Thursday, 12 January 2012

Ex-airline chief - fat passengers 'should pay more'

A former aviation executive has sparked controversy and debate by claiming that fat passengers 'should pay more' for their airline seats. Tony Webber believes that the additional weight has lead to higher fuel bills and that costs were now rising not  just because of increased fuel costs but "because the average adult passenger is carrying a bit more heft."

Webber believes that the case and argument is simple, commenting: "If the passengers on the aircraft weigh more, the aircraft consumes more fuel and the airline's costs go up. "In turn, the airline will need to lift airfares to recover these additional costs. And when they do, the burden of these higher fees should not be lumbered on those who are shedding a few kilos or keeping their weight stable."

Webber goes on to cite flight operations in rural Indonesia where passengers as well as bags are weighed before they board planes. The opinions of Webber seem to be at the extreme end of a shift in aviation policy towards larger passengers.

Virgin Atlantic currently require passengers to pay more if they are unable to fit in a single seat and Continental stipulate that passengers need to fit in seats with both armrests down in order to not be charged extra.

The move sparks an interesting debate about whether this is a genuine case or penny pinching by airlines. What do you and think and where does this lead?  Should we now have fat planes with larger seats, more expensive tickets and thin planes with lower fares and smaller meals on board?