According to the Star Tribute, “Super-size passengers beware: Airlines have you in their sights”, if you are overweight, your next airline ticket might be twice the price of a skinny person.
Soaring fuel costs are helping send airlines into bankruptcy. But there’s another little-known reason for airlines’ financial problems: soaring sizes of passengers.
Overweight passengers are costing the airlines millions in added fuel costs, according to a report published last fall in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Portly passengers should take notice. Your costs, too, might rise. If you can’t fit between the armrests, you might be buying an extra seat. Southwest Airlines has had the armrest rule for 24 years, but has enforced it only recently. US Airways, Northwest and America West airlines can require overweight passengers to pay for two seats, but very rarely do.
How much does the extra-large passenger pay on Southwest? If the customer is holding an advance purchase, discounted fare, the second seat will be sold at the same discounted fare. If the customer has an unrestricted full fare, the second seat will be sold at a child’s fare.
If an extension on your seatbelt works and you can squeeze into the 17-inch space with the armrests down, you’ll probably be OK. But even if you can’t fit, there’s a chance you’ll get your money back: If the plane isn’t full, Southwest offers a refund for the second seat after the passenger arrives at the destination.
The article sites a poll conducted by Airlines.ws which states that “55 percent of respondents said heavyweights should pay more for airline tickets.” According to the story, Southwest Airlines says that they want to enforce the issue of overweight passengers not just because of fuel costs, even though everything and everyone on the plane plays a role in consuming fuel, but because of the increase in customer complaints about oversized passengers.
Do you think overweight airline travelers should pay more for their seat (and their weight)? Having sat next to people on the airplane who spilled over the seat arm into “my space”, and having been one of those who fought with short airline seat belts, how do you feel about this issue?