As Americans continue to grapple with growing waistlines and burgeoning bellies, airlines are increasing trying to figure out how to reduce the cost of flying full flights. Jet fuel is expensive, prompting at least one carrier to institute the controversial “pay what you weigh” rule. But could that happen in our country?
NBC News takes a look at whether or not the problem of too many fliers “of size” could motivate airlines to institute such measures like weighing passengers publicly in the terminal.
Internet market research company YouGov took a public opinion survey wherein four in 10 Americans were totally fine with a public weigh-in, while we can only assume the other six couldn’t stop laughing at such a spectacle before saying “No way.”
“The airlines are always looking to reduce weight or the cost of carrying it,” said YouGov Senior Vice President Ray Martin, “and we’re finding that more people don’t seem to mind the concept.”
(Raise your hand if you don’t like weighing yourself in the privacy of your own bathroom, much less in front of thousands of strangers at the airport [hand raised].)
But the brouhaha that would surely bubble up for whichever domestic airline made such a move would also likely involve claims of discrimination, notes a spokesperson for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.
“If you’re going to treat people like freight, then you have to accommodate those people the way freight carriers do,” she says. “Freight carriers don’t try to fit a big box into a space the size of a 17-inch seat. Are airlines going to reconfigure their planes so you have small, medium and large seats for passengers of different weights? Anything less would be discriminatory.”
In addition to the 40% who would be cool as a cucumber at a public weigh-in, the survey also found that 63% of respondents think passengers who don’t fit in a seat with the armrest down should have to buy a second seat.