I would like to begin by making clear my stance on an indubitably PC initiated, modern day pseudonym. That, is, ‘Overweight’. By definition, relating to a person, overweight is being heavier than is considered proper for that person’s height; thus, overweight, weighing too much. So. Weight. That’s the key word. Fat? That’s another thing. For example, a flabby person, devoid of muscle tone might have a high percentage of body fat, while still being a reasonable weight in relation to their height. I would call this person fat. You might prefer to use the pseudonym, overweight. You would be wrong. They are not overweight, they are indeed, fat.
However, this piece focuses directly on people – regardless of height – who weigh a lot. Now, pay attention and put on your rational face. A 17-year-old boy weighing in at 52kgs, enters an aircraft terminal with 20kgs of luggage; he is followed by his father, a tall, broad man, weighing in at 103kgs, also carrying 20kgs of luggage. (Do not despair, this is not a maths quiz.) Now, the boy places his bag on the scales to be told, ‘That’s fine sir, there is no extra fee’. His father steps forward and does the same, ‘Looks like you boys are good to go then, that’s 600 dollars each’. So, the boy’s total weight is 72 kilograms while the father, in total, carries 123 kilograms. As their bags were similar weights, they have both paid the same fare, for the same trip, but on account of the father’s extra 51 kgs, the plane on which they are travelling, will potentially carry one less passenger. It will now make $600 less because of that one, strapping man. If this same phenomenon takes place, say, 20 times on this flight, that is, on 20 occasions somebody brings with them the weight of another person, that’s 20 lots of 600 dollars on which the airline misses out. Do the math; that’s $12 000 the airline could be using to discount your fare. Alternatively, if the opposite occurs, that makes 20 lots of 51 kilograms’ the plane is travelling light. 1 020 kilograms worth of extra freight that plane could be carrying; money which, again, could be coming off your fare.
As my example has illustrated, I’m not persecuting or discriminating against fat people – the fat isn’t the issue. It’s the weight. Basic physics: when an object is suspended in mid air, supported only by that air, what is its major acting force? There you go. If an airline knew exactly how much weight it was carrying, think how efficient air travel could be; they could carry a precise amount of fuel, they could perhaps load up with extra luggage, they could carry more passengers – the possibilities are endless. In my opinion, charging passengers for their total weight, that is, luggage and person, is the most logical concept I have heard since some clever bugger thought about bagging sliced bread.