Friday, June 13, 2008


Did you see on the news last night the latest proposal by the airline industry? With skyrocketing fuel prices, the airlines are looking for ways to lighten their loads since the heavier the plane, the more fuel it takes to fly it.

The latest proposal, called the “fat tax,” is that the passengers themselves be weighed and pay for their own personal excess baggage. The story on the news showed a big scale right next to the check-in line that passengers would need to step on as they prepared to get boarding passes and enter security lines. Even the reporter covering the story self-consciously covered the digital weight readout screen as she demonstrated how the scale would work.

“It’s how UPS charges,” said one proponent. “What’s wrong with charging someone for the actual cost of their transportation?”

The reporter didn’t exactly say how it would work, but one suggestion is to have the passenger and luggage both get on the scale together. A 5’7” female weighing 135 pounds with a 35-pound suitcase would pay much less than a 6’1” man weighting 300 pounds carrying a 20-pound backpack. Passengers would pre-pay for their tickets the way they always do, but then might be charged extra for any weight over a prescribed amount when they checked in.

So we used to have to diet before we went to the doctor for our annual physical. Now we’ll all need to diet before heading to the airport check-in line. But be prepared for long, slow lines as people who used to just remove their jacket and shoes at security now start stripping down to their Fruit of the Looms at the scales.

New conventional wisdom: arrive at the airport three hours early to allow for the slow weigh-in lines—or better yet, check to see if Greyhound is going your way.

No comments: