Published on Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Airline flyers may soon be paying by pound

With rising fuel prices, airline passengers might look forward to paying by the pound. Sound far-fetched?

Some analysts say it’s the wave of the future because the more weight you bring on a plane, the more fuel is needed to get you to your destination.

“It’s the way cargo flies. If something is twice the weight, you pay twice as much,” said Robert Mann, an industry analyst and consultant. He foresees weight being a future ticket consideration.

“It might be widely pooh-poohed, but if fuel goes back to being an expensive as it was, there will be some more of these public articulations,” he said.

How such a plan might be implemented is unknown. But possibly passengers could estimate their weight when buying a ticket on the Internet, then weighing in at the airport.

Zeke Atkins, founder of Luggage Forward, said he started the luggage delivery company partly because rising fuel prices may make pay-by-the-pound a future reality.

“I don’t know if it will happen in the next four or five months, but in the next year or 18 months, airlines will have to start taking this into account,” he said.

He reminds skeptics that only a few years ago, charging for an airline bag was unknown.

Report by David Wilkening

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  • Not in Canada

    In Canada, forcing one passenger to buy two seats is illegal on domestic flights. Canada's Supreme Court ruled that charging extra to someone who is "functionally disabled by obesity" was discriminatory. The FAA found its regulations were outdated when the crash of a regional jet revealed overloading as PAZ weight was miscalculated. 34% of Americans are clinically obese.

    By J Hewson, Monday, July 27, 2009

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