengers, and for the sake of keeping fuel costs down, airlines have to charge more for these passengers.
According to Bharat P. Bhatta, who writes for the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, there are three methods that airlines can choose from. First is a straightforward price where people need to pay per kilogram. Second is a fixed low fare, with passengers who are heavier needing to pay a surcharge to make up for their weight. Last would be a system that is broken up into three classes – light, normal and heavy. The passengers in each class will pay accordingly.
So how do people feel about this idea? Well apparently people in Britain love it. In fact, it received the backing of some 48% of the people who were polled by website Holiday Extras. Although more men supported this idea than women, both were overwhelmingly in support of these schemes.
James Lewis, who is a staff member for Holiday Extras, said that sitting next to someone who is large on a flight can reduce the space someone else has. Everyone pays the same about for their seats, but bigger passengers are taking up more room. If people have to pay extra for excess baggage, why should they get away with excess body weight?
The problem, however, is that airlines don’t really know how to work in this scheme. Some airlines have already tried it, only to be slammed by human rights groups. People are willing to support these ideas over the internet when others can’t see who they are. However, when they are in public, people tend to sing a different tune. They don’t want to be considered inhuman, and thus, drop their support for such schemes.
The real problem is that there are some people out there who can’t help their weight. There are certain medical conditions that keep people from losing weight or that makes them gain weight faster than others. Is it right to make these people pay extra for their seats when it is a condition outside their control? If it is not right, who is to say that it is right to charge other passengers who are overweight for their seats?