Professor: Obese People Should Pay “fat tax” To Fly

If you have ever sat next to an overweight or obese person on a flight, you know how uncomfortable it can be and the longer the flight, the more uncomfortable you will likely have gotten. But does that mean that airlines should charge overweight people more than people of “normal” weight? Dr Bharat P Bhatta, a Professor from Sogn og Fjordane University College in Norway thinks that airlines should price tickets according to what their passengers weigh.

According to Dr. Bhatta, airlines should have price plans that are categorized by weight, where heavier passengers paid more and passengers who weighed less paid less.

Dr. Bhatta shared this proposed pricing model in this month’s Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management publication. According to the Norwegian Professor, the amount of space, as well as the weight of a person, should be a major factor in ticket pricing, for airlines.

Dr Bhatta said,

”Charging according to weight and space is a universally accepted principle, not only in transportation, but also in other services…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, The Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management’s editor, suported Bhatta’s theory saying,

“‘For airlines, every extra kilogram means more expensive jet fuel must be burned, which leads to CO2 emissions and financial cost….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.”

According to Dr. Bhatta, airlines could have a fixed rate which would be calculated per pound or kilogram of a passenger’s weight. This way, a 240 pound person would pay double the airfare of a 120 pound person.

The alternative pricing strategy would be a base air fare which would be subject to extra fees for heavier passengers and discounts for lighter passengers.

Bob Atkinson of disagreed with the proposal saying,

“Customers are already paying extra charges for their baggage, but actually making one for a person – I think that’s a bit distasteful.”


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