Majority Would Support 'Pay as you Weigh' Flight Tickets

Posted by Sue Anderson, 15th Apr 2013

You might have seen quite recently in the news that there was a call for airlines to charge fares based on how heavy or light a passenger was. This 'pay as you weigh' concept has even been introduced now by the Pacific national airline Samoa Air and other airlines around the world will probably follow suit. How do you feel about the idea of your flight cost reflecting your weight?

Well, here at, we really wanted to find out if this was an idea that was largely supported by the masses, or frowned upon by most. We polled 2,472 Britons who had travelled abroad, by plane, in the last year and we asked them all about what they thought about 'pay as you weigh' flight tickets.

When we told the people taking part about the concept of 'pay as you weigh' flight charges and asked if they'd be in support of heavier people ultimately paying more, 63% said it was a good idea. 29% didn't agree with the concept and 8% were undecided.

A fifth of those in agreement with 'pay as you weigh' were overweight

What was really interesting about this particular poll was that, when we asked people what weight bracket they personally fell in to, such as 'correct weight', 'underweight' or 'overweight', 21% of those in agreement with 'pay as you weigh' flight tickets classed themselves as on the heavy side.

However, 72% of the people that disagreed with the idea of 'pay as you weigh' flight tickets classed themselves as overweight too; perhaps explaining why they'd oppose the idea!

'Priced per kilogram' most supported method of 'pay as you weigh'

Since there were different methods being proposed for this whole 'pay as you weigh' scheme, we wanted to find out which people liked the idea of the most. We asked those in support of 'pay as you weigh' tickets to pick which method they thought would be best to employ for airlines to get back the fuel costs involved in carrying heavier passengers. The results were:

Priced per kilogram (passenger and luggage) - 47%

Fixed low fair, but heavier passengers pay surcharge - 23%

Passengers split into light/average/heavy bands and charged more/less accordingly - 20%

Almost a tenth of respondents, 9%, said they were worried that charging less for lighter passengers on flights might 'irresponsibly promote weight loss.' We'd hope people wouldn't be that silly!

We're not sure what will happen in future in terms of changes to the way airlines charge for flight fares. However, now that one airline has introduced the scheme, it's likely others will follow suit. Perhaps there'll soon be an extra reason for that pre-holiday diet, rather than just to look good when you get to your destination!
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