You weigh how much?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

I weigh how much? © Dan Sperrin

Hot on the heels of the Holiday Extras survey comes the news that Air Samoa is charging passengers by their weight. Pricing air travel by passenger weight is a hoary old chestnut that is probably – and I say that because nothing is definite in a world where stupidity outweighs common sense – never going to happen here.

Why do I say that?

Because the biggest gripe by passengers after pricing is queuing. And if all of us on a 500 seat Airbus 380 are going to have to be weighed at the airport with our luggage, delays are going to occur. And embarrassment. How many when being told they weigh more than they admit to themselves will accept it? Maybe they will blame it on the luggage but there will still be delays. Can that pair of shoes really weigh 10 kgs? And delays mean the airlines pay as well in wasting time at the airport.

This could be easily resolved, you might think, by airlines allowing us to weigh ourselves at home and enter the weight online. In a pig’s eye! Some airline person will have to verify so they can surcharge if you get it “wrong.”
On top of delays there is the discriminatory factor. If you are six foot six inches tall you are going to weigh more than someone who stands at just five feet. The taller cannot help his height nor can the shorter. But I bet an EU court would say this is discrimination. And what of someone with glandular problems and their weight has ballooned? Is this fair on health grounds? To be sexist for a moment, generally women weigh less than men so is this potential introduction sexually discriminatory?

But the media have loved the story. From the US to Russia, Argentina to the UK, Air Samoa has made the news. Online sites have received far more comment than they usually would. Just as Ryanair caused a lot of comment when this same idea was suggested as a potential new “tax” a few years ago, all that this claptrap has done is to suggest something is going to happen when it patently isn’t.

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