I worked as ground crew for one airline when I was in college. We flew 32 passenger prop planes and weight and balance was always an issue for us. The baggage has a weight limit due to how much weight the aircraft can safely carry plus passenger and fuel weight. But this is what shocked me the most....
They calculated passenger weight based on 150lbs per person. Kids are 100lbs...
So no matter your "size" it would all equal out in the end, due to some people being below 150 and others being above, and children being 100pds??? I was not 100pds until I was a sophmore in High School...you can't tell me the average 8 year old is 100pds now!
As for buying two seats. As a former flight attendant on a different airline, I do agree with this one. Some people just simply take up two seats. It is unfair to ask the person who is supposed to be sitting in the seat next to you to sit crammed between you and the wall for 3+ hours. It would be more comfortable for the both of you to have the two seats to yourself as well as safer. In an emergency that passenger cannot be stuck against the wall with no where to go. I am also against passengers who take up two seats to sit in the exit row, on smaller airplanes (no offense just being realistic) these passengers cannot fit through the emergency exit, they are TINY.
Every pound is critical to the airlines and I am willing to pay for my carcus to be carried but I'm not going to subsidise others, that is up to them to pay for!
On the face of it, charging by the pound for an airline seat makes good sense. Your body weight, the weight of your luggage and carry-ons, all would figure in the equation and then you would pay a rate per pound. Very fair ... especially for families with small children who are now forced to buy a regular seat for each child.
But the problem is that even if that child has the tinest hinne, she still takes up a seat. The airline has to be compensated for that. So, that's why they have to charge by the seat ... and if someone is very large, to the point that they are spilling out into the space of their seatmate, then and only then should they be charged for a second seat.
The only solution to this that I can come up with is to change the overall seat configurations on the airplanes. Instead of having individual seats, have bench-type seating with plenty of seatbelts so that the maximum number of people possible to be on that bench seat would have a belt. Don't sell seats in advance. Your order for boarding is determined by the order in which you checked in. The folks in the last group may or may not get on that flight.
Then, have a "loader" in the cabin ... just like they do on skydiving aircraft. The loader tells you where to sit and makes sure everyone is seated and belted in. The loader will fill the bench seats ... maybe one row will only have two people in it because they are both very, very large. That large person, though, paid a heck of a lot more for his ticket than that child in the seat in front of him. In that seat there are five people -- three children plus a smallish sized mom and dad. They actually paid less for their five tickets than the two larger people behind them paid.
When all the seats are filled, the doors are closed and the plane takes off. Anyone else who did not get a seat, perhaps because there were a lot of larger passengers on that flight, will move to the front of the loading line for the next flight.
Same logic goes for luggage. If I am only carrying an overnight bag with no checked luggage, and you are carrying four suitcases, doesn't logic dictate that you should pay a higher fare than me? When passengers' are weighed and charged, their luggage AND carry-ons are weighed too, and figured into the total charge they will pay for their ticket.
But as for charging by passenger weight, bench seating is the only way I can see that it could work. As long as everyone needs to have their own individual seat, with no way to share seats, the airlines have no choice but to charge people for those seats. Doesn't matter if you weigh 200 pounds or 40 ... you are still taking up that one seat, so you should have to pay for it.
Good call, never mind the children how many adults can fit into the bracket of 150lbs in todays fat society?
Get them on the scales and not my luggage
Think about it from the point of view of those parents, though. Even if the child is only two, and weighs maybe all of 30 or 40 pounds, that parent has to buy the child her own seat. What if the parent is traveling with three children, the largest of which may only weigh 70 pounds. That parent should have a way to reduce the cost of those children's tickets. As things stand today, she can't. I had a friend who wanted to fly to Florida with her two young children. They were both very small. She couldn't understand why she had to buy a seat for each child when they could easily both fit into one seat. But the airline told her that was illegal. Each child had to have their own seat.
Also, when I see some of the stuff people carry on with them, and even the mounds of luggage they sometimes check, I wonder why I am paying the same amount for my one bag that they are paying for six. Of course, I am told that while they have six pieces of luggage they also have a child with them, and two pieces per person is allowed ... even the child whose seat on the plane they paid for.
I agree that charging by the pound would be the most fair way to do things. This way you pay for the capacity you take up and not by the number of people who may be flying. It could very well work out that the couple who are larger and bringing four pieces of checked luggage, as well as some very generous sized carry-ons onboard with them, will pay more for their two seats than that mom and dad ahead of them in the line who are traveling with four kids and only two large pieces of luggage.
That was a test marketing experiment to see how influential online advertising could be. My company (Philadelphia Media Holdings) was involved in the test. The airline does not exist. But, on the other hand, maybe it should.
Just flew UAL back from Seattle, Alaksa cruise, any bag that is over the 50 pound limit, they will charge $125 for, talk about highway robbery? We had 2 bags, one was 51 pounds and the other just under 49, so we did a little transfer of items to both equal just under the 50 pounds, sure worth saving $125.. They did have a scale right there for you to use.. I still have to modify my packing methods for sure.
I wrote this editorial in July in response to the airline baggage fees. Sorry it is long. Those of you with ADD should skip to the bottom half.
Unless you are living under a rock, you all know by now about the "fuel crisis" and how it is affecting travel. A surcharge here, a surcharge there, everywhere a surcharge, oh and don't forget the fees. Every time you turn around it seems there is a new charge or fee for things that always use to be free. In this latest round of sur-feeing, American Airlines decided to start charging passengers for the 1st checked bag. Outraged passengers by the 1000's or maybe just 10's will take their business elsewhere. Did you honestly think the other airlines wouldn't copy that clever move? You already pay $20 to talk to a real person, $10 to pick a preferred seat in advance, $3 for curbside check-in and, $100 to bring a pet or send a kid alone (both well worth the money if you ask me). Let's not forget the $100 to change your reservation, $50 if you now want that reservation on paper and an additional $75 for the opportunity to use your frequent flier miles for a free ticket. So you're telling me this bag charge comes as a big shock?
Wake up boys and girls, this is not some evil plan hatched by airline executives in New York as a last ditch revenue boost. No, this is the evil genius of some executives in London who thought of it ten years ago. If you have ever had the pleasure of flying one of the European low fare carriers, you are probably wondering what all our *****ing is about. For years these start up airlines have offered up cheap flights on grubby planes with *****y staff. Not only do you pay for each checked bag, they weigh them AND your carry on. Trust me when I say Southern Hospitality does not translate across the pond, too heavy, too bad. Flight attendants are really just salespeople who bombard the passengers with a gazillion ways to separate you from your money while on the flight. No free drinks or peanuts here. You are welcome to purchase them along with a myriad of other items you might need such as lottery tickets, duty free items, barf bags, seat cushions, life vests, oxygen masks, you know, just in case. As far as I know they have not yet begun to charge for the restrooms on the planes, only on the ground. In fact free public restrooms are strictly an American thing. The airlines are pushing the EU to allow gambling on flights so don't be surprised to see mini slot machines in your seat back.
These new fees bring to light the American feeling of entitlement. WE as a culture think that WE should not have to pay for things that WE feel are rightfully ours. We all want healthcare, but no one thinks they should have to pay for it. We all like big gas guzzling cars but then cry when we see the figures at the pump. We all want to pack as much crap as we can in a set of big heavy luggage and then haul it around the country for free. I'm not insinuating that I am happy about having to pay extra for a bag, but let's look at this in a different perspective. Why should a business traveler with a laptop and no luggage be charged the same as a passenger with 3 suitcases, 2 carryon's a stroller and a lap child to boot? Add to this the likelihood that the businessman paid a higher fare than the vacationer. Anyone in the shipping business knows that freight goes by weight. If I am taking up more space on the plane and adding more weight, then I should pay more than someone who isn't.
This concept brings up a touchy subject, which I of course plan to grab hold of. Southwest Airlines, often cited for its politically incorrect behavior was the first airline to stand up and use common sense. They decided that since you can't please all the people all of the time, "how about we just try to please most of them and the hell with the rest." They have no problem kicking you off a plane if you're drunk, have really bad body odor or are dressed like a hooker. Sure a few feathers get ruffled, but how many smelly drunk hookers are smart enough to sue them. Ok there are a few, but what are the grounds? You do not have the RIGHT to fly on their airline, it is a privilege. They were also the first airline to require calorically challenged passengers to purchase an additional seat. Let me get a collective hoorah on that one. If you are too big to fit in the seat without having to raise the armrest or get a seatbelt extender then, guess what? In the immortal words of an Easy Jet check-in girl "too heavy, too bad." Please also refer to my freight by weight comment. Not only are these people causing extreme discomfort to those seated next to them, they also require more fuel to lift them off the ground. Before any of you try to use the "D" word, please remember that personal hygiene, wardrobe selection and eating and drinking habits are lifestyle choices, NOT inherited characteristics.
The airline industry does need to make some drastic moves to offset its rising fuel costs. Adding fees for extras is not necessarily the end of the world. The problem is that they go about it all wrong. Just what do you think the flying public is going to do now that they have to fork over money for a bag? I think it is safe to say that overhead bin space is going to become a hot commodity. Time at the security lanes will triple with all the extra bags and contraband confiscation. But don't worry; you won't miss your flight. It will be delayed by the drunken guy trying to shove his keg in the overhead and the fat guy trying to shove his 40 inch patootie into an 18 inch seat.
In an effort to help the airlines, I have a few suggestions for new surcharges and fees to help them out of their nosedive into solvency.
$15 fee to use the overhead compartment and $10 fee to put your items under the seat. No fee if you can manage to get them under your neighbor's seat without them noticing.
$10 to be seated next to someone height/weight proportionate. $15 to sit next to a mute and $25 to sit next to someone attractive.
$5 fine for each time your child kicks the seat of the person in front of them. $15 for crying infants and $100 for temper tantrums.
$20 fee for snoring and $50 for waking up your aisle seatmate in order for you to get up. This fee will be waived in an emergency situation.
$5 fee to purchase your mandatory copy of the boring in-flight magazine. $20 fine for not ordering from the sky mall while in flight.
$2 fee for headphones which you are of course free to take with you for use on future flights. $10 fee to exchange headphones for ones that actually work.
$4.99 for a beer or glass of wine. $5 fee for not having exact change.
$3 for the emergency evacuation brochure, $5 for the audio version of the safety instruction drill and $100 to use the emergency exit door. Airline reserves the right to waive or not waive fees in the event of an emergency.
$1 per minute charge for reclining your seat back. 50% of the proceeds to be paid directly to the person behind you.
$10 to remove your shoes. $50 no sock penalty.
$1 to 20 fee for use of the flight attendant call button. Fees are charged on a sliding scale taking into account the passengers IQ and the flight attendants mood.
$25 to check a bag, $15 to have it x-rayed, $15 plus re-routing costs if your bag is sent to the wrong destination. $50 administrative cost if your bag is damaged by the airline. If your bag is lost permanently by the airline, they will let you know in writing if the bag was damaged BEFORE they lost it and therefore the damage fee will still apply.
Now if the airlines were smart, they would just give out free beer to passengers and then charge to use the restrooms. Happy Flying!