Should Fat Airline Passengers Pay A Surcharge?

Should Fat Airline Passengers Pay A Surcharge?

We’ve all thought ‘I hope you don’t end up sitting next to me’ when we’ve seen an obese person waddling down the aisle on a plane; we’ve all heard tales of fat flyers being forced to buy a second seat and not even getting the benefit of a second meal. But should fat people pay a surcharge to cover their excess fuel costs? One former Qantas economist says yes.

Picture by Tony Alter

Given that airlines already charge large amounts for excess baggage, the idea of charging people more based on their size isn’t entirely inconsistent. Former Qantas economist Tony Webber says the idea is simple enough to implement:

You’d have to work out the total weight of the baggage and the person and then have a critical weight, say 90 kilos or 100 kilos, above which you’d impose a surcharge.

Apart from the potential brand damage, one obvious issue with this approach is forcing the passengers to get weighed, which is tricky given that you can easily check into most flights without ever actually seeing a person. Do you think the idea has merit? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Fat flyers should pay more: former Qantas economist [ABC News]


  • I have had many uncomfortable flights because a larger person is sitting next me. Yes we’ve both the same amount for the flight but they will get more room because of there sheer size. However, airlines should relaise that those lady seats that they have in economy can barely fit and avaerage sized man!

    • Yeah, the fat person sitting next to you is lounging around enjoying all the extra space. No, they’re stuck in a seat too small for them, putting up with judgemental comments – and now the debate comes round to paying by weight, well if that’s the case then I’ll have a larger seat to go with my more expensive ticket please! Perhaps one that can actually fit my legs in properly. I’m personally fed up of Mr and Mrs Short and Skinny paying the same price for a ticket and getting loads of space to shift around in.

      • I’m all up for the pay more get a bigger seat thing… What makes you think I want to sit next to an overweight guy with all his fat spilling over the arm rest. Not to mention I lost my armrest… make the fat people pay more.. and move them to a bigger seat.. whatever i don’t care just don’t make me sit next to them.

      • Hi Chris, I wasn’t saying that the larger person was enjoying all the room, my main point was that airline seats are too small to begin with. The averages they use to make these seats are geared towards making the maximum amount of money not average person size.

      • Ain’t Mr & Mrs Short & Skinnys’ fault that you ain’t got space. Ain’t the airlines fault that you ain’t got space. Wonder whose fault it is?

  • I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t pass the anti-discrimination test.
    Obesity can have many causes outside of the control of the person and I would think it very difficult for an airline to start having to work out who was fat because they overate and who was fat because they had an underlying medical condition which qualified as a disability.
    Or will they go the whole hog and start charging paraplegics extra for their wheelchairs and blind people for their guidedogs?

    • I like Dave don’t see it happening due to concerns over discrimination.

      The way I see anything like this happening is to have larger seats offered for those whose obesity is a disability. Those who are overweight but not considered medically disabled would likely be offered a larger seat (if available), but I think any airline is going to have a difficult time dictating that certain passengers must pay more for larger seats.

      The only other way I can see the topic progressing, is charging tickets based off “walk on weight” like added below – but in the event of that happening, it won’t do anything to increase passenger comfort – all it means is that some unfortunately passengers will still be forced to squeeze in, while airlines walk away with more money in their pocket.

  • I don’t think there’s a problem with taking a person’s walk-on weight into account, just as they do now with baggage. However, it should not be based on how fat a person is: it should merely be their “walk-on weight” – i.e. their total weight including carry-on baggage etc.

    If you’re below a certain threshold upon boarding, you get a discount; in the midrange your fare doesn’t change; above a threshold you do pay extra. Very simple. It does make it cheaper to fly if you’re petite and travel light, but it’s not as though big and tall people don’t get inherent advantages just by being tall.

    • I agree! Walk-on-weight is a great idea. I’m a small guy, and far too often to I have to suffer because a ‘large’ person decides to liberate half of my seat… even at places like concerts, the cinema, or on the train. I have to deal with it if a tall person stands in front of me and I can’t see the concert that I paid $100 to go to, but I sure as hell am not giving up half of my seat to someone who weighs as much as a small car

    • The idea of a carry on weight would not work. Muscle is much denser and compact then fat. It has a higher mass. The problem with fat is that it adds girth and spill over. Measuring the weight of someone, when you factor in muscle and height, is not a reliable indicator of whether they are fat/obese.

      • I’d feel sorry for some rugby players being hit with extra charges due to the idiocy of some people. End of the matter is that it’s discriminatory. Next you’ll be wanting to charge people who have terrible BO for anotehr seat because no one wants to sit next to them


      • What do you mean it wouldn’t work? The issue in question was that a greater mass means more fuel needs to be used. Or are you one of those people that think a kilogram of feathers is lighter than a kilogram of lead?

    • I agree with your point about walk-on weight. Weighing customers with their bags cuts down on embarrassment and makes it a little fairer, I think. Perhaps larger passengers wouldn’t get as much luggage allowance?

      I’m overweight, but not ridiculously so and I have lost a lot. I think that at a certain point morbidly obese customers should have to pay extra. I’ve been on flights with normal-sized people that steal armrests too though.

      I also think that airline seats are ridiculously small and I would be happy paying a bit extra for a normal-sized (read: bigger than current size) carry-on only ticket.

  • Yes, or give people a total ticket weight of 100kgs. Then I can fly with 40kg’s of baggage and myself. Someone that is 80kgs can carry 20 kgs of baggage.

    I remember flying as an unattended minor years ago and having a large lass next to me spilling over into my seat, I got up and asked the flight attendant to move me, she said i was small and to just move to the other side of my seat. My seat was the same cost as hers, why right did she have to occupy it and why was I punished for being skinny?

  • I think taking total weight of customer+luggage makes sense.
    It costs the airlines more for fuel and such so adding a bit for every 10Kg from 100 sounds more than reasonable.

  • I OBJECT! You see, I exercise…a lot! So I tend to be in the region of 90kg to 95kg with little body fat. This doesn’t make me obese, but it doesn’t make me small either. Does that mean I’m also only allowed 5kg of luggage?

    • I’m in the same (ish) category, but the fact of the matter is that extra weight = extra fuel/cost, so it’s probably going to be the only way this would work. As pointed out earlier, you’re not going to be able to do it based on someone’s BMI..

  • Average 6’1 male…..100kg. I know half my friends who are not obese in anyway who are over this weight. Its discrimination and it will never pass. If you have a problem with the person sitting next to you, use your voice, ask them to pull there arms in. But a tax on anyone over 100kg thats outrageous.

    • Noone is paying for a seat on a plane! They’re paying to get from point A to point B.
      To do so involves burning fuel, and paying for the aircraft, staff, maintenance and general cost of business.
      Walk on weight is not discriminating, it’s pure mathematics…
      every Kg on the plane is an extra 10Kg of fuel (or whatever the amount is) required to burn to lift that weight. If your ticket accounts for 100Kg (or whatever) and you happen to weigh more than that before luggage, you’re costing the airline more to carry and therefore SHOULD be payng more.

      If anything, the current system of people paying the same price is discriminatory! Light travellers (luggage weight + body weight) are subsidising heavy travellers.

  • It’s a weird question for me. I’m 130kgs – I’m also quite tall, have lifted a lot of weights over the years and have a build that carries it pretty well. I’m beyond question fat – but it’s not any more uncomfortable to sit next to me on a plane than any other standard sized adult man. So if the economics are about other passengers comfort – fuck that noise. I know some short 90kg people who spread out a LOT more than I do. You need a tape measure somewhere to get a fair system, not scales.

    If the economics are about fuel costs per passenger, per flight – I’d want to see the surcharges indexed to fuel prices and discounts for people who come in under weight. If I’m getting burned for being a big guy, I want a discount on my my girlfriend’s tickets.

  • That is stupid, they don’t make any changes to the seats, nor do they make the seats bigger or have areas for larger people to sit in.
    So it changes nothing to the people, skinny people will still have to sit with fatter ones an vice verser.
    The only thing it does is give Qantas extra money, because they a money hungry people who don’t care about their customers and just want to be able to frolic in a pool of money.

    Also for the fuel cost excuse it is just stupid, how much extra would it cost a 100kg person compared to a 110kg person in terms of fuel?? Probably only like $1 different since most of the weight is the plane itself!!! Which has to fly anyway!!

    • If that’s the case, then why do they charge so much for excess baggage (QUANTAS 10kg per extra kilo domestic)?

      Surely the excess baggage prices wouldn’t be legal if this was the case.

  • …and while we’re at it, a levy on people who have heaps of cabin baggage!

    Oh! Also a levy on people who insist on using their 17″ laptops and infringing my space!

    While we’re at it, a tax on people who have strong body odour!

    How about a tax on parents with screaming kids?

    What about the drunk footballer?

    It’s a shared space. Learning to get along in a shared space is a social skill. One we could all stand to develop and exercise.

    In the process, what responsibility do airlines take in this debate? Seats get smaller and closer together in spite of the fact that there’s plenty of indications that we have a heavier population. Are they, therefore, ignoring reality in their pursuit of profits?

  • s/fat/heavy/g

    Heavy passengers should be charged more, as they make the plane use more fuel, and take up more room. Just like heavy baggage costs more, the same should apply.

    • Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Why make them pay more, when there’s no noticeable benefit for us, the passengers?

      When talking in-flight comfort, you pay higher rates for more room. Not higher rates just to get on the damned thing. It’s already apparent that the airlines still turn a profit with the current system.

      In saying that, I’m not here nor there. As a tiny guy, (I weigh 55kg on a GOOD day) I’m still paying the same amount as people three times my weight. I don’t like it, and sadly I don’t know what can be done to alleviate this issue.
      Perhaps next time they’ll allow me to spend the flight in the overhead cabins.

  • I’m tempted to buy another seat when I fly anyway, just to get some space between me and the other passengers. Though usually I just go business/first.

    Look, if transporting a larger person costs more and is happening so frequently that the cost can’t be absorbed, then sure, pass it on. But if we can reasonably absorb the cost (i.e. not operate the flight at a loss — a reduction in profit is okay, because you’re not losing something you didn’t have to start with) then I say the airlines should just absorb the cost.

    (Full disclosure: I’m fat.)

    • Just charge more or less depending on magnitude of deviation from a threshold (say 100kg) where 95-105 is standard fare and up or down from there. Makes costs far more reasonable. People should stop looking at it as buying a seat, but rather purchasing transport from A to B for the totality of the mass they intend to transport, with the price proportional to that mass.

      Much fairer system, whereas now light travellers subsidise fatties.

  • It could always be based on bmi. The 6’6″ fit person would pay the same as a 5’8″ fit person and the 5’10 fat person would pay a premium. I’m all for it.

  • This is BS. I will never fly an airline that starts pulling this type of money grabbing antics. If they want to charge over weight people extra then they better damn well give them better seats.

    It’s nothing but humiliation and all about the bottom dollar!

  • How is paying more going to help the person sitting next to them? They don’t get a discount, they still have to suffer. all a surcharge would do is give the airline more money.

  • Should be a charge by weight in total if they’re going to go down this path…
    110Kg/person is included in the ticket price, then you start to pay…
    If you weigh 60Kg, pack yourself 40Kg of Luggage, if you weigh 100Kg, cut your luggage to 10Kg (and make sure you visit the toilet before checking in! 🙂

  • So it’s okay for airlines to charge more for the seats over the emergency exits where the wings are because they have more leg space? I’m 6’5″ and I have to have my legs on an angle when sitting behind in a standard seat just so I can fit my knees in.

    All aircraft’s have a restriction on the amount of weight that they can carry and they have space they have for cargo/passengers. They already charge people for extra space in the cabin, why aren’t they charging for extra weight?

    • you’re not paying for extra space, you’re paying for a better seat BY CHOICE… this proposal doesn’t offer better seats or comfort for anyone, it merely forces some to pay more for zero benefit

  • The fuel argument is justified.
    If you were going to go down this line then charge people per Kg for everyone. (Possibly with a per seat flagfall)

    Setting an arbitrary cut off is discriminatory without any real justification.

    • charging per kg is disciminatory just by itself, though. I’m 95kg, but I’m also 201cm – I don’t take up any seat room but I’d be paying as much as an overweight guy of average height.

      The only way around that would be a ‘handicap’ option, where if you have a reason for your weight outside your control you get, say, 20kg free. (unusually tall, unable to exercise due to a physical issue, etc). It’d get very complex, very fast.

      I’d say it’s not workable, but they already use the exit row seats as a way to levy ‘tall person tax’. They’d find a way.

      • I didn’t see it as a punishment for unhealthy weight. Just that heavier people might well use more fuel. So if you can help that or not is irrelevant – you pay what you weigh.

        Having said that I’ve since read there are far too many other factors to make something like this justified.

  • A friend of my wife literally takes up 1.5 economy seats and simply has to pay for two tickets for his own comfort. He was not forced to, but chose to otherwise he doesn’t fit in the seat with the arm rest down.

  • From a fuel perspective … no, I don’t think people above a specific weight should pay more.

    From a girth perspective … they should have to pay enough to ensure the seat next to them is empty.

    Sitting in the seat next to someone who spills into your lap is deeply unpleasant – possibly for both parties.

    I acknowledge that enforcing such a rule would be hard.

    • I agree. For passenger comfort, girth should be taken into account.
      If I pay for a seat on a plane, I want the whole seat. The seat’s are small enough as it is.

  • Pro charging heavy people more. Also pro charging people who don’t fit in the one seat a surcharge to fit them into a second seat. (They shouldn’t have to pay for the second seat if they have a medical cause of their obesity, ie: their action or inaction is not the cause of nor would have an effect on their obesity. The reason “I eat too much McDonalds” obviously isn’t good enough.) Otherwise they can just pay for their own weight, which makes sense for the fuel reasons. (One hilarious comment on Herald Sun website claimed that since people are super light compared to the aircraft itself, this shouldn’t be a consideration.)

    I’m also in favour of reserving exit-row seats for those taller than 180cm, and bumping our taller brethren and sistren up to Premium Economy or Business gratis when seats are available.

    Disclosure: I’m a 175cm, 80kg female who lugs around a 20kg suitcase and tucks her goddamn elbows in on economy flights.

  • My wife and I own a gym, we deal with obese individuals all the time, we deal with them in a one on one environment to help them reach their goals and discuss their weight issues.

    The sad fact is that the vast majority of obesity is because of laziness and self indulgence. On a deep down level, most fat people do not care enough about being fat to change it, in fact it seems that these days it is almost criminal to suggest to someone that they are killing themselves with their lifestyle habits.

    Most obese people are just like everyone else, there is not enough motivation to actually cause a change in their life. All of us suffer from this lack of motivation to actually make the tough choices, what does usually motivate us in the western world though is our wallet.

    If our society started placing financial penalties on obesity, I can guarantee that we would have the biggest weight loss in the history of the planet. So in some ways this suggestion of Qantas may have a chance of making a difference. Of course democracy and free markets dictate that the average consumer will just switch airlines and well…. keep consuming.

    You may call me insensitive if you want, but I deal with hundreds of obese people a week all claiming to want to lose weight, but when we spend time with the client they are just unwilling to make the lifestyle changes long term in order to make the weight loss a reality.

    • James

      I agree 100%. Time and Motivation are the key to it. When I finally had time to spare and my motivations increased after the youngest child hit 2 i dropped 20kg in 3 months.

      I’m 6 foot 3 and 90Kg perfect body to weight ratio. Have no problems paying for bigger seat

      But on the same token want a discount for my wife 55kg and kids times 4 who wouldnt weigh much more than 20kg to 30kg each.

      Put me on the scales or measure my width (DONT CARE) insist I buy Business class or can only effect my own family members

      I hate sitting next to Big person slopping over on me. BUT then again I’m a big mouth and would have no problems of telling someone to stop leaning on me.

    • (Different James here)

      Well said.
      I doubt I would have been so diplomatic in writing that comment. As a short, thin person, I would love to see the advent of discounts for those of us that do not take up such space on aircraft and whatnot. However, I’d also like to see companies accepting some form of a weight-distribution policy as well. By this I mean that if -like SkinHead here- you weigh 90kg, and your partner/flying companion weighs significantly LESS, the collective weight be distributed between the two seats, at no extra cost to either party.
      I understand that from a business perspective, this is going to cut into potential profits. As a consumer though, I think this is a wonderful idea.
      Hell, the social “fly-with-a-friend” factor may indeed offset those potential losses actually.

      This will likely not be feasible on smaller aircraft however, wherein the passengers and cargo must be more delicately balanced.

  • Completely agree with you James, no one else said it better. I’m not trying to sound insensitive or come off as ‘shocking’ but I see no reason to sympathize for anyone who knowingly got themselves in that position whilst being aware of what they were doing and allowing it to happen. Inevitably it’s always a case of depression (which I believe is a serious issue) or something or other which forced them to indulge constantly for years.. wake up.

  • Critical weight test is fair. If I weight 60kg and I’m only permitted to bring 23kg of luggage my net weight is 83kg on the plane.

    If some obese person weights 130kg (before baggage) how is it fair that I should have to pay extra money to bring on another 2kg of weight in my bag when they could just eat all their clothes and not worry about it?

  • I have sat next to skinny people who are just uncomfortable to sit next to as fat people – They think they own the seat and all the space around them… lets just say that doesn’t last long.

    It is amazing though when you get on a plane and the person next to you is just as considerate as you are!

  • The last time I flew, a very large woman was seated in the row in front of me. She was definitely spilling over into the seat beside her, so the flight attendants came and asked her to lower her armrest. She couldn’t, so they moved her to a different seat which had an empty seat beside it. I checked the fine print on the website later, and sure enough, ‘passengers who are unable to fit in a standard sized economy seat with both armrests lowered may be asked to purchase a second ticket’. If the flight had been full, she probably would have been bumped.

    I am sure that once a very overweight person has had this experience a few times, they would choose to avoid the inconvenience and embarrassment in the future by purchasing two tickets or business-class tickets for the larger seat. I don’t think that requiring heavy people to pay more for the same seat will really achieve anything – yes, it might be more fair when talking about average-sized people paying for themselves and their luggage as a total walk-on weight, but the issue becomes too complicated when you must take into account people who are obese for medical reasons, who are heavy because they are tall or muscular, etc.

    I can’t think of any way that really obese people could be required to purchase multiple/different tickets just for the comfort of other passengers. I have been seated next to very fat people on flights and yes, it’s uncomfortable, but I would prefer sitting beside a fat passenger to someone who is smelly, snores loudly, has a crying infant, or vomits during the flight… there are a lot of ways that a passenger can make somebody else’s flight unpleasant, and not all of them can be prevented or fixed by making people pay more.

    If it was up to me, I’d just add an additional class to the cabin, priced in between economy class and business class, with the same level of service/meals/fare flexibility as economy class but with larger seats. Larger seats are more comfortable for any passenger, regardless of their weight, and this would be a nice option I’m sure that people who know they struggle to fit into standard economy seats (for whatever reason) would be sensible and considerate enough to purchase a larger seat.

  • As usual the fat people cry discrimination, however they don’t understand how uncomfortable it is to sit next to them on a long flight. I sat next to one on a flight to Paris recently and it was unbearable. I understand when it’s a medical condition, however the majority of people overeat and don’t exercise.

  • 22 hour flight next to a really obese man who fell asleep, snored, and took up half my seat and i say hell yes, hurry up and make it law, or put them all together so their fatness can annoy each other and it might make them wanna lose weight.

  • Before you board, there’s already that little wireframe box and scales you’re supposed to (but no-one ever does) put your carry-on into to test it meets the guidelines.
    How about a standard-sized seat which you have to sit in without hanging over the sides?
    All this talk of BMIs and fuel calculations seems a bit off the topic – if the aurlines are worried about fuel cost, then they have to charge by weight; if it’s an issue of comfort, then get yer bum into the fake seat at checkin and if you bulge over the edges then be prepared to pay extra.

  • As a tall person, I’m already forced to pay for exit row seating now (if I can even get it – I’m thoroughly miffed by regular sized people taking the exit-row because they want to feel special), and I think it sucks. That said, I’m pro charging heavy people extra to cover additional fuel, and discomfort caused to others, unless they have a diagnosed medical condition excusing their size.

  • all forms of transport should charge extra for fat people
    or at least stick them all together, so they realise their inconvenience of others

    why should i have to be uncomfortable at the expense of an overweight person

  • Interesting article, i doubt it’ll ever happen, but it should. Essentially its a postage service, and weather you’re made of fat, muscle, lead or bricks. you have a weight, and should pay like you are sending a parcel.

    I know if an airline did impose this, it would not go bankrupt. and it’d soon become a status thing. “look at me flying with XYZ airline knowing they charge per kg”. ultimately those larger people knowing they’d get slugged the fees would move to airlines that dont charge.

    It would be a -very- interesting social experiment. and would open a precedent for “fat fees’ in other areas of life. None-the-less, im all for it!

  • What do you all think we will get from this? This is a fuel surcharge. Tickets will still cost the same amount of money and large people will still be allowed to fly and you will still at some point you will sit next to someone who will invade the very limited personal space you have been given.

    Secondly, how arrogant do you have to be to think that a fat person is sitting next to you on purpose? Like they eyed you out at checkin and thought to themselves “I’m gonna sit next to that skinny jerk and ruin their flight… Vengeance will be MINE!!!”

  • I can’t believe anyone is actually supporting this. This isn’t going to make your flight any more comfortable — they’re not going to force fat people to buy a second seat, nor are they going to make larger seats. This also isn’t going to save you any money — they’re not giving you a discount for being thin, they’re charging fat people more for being heavier. If you think they’re going to pass the savings onto you, you’re deluding yourself.

    No one but the airlines is gaining anything here — why is anyone supporting it?

    • Nah, I’m totally fine with that. If I’m going to have to put up with some fatty taking up my seat I want them to be as inconvenienced as possible, I don’t care who benefits from taking their money, as long as it’s taken from them.

  • Do people who weigh less get discounts?

    Why do companies add surcharges? Give discounts for those who do the opposite – you’d get a better image from your customers.

    Do you get a $2 surcharge for getting paper bills? Why not give people who receive electronic bills $2 off their bill – pass the savings back onto the customers, instead of scumming more money out of them.

  • These flying cattle trucks are bad enough already. I fly countless times a year. The seats get smaller on almost a monthly basis, the staff get meaner and the perks for frequent flying are now nothing more than a forced smile. If I had to “weigh in” for each flight I’d be adding hours a week to my travel. Terrible idea, will never happen. It’s flat out descriminiation. I would boycott any airline that introduced this and I am very sure most other real travelers would do too. What’s next charging someone who’s 1kg over some nonsense level more tax for damaging the sidewalk with their extra weight? Pathetic. The rule is simple. If you can’t sit in your seat then you can’t fly.

  • I am skinny …only 60 kg,, and when I check in my baggage just extra 5 kg they charge me n how about fat woman weight 250 kg ,,? The must charge that 190 !!!

  • Bodyweight and baggage weight are not equivalent.
    Pilots have a nickname for passengers: Self loading cargo. A 50kg person with 50kg baggage is way more work for an airline than a 100kg person with no baggage.
    Allowances and charges for baggage have been about discouraging idiots from bringing 130kg for themselves (don’t laugh, I’ve seen it).
    If RyanAir or EasyJet have never done it then it’s probably not going to happen here any time soon.
    But yes, they should be charged, but at a very very high free allowance like 120kg then $/kg thereafter. And no charge if they have no checked baggage.

  • How about a combined weight of passenger + Luggage? You and your bag need to be less than 150kg(example) or an excess baggage fee is applicable.

    I often feel hard done by if I have to pay for 5KG of excess baggage when the next passenger has 30KG of excess beer belly.

  • The source article discusses changes in average weight over time. Could we get some stats on seating plans/size changes over time?

    I’m not really that tall (about 185cm) but am kind of lanky and in some airplanes, I can barely get my knees in front of me. Wonder if a lot of this could be solved by having different seating plans on the planes?

    I’m ok paying a bit more for that.

  • While we are at it I Propose we perform iq tests on every one that votes and anyone that doesn’t meet some pre determined value should have there vote count as half as a smart persons and be charged a fee for making a uninformed decision when voting.

    There is massive probs with this weight idea, some ppl are just built differently. imagine having a plane load of Islanders, Every one of them would be over 100kg and you wouldn’t call them all obese.

    Disclaimer I’m 185 cm and 120kg and the funny thing is I’m prob fitter then most ppl.

  • I hate the whole “stop discriminating against fat people” argument. Im being discriminated because Im not fat.
    I have to pay the same for a ticket, but only take up one seat (and less fuel for my weight).
    My clothes cost the same but use half the fabric.
    I pay the same medicare levi but dont strain the medical system with my unhealthy lifestyle.

    “Dont discriminate against me because Im fat” is bullshit! Its just an excuse for fat people to not lose weight and pass the blame onto society.

    • What a load of crap! I exercise for at least half an hour a day. I eat healthier than most people I know and have always had a weight problem. I’m sick of this rubbish that I am lazy. I have flown a lot of times over the years and have NEVER felt like I have taken up anyone else’s space.

      I can’t believe the way the majority are talking on here. It’s depressing to hear how elitist you all are!

      • Guess what? If you eat less calories than you burn, you will lose fat.

        It’s a fact, bro. If you did the above, you wouldn’t have a weight problem.

        Inb4 ‘it’s a glandular thing’. Is it really? 99% of fat people claim this, 1% are telling the truth

    • ^ Agree.

      You clearly need to have surgery to remove the stick from your arse warcroft.
      I’m over 100kg yet I don’t take up any more of my seat than my 50kg girlfriend, so for you to insist that I pay more just to line the pockets of the airline is absolutely ludicrous.

      I get discriminated against because of my high income, I get taxed more for the less fortunate idiots who can’t get a real job.
      My higher rate of tax gives more money to the incompetent government to pay for the dole-bludging idiots in housing commission down in woolloomooloo.
      I have to pay a higher percentage of tax than most people simply because I went to uni and was successful in climbing the corporate ladder.

      You see how fickle it is to play the “oh poor me” card.

  • I am a 6 foot 5 man who weighs approximately 140kg. Most of that weight is in my height and broad shoulders and chest. I have no issue with width of seats and as such would not benefit from having no one next to me, nor would the person benefit from me having a more expensive ticket.
    My major issue is that my legs do not fit in the seat. I have to ask for the seat near the door or buy a more expensive ticket. Not only that, seat belts are about 2cm too short, so I have to constantly ask for a seatbelt extender. In case no one here has had to ask fo a seatbelt extender before let me fill you in on how it works. You have to ask a steward/stewardess for a seatbelt extender, they look at you disapprovingly, they give a fake smile and say “sure, no worries” in a tone which I am sure they normally reserve for the mentally deficient, then they forget to get it for you. In the final throws of moving to the runway they will sometimes remember you and bring it to you, other times you have to ask again. Once they give it to you your whole seatbelt needs to be adjusted, tightening the old one and adding the extender. This whole time people around you are staring and judging.
    Now as you highly sensitive and aware people already know, there is a direct correlation between high weight and depression and anxiety. My partner is the perfect example of this. She is a larger woman, but also tall for her gender. She suffers from depression and anxiety, and has in the past been hospitalised for anxiety induced psychosis. She cannot travel alone because the anxiety of asking for a seatbelt extender would likely hospitalise her again. To weigh her every time she gets on a flight would literelly send her to the crazy ward. She would not fly, she would not travel. When her family needs someone to take care of the grand child, she would not be able to help. Even with me traveling.
    So before you think “that person costs more, they should pay more”, remember that the things which make Australia one of the top countries in the world are the fair, equitable, non-discrimanatory and non-judgemental things like Centrelink, Medicare, Pensioner cards, Housing commission and other government initiatives. Companies cannot refuse to employ you because you have a heart condition or long term injury, nor can they firee you because one develops.
    Remember, if you are charging by weight people in motorised wheelchairs will be paying for 3 tickets.

    • As long you’re not spilling out into my seating area you’re alright in my books Rhysy boy!

      I don’t have a problem with other passengers weight, it’s body shape that is the issue. Tall guys such as yourself will be cramped in normal seats but that’s not going to cause discomfort to the passenger next to you. A fat guy that’s consuming all of his seat and half of the one next to him is a real problem.

  • The stupidity of commenters here baffles me.

    Some people clearly haven’t read the article where it states that charging by weight is merely about the cost incurred by the airline and has nothing to do with the comfort of other passengers.

  • If you go over 100kg’s, then most tall men or muscular people will be far over. If you look at it as a healthy weight from a BMI perspective then you are wrong because it’s an outdated scale. It’s a rubbish idea all round. I’m 6’5 and carrying a bit of extra weight but I still fit into normal pants. Maybe there is a circumference of the girth argument but it will take one person to feel their rights are being inpinged on and they will sue and the argument will be all over

  • For something like this to work they would have to come up with a rule that is as simple and as clear as possible. Defining who is ‘fat’ is inherently difficult and open to being exploited. basing the decision off weight would be the simplest rule regarding paying more for the fuel, but doesn’t do anything to solve large people taking up more room.
    I don’t see anyway you could solve the space issue without some embarrassing process of measuring how ‘large’ someone is.

    There is an extra cost to deal with, if it’s shared evenly everyone complains there are no cheap flights, if it’s added just to those effected it’s ‘not fair’ and discriminatory.

    There is no winning this debate.

  • If a person cannot fit in their allocated seat without infringing on the seating zone of the adjacent passenger then the obese passenger should be forced to buy TWO seats!

    Forcing an obese passenger to pay a surcharge doesn’t help the poor person that is seated next to the obese passenger.

    If a fat person has a pay a surcharge, the surcharge payment should be paid to adjacent passengers, not simply kept by the airline.

  • From a fuel perspective, I don’t believe being obese makes a difference. A jumbo jet weighs ~450 tonnes, and carries circa 450 passengers (via Wikipedia). So each passenger’s share of the plane is at least 1 tonne. 40 kilos more makes no effective difference to the amount of fuel required to fly the passenger (baggage limits are to stop everyone loading up, and for handling and space, not for fuel).

    It is, however a serious comfort and safety issue (in the event of evacuation).

    As far as medical obesity goes (which I believe is extremely rare), disabled folk get an ACROD card to use special parking bays, so medically obese people could have a exemption card as well. Otherwise, if your ar$e is wider than the seat, please get a second seat.

  • Why don’t we just put the jews up the back in a concentration camp with the blacks and the women can all cook and iron and gays can ride on the wings IF they’re lucky though what would Jesus do and for God’s sake is anyone thinking about the children!?!

  • If someone requires the space of two seats to sit, then they should have to pay for both seats.

    I’m a heavy bloke (but not fat), and I since I fit easily in the regular seats without infringing on the neighbouring space, I’ll be damned if I’m paying more for no benefit.

  • Yes I think they should. It’s a pain to sit next to someone, whether a plane or bus or train who’s obese and takes up the whole space which makes you feel like a mouse. Either upgrade us to business class or shove fatties at the back of the plane.

    • I agree with giving larger people an area of proportionate seating at an extra cost. But not simply imposing a fat-fine and then STILL having them shoved into a seat next to us smaller people anyway.
      I fear that is what Quantas and the rest will do, just to make some extra money, because larger seating eats up space and that costs money.

  • I don’t think it’s a good idea at all. Initially my reaction was that it makes sense, but reading the comments I realise that it doesn’t, not at all.
    Unless the surcharge gives the fat person a larger seat then all it does is punish them. It’s basically a fat-fine, and since that results in no benefit to anybody but the airline’s bottom line, it’s stupid.

    I’m a small, skinny guy and even I find economy seats restrictive, I can’t imagine the torture a fat, or even just a large size person has to go through.

  • Wow, what an emotion-laden issue. Plenty of sensitivity in the girth-challenged.

    The problem is the double-standard. Charging extra per kilo for excess baggage but ignoring the weight of the passenger is inconsistent. I feel sorry for the 50 kg woman getting charged for a few kilos over her 20 kg baggage allowance while the 130 kg bloke just waddles right on without a care. But the problem is there has to be some cut-off for luggage because it’s optional. If ther was no excess baggage some people would take 15 bags do 20 kg each. So getting rid of excess baggage doesn’t work. The only really fair option is total weight (person + baggage). This is especially the case for light airplane and helicopter flights. If you’re fat you just should have to pay the extra – same as if you like to pack your brick collection when you go on holidays.

  • Everyone is trying to use a system that relies on a non-constant (people’s weight and height).

    The solution lies in the seats and seating arrangement.

    We have the technology.

  • People could be made to pass though a “box” just we we do for carry on bags. If you can’t fit through the box then you have to go as checked luggage 😉 or in the case of a person pay a surcharge to purchase a larger seat.

    Slippery slope though this. I can see it as a way for giving us all smaller seate and then getting extra funds from those who don’t meet some arbirtary threshold. We are all thinknig this only applies to 0.001% of the population. What ifthey set the threshold at 10% or 30% ofthe population?

  • The fuel issue is a compound argument.
    * The plane has to carry enough fuel to get it safely to its destination.
    *That amount of fuel is calculated on the laden weight of the aircraft.
    *If the aircraft is overweight, then they have to carry more fuel.
    * Because they have to carry more fuel, the plane is even more overweight.
    *As a result, they have to carry even more fuel to cover the extra weight of the extra fuel.
    That is why, with increased fuel prices and reduced margins, airlines are becoming more sensitive to the whole excess weight problem.

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