Airlines should make heavier passengers pay more for their plane tickets and lighter ones less, it has been suggested.
The controversial pay-as-you-weigh pricing scheme has been mooted by a Norwegian professor who argues that weight and space should be taken into account by airlines pricing their tickets.
Writing in this month's Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management , Dr Bharat P Bhatta 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 (132lbs or nine stone 6lbs) pays half the airfare of a 120kg (264lbs or 18 stone 12lbs) 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.
Dr Bhatta, of the Sogn og Fjordane University College in Norway, thinks the third option is most suitable for implementation.
"Charging according to weight and space is a universally accepted principle, not only in transportation, but also in other services," he said.
"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."
Dr Ian Yeoman, editor of the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, threw his weight behind the suggestion.
"For airlines, every extra kilogram means more expensive jet fuel must be burned, which leads to CO2 emissions and financial cost," he said.
"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."
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