Norwegian economics professor jumps on the scale … endorses “pay what you weigh”

Over the weekend, a  friend got squeezed on a flight from BWI to LAX.

Not “bumped” … “squeezed” … by a plump plus-sizer overflowing the adjacent seat.

My trim, yoga-inclined friend suggested that I reprise my posts about airlines’ pricing … hoping that the airlines would get the message this time around.

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It started awhile back when I posted  Why don’t airlines charge more for these bags?

Specifically, I suggested that airlines charge passengers by weight: a base ticket price for the first 175 pounds and then $75 for each 50 pounds (or portion thereof) over the limit.

I  thought I was on safe ground since a  survey done for the travel website Skyscanner reported that 76% of travelers said airlines should charge overweight passengers more if they didn’t fit in a seat.

But, the idea went over like a lead-butted balloon.

Turns out that, as usual,  we were just a bit ahead of the times.

Later, we reported that Samoa Air became the first airline to start charging by the pound.

For details, see Samoa Air: Pricing by weight is the ‘concept of the future’

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Now, even politically correcct academicians are hopping on the scale.  A Norwegian economist has suggested — in a prestigious academic journal —  a “pay what you weigh” pricing plan that “would bring health, financial and environmental dividends.”

Here’s the skinny on his program …

According to Reuters

Bharat Bhatta, an associate professor at Sogn og Fjordane University College, wrote  in the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management that airlines should follow other transport sectors and charge by space and weight.

Bhatta put together three models for what he called “pay what weigh airline pricing.”

The first would charge passengers according to how much they and their baggage weighed.

It would set a rate for pounds (kg) per passenger so that someone weighing 130 pounds (59 kg) would pay half the fare of 260-pound (118-kg) person.

A second model would use a fixed base rate, with an extra charge for heavier passengers to cover the extra costs.

His preferred option was charging abase “average passenger weight fare” and offering a discount or applying an extra charge  if a passenger is above or below a certain limit.

That would lead to three kinds of fares – high, average and low weight,

Airlines have grappled for years with how to deal with larger passengers.

United Air Lines requires passengers who cannot fit comfortably into a single seat to buy another one.

Let’s see if this dude gets banged around like I did.

Maybe I should have submitted my idea to the prestigious Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management …

Hmmm.

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Thanks to M-E for nudging the reprise.

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