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Airfairs & Overweight Passengers

Dick Splash

Should overweight/obese passengers pay more for their seats?  

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  • 5 months later...

Imagine my discomfort- I'm 6'5" (not sure what that is in centimeters, sorry). I've had ONE comfortable flight in my life- a Tower Airlines (read: Terror Air) flight from Brindisi, Italy to Rammstein AB, Germany. Got to ride in 1st Class for volunteering to load the cargo/bags in the plane. Military chartered flight, mind you, but it WAS a 747. UPPER DECK, MAN!

Anyhow, While 1 seat is considered to take the same space regardless of how big YOU are (but depending on which class/section it's in) we all apparently know that some folks unfortunately can't physically limit themselves to just the space defined by the boundaries of that seat. It's not fair. LIFE isn't fair. I'm one of those folks who should have to pay more to fly, for sake of my height. I need tons of legroom, and typically end-up with my feet in the aisle or getting moved to an unoccupied seat in Business Class.

But no such luck on my trips to Australia, and that's one LONG flight...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm far from what has been described as my ideal weight and yet I am willing to justify my mass by my money if need be. For instance, based on my frame and height, I should be under $180 pounds, but I'm actually somewhere are 225-235. That is pretty much like someone 180 pounds bringing a 50-pond object (carry-on?) with him. Multiply that by, say, 160 passengers (averaging) and its 8000 pounds. Of course, considering that a plane could be 300,000 pounds you have to wonder what the real world impact is.

From a marketing perspective, it may be the worse scenario to implement as how would a company put a positive spin on heavy people? Then again, I could lift-weights and still be over the 'ideal' all because of muscle density. :rocky:

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Actually, weight is a HUGE consideration. With your baggage, for instance, there's a limit to both size AND weight. But no such limit on passengers. Interesting.

See, of the aircraft's maximum takeoff weight, generally you can assume no less than half of it to be the airframe itself. The more luxurious the aircraft's amenities, the more of that max weight is just the bare-bones, dry weight of the bird. At least another quarter of the max takeoff is usually fuel. ESPECIALLY for international flights. Let's face it, the old clunker turbofans on a 747 aren't exactly fuel-efficient by today's standards. Now we've already dropped our available weight by over 75%. Add 200 bodies at an average of 200 lbs each, plus roughly 60 lbs of total baggage per, as well as the crew. Oh, and then there's food. Beverages. Sanitary supplies (the blue water IS still water, and hence more dense than the fuel). It all adds up.

Is one passenger at 40 lbs over the average weight gonna make a difference? Not at all. BUT, if you stuffed every seat in the aircraft with former NFL defensive lineman, all toting along their maximum weight in baggage (both checked and carry-on) for an international flight (2-3 meals, plenty of beverages, etc.), and you MIGHT have a problem.

BALANCE is a bigger issue. If you put all the bean poles like me at one end of the plane, and all the sumo wrestlers at the other, you just might have a real problem. If the aircraft's center-of-gravity is too far forward or aft, it's unsafe to fly. TRUST the manufacturer to have calculated the most forward and most aft CG's for the aircraft, and then published slightly stricter standards for safety's sake. But nonetheless, if the CG is too far forward, the aircraft will tend to nose-down. The pilots will have to fight that most of the flight, and as well they'll have problems TURNING the bird as well. Most difficult, though, will be landings (the riskiest part of a flight is takeoff/landing for fixed-wing aircraft). The more centered the weight (ok, physicists, MASS) is, the more stable an aircraft you're flying.

But again, I could balloon-up to twice my current weight and never present a real hazard of any significance to an airliner. So really, I think the issue at hand is more of space than weight.


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