Why dont we pay for flights by weight?

Alright, this has been bugging me me for a while now.

How come the ammount of luggage we take onto a plane is limited regardless of our weight?
I’ve never been asked for my weight when booking tickets fora flight, and my weight is not on my passport. but i am told exactly how much additional luggage i can take onto the plane with me.
surely it should be a combined weight of me + luggage + hand luggage, rather than only one of them.
if they can make such an exact measurement about how much luggage you take onboarrd how come they dont care how much you + hand luggage weigh.

  • images of arnie waling onto a plane with a minigun+ammo as hand-luggage *

Maybe we could pay by weight or something more sensible.

it annoys me that they can be so picky about how much luggage you can take, but not care about how much total weight you are taking onto the plane.

does this make any sense to anyone?

what is the reasoning behind this? i assume it’s just for weight, so why dont we have something a bit more sensible?

Two reasons come to mind.

Jet fuel is a variable cost in making a flight, but there are much higher fixed costs involved. So even though an airline would save some money if all their passengers were skinny people and small children, it’s not the main concern. Empty seats are the bigger concern.

The second reason is that people are sensitive to being discriminated against. Heavy people would object to paying more to fly. You’d make people mad and lose customers.

Your question is entirely sensible. However, I suspect that any airline that starts asking its customers how much they weigh will soon find itself bereft of customers entirely. For some strange reason, people can get kinda tetchy about that sort of thing. (And, of course, a significant portion of those asked would lie about their weight anyway.)

I’ve actually gotten around the carry-on weight rule by taking heavy objects such as water bottles out of my bag and putting them into my coat pockets.

[ul][li]Advance selling would be very difficult. How do you weigh someone ordering over the internet? [/li][li]People will not accept waiting until they check-in and are weighed before finding out the cost of their flight.[/li]Quality of service is not weight-dependent. Pricing differently for the perception of identical service would be a tough PR exercise.[/ul]

I though we were charged by our weight in a loose kind of way. Kids pay less and adults who can fit into one seat pay more. Really big people who need two seats have to pay for two seats.

To be able to maintain an acceptable range of loads for the aircraft and make it fair on each passenger.

As a worker in the travel industry I can tell you right away that it would be impossible to advertise airfares effectively if it was based upon the customer’s weight. Furthermore it would increase the complexity of the sale transaction tenfold as you would have to weigh each traveller (all travellers would have to go to a store to buy tickets). Also, what happens if someone books flights 11 months in advance and they either gain or lose weight? Pricing airfares by weight is unworkable.

The current pricing schemes work fine for the airlines.

I still find it strange that ‘they’ can be so militant about your luggage, and still have enough leeway to allow the weight of passengers to fluctuate so wildly.
seems mad to me.
obviously PR would be a nightmare, and they already have a system that works, but surely it could be made much more efficient/cheaper.
maybe we could have our weight stamped on our passport, with some kind of expiry date on it, after that you require -re-weighting or something.
like your photo, but more than once a decade

good point smam

BTW, shouldn’t we be talking about BMI, not weight? A shorter, fatter person may expand out into two seats, whereas a tall, skinny person may fit into one and weigh more. But then, of course, you’d have to charge for overhead…

by cubic gram or some such perhaps.

I was thinkiing form the point of view of it costing more to fly a heavy person as they have to load in more fuel to transport them. The size of the people on the plane makes no difference to the weight, unless you make planes to accommodade the people specifically, in which case the plane itself may become heavier.

Anyhow, it appears to come down to pr and the fact that the system works, if not optimally.

If i was running a ‘carry people about for money’ service, i’d charge by the pound :stuck_out_tongue:

With the cost of jet fuel in isolation, you’re right - but in the big picture of running a viable airline business it’s an insignificant cost difference between a fat guy and a thin one.

I propose the Qis method at buffet restaurants. Weigh the customers before and after eating and charge them on the weight gain.:smiley:

unless, of course, one is so fat they take up two seats. Then you have a choice between leaving a seat empty and eating the cost (NPI), or charging the customer for it, or alienating a thin customer by sticking them next to the fat one.

I could see how you go purchase tickets by “maximum weight allowed”: you would then estimate how much you would weigh along with all your baggage. That way you could be less picky about luggage: you would just pay more to have a lot of luggage.

Now, if each customer has purchased a lot of “total pounds”, the airlines can reserve several seats open: this is okay because they already have the cash for them. They just don’t know if they will be used by fat people or by luggage.

And, here is the only really tricky part of my plan. One would have to have a way to use a seat optionally as a seat or as luggage, but there are flight restrictions against that. Other than that it seems like a perfectly viable plan, even if customers would have to know about how much luggage and pounds they would be using.

Passengers to the Aran Irelands in Ireland get weighed before getting on the plane (not for charging purposes, but just to double-check that the little prop plane will be able to get off the ground).

Quick somebody frame that!

The pay-per-gram buffet sounds good in theory but If I have had a few pints and the curry is particularly volatile, the establisment owners might be due me a few quid by the time I leave :rolleyes:-bleeuch!

What if in the cargo hold, we had African Swallows trained to hover with the luggage :wink:

I fear I may have used up my good point quotient for this month already.

It is when a fair chunk of your seat is taken up by a corpulent person sitting next to you.

But that means that everybody would have to buy new luggage, with husks on it.

What about me, a thin person who always takes a heavy coat or sweater and a bottle of wine and a bottle of water and usually a laptop and at least once change of clothes in my carry-on? And wear boots. My and a person who weighed 40 pounds more but wore keds and one layer of clothes and had no carry-on are probably pretty close…

To get around the you-cant-weigh-people over the net and other problems, you could simply include body weight into the same category as luggage weight. Those who go over the limit have to pay a fine.

I object to the pay per pound approach because

  1. It encourages anorexia.

  2. If that line of thinking prevails, eventually teachers will want to start charging slower students more.

As already mentioned getting the weight of passengers would be very difficult to implement and piss off a huge portion of the public.

Luggage on the other hand is something they can control without too much difficulty.

IIRC the reason they are now so militant about luggage weight is that a study was done showing an alarming number of planes being over their ‘safe’ takeoff weight.

Back in the ‘old’ days (70’s and early 80’s) it was somewhat rare for planes to be 100% filled. after deregulation the airlines do everything they can to get a 100% filled flight. Further, airlines have squished more seats into planes. They also load the plane with paid cargo as much as possible (IIRC cargo is more valuable than passengers) onto passenger flights. Finally the American public has a goodly percentage of overweight people.

Add it all together (plus a full fuel load) and the planes became unsafe. Granted the ‘safe’ takeoff weight is lower than the plane can actually manage but still…you’re getting closer to that line where disasters occur.

As a result they get anal about your luggage these days. That it saves on fuel costs probably doesn’t hurt either but I do not think it is the primary reason.

It’s not just the luggage.

One reason some of the smaller airplanes are taking off periously close to the weight limit is that the FAA believes the average adult American to weigh 170 lbs :dubious: and that’s the figure used by many to calculate the weight and balance situation.

For checked baggage, they need to know the weight so they can load it in a balanced manner in the cargo hold (so at least that is reasonably under control)

All airplanes have a maximum allowable take off weight. Although there is a safety margin built into that figure (5lbs over isn’t going to kill you) it’s not a huge amount in comparison to the overall weight of the aircraft. Even so, as you approach the maximum allowable weight the aircraft performance does start to suffer. The pilots up front can tell from the control forces needed and how the airplane handles that they have a full load. A fully loaded airplane will not climb as fast, nor will it be as nimble as one half empty.