Airlines May Start Treating Passengers 'Like Freight'

Airlines May Start Treating Passengers `Like Freight’ (Update 1)

Highlights of the article:

Imagine two scales at the airline ticket counter, one for your bags and one for you. The price of a ticket depends upon the weight of both.

That may not be so far-fetched.

"You listen to the airline CEOs, and nothing is beyond their imagination,‘’ said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group. "They have already begun to think exotically. Nothing is not under the microscope.‘’ He declined to discuss what any individual airline might be contemplating, including charging passengers based on weight.

With fuel costs almost tripling since 2000, now accounting for as much as 40 percent of operating expenses at some carriers, … airlines are cutting costs and raising revenue in ways that once were unthinkable. U.S. Airways Group Inc. has eliminated snacks. Delta Air Lines Inc. is charging $25 for telephone reservations. … American Airlines last month became the first U.S. company to charge $15 for one checked bag.

Even a cold drink may be harder to come by aloft.

Airlines may report combined losses of $6.1 billion this year… Swierenga said the only meaningful way for them to reach profitability is to idle a portion of their fleets, which would allow them to reduce costs associated with fuel and labor.

“The solution lies in capacity cuts,‘’ he said.”

Airlines have also taken shorter-term steps even if they have stopped short of weighing passengers.

Japan Airlines Corp. is using crockery in first-class and business-class cabins that is 20 percent lighter than the service items they replaced.

Southwest Airlines Co. is flying slower – by 72 seconds, for example, on Houston-Los Angeles flights, which now take 3 hours 14 minutes. That saves 8.7 gallons of fuel for each of the airline’s four daily nonstops on the 1,387-mile route, 34.8 gallons a day overall, said Marilee McInnis, a company spokeswoman.

Southwest comes closest to charging for weight, asking passengers to buy a second seat if their girth prevents the armrest from lowering.

One airline that is unlikely to start weighing its customers is Dubai-based Emirates, the largest carrier in the Gulf region.

"That is something that when I was a check-in agent in the early 70s I used to do and it was the most horrific experience, trying to get people to stand on scales,‘’ said Tim Clark, the airline president. ``It’s not something that we would do.‘’

“Start” to treat us like self loading cargo?
As the article says, we are practically there already.

I love it! 8)

Not to new.

A lot of old ticket lines had hidden scales to accurately measure PAX during propliner era. It wasn’t polite to ask women their weight :wink:

I remember when there were only 2 classes of passengers, the live ones and the dead ones. Sometimes the live ones had to be denied boarding to accommodate the cargo, i.e. the bodies.

Always felt like freight when the flight attendant said: “No you can’t sit in that row, please sit back here in this row,” [typcially in the middle of the plane over the wing. something about weight and balance. Might as well have told me, "Sir, please sit in pallet location number 3 or 4. Otherwise, something unfortunate might happen as we try to take off.]

Also, a lot easier when you didn’t have to supply the freight any oxygen. “Sir, will you be requiring oxygen on this Aspen flight, should we have to climb a little higher than normal to get us over the front range.” [No thank you, I rather enjoy the passing out on these trips, what with the horrible propeller drone and the damage being done to my sinuses!]

Or, having to look up at the front air vents on the Martin 404s, and Convair 240/340/440 cabins and wondering if passengers were not to get too allarmed seeing all that humidified air belching into your face. [Are you really sure that is just humid air coming out there, or is it something that is left over from the State Pen?]

Treating all the paying customers as freight is probably just around the corner.

I remember it all too well, and as a very large person I always earned the hairy eyeball glare of flight personnel as they suggested I would be more comfortable sitting over the wing or other substantial portions of the aircraft.

In all of the flights I’ve taken, there’s only been one time when the passengers were requested to take specific seats. This was a Hawaiian Air flight from Honolulu to Lihue in a MD-80. The aircraft was just about empty.

Once airborne, we were allowed to sit wherever we wanted to.

When I worked for a regional carrier it was pretty common to move passengers around or to a different “zone” for weight and balance. Not on every flight, but at least once a day or so we were shuffling people around on the CRJ-200.

I don’t see a problem with being moved around for weight and balance issues. And honestly, that is part of the compromise of flying the airlines (instead of a biz jet). They give you low fares but from there…

Once, I actually volunteered to move. It was a Grand Canyon flight on a Cessna 207. A pilot and 5 pax, including myself. I offered to put my large mass in the copilot seat for w/b purposes. He did the math and agreed. If I hadn’t come that day, the cg would have been slightly aft of the limit, as the other 4 pax were adults as well. None of them wanted any part of the front of the plane, for fear of having to do the Doris Day routine in the old movie. I told him that I knew what NOT to touch in the cockpit, that’s all he needed to know lol

Along with the other passengers, I’ve been moved around on regional airliners and on business jets.

CHECK IN AGENT: “Hey didn’t I see you just eat a ‘Super Size’ meal down the concourse with a sundee?”

PAX: “Yep it was damn sure better then the snacks on this flight!”

CHECK IN AGENT: “Well that will be additional $25 to get on then mr. super size!”

Dagger :laughing:

We “block” seats on flights that aren’t booked very heavy to make sure the pax sit towards the back, and to prevent the flight attendants from having to ask people to move back prior to takeoff. Most people like to sit in the front and our 37’s like to be a little tail heavy.

About 30 years ago my wife and I were doing a puddle jump from San Juan to St. Thomas. It was so long ago I don’t remember the AC or the airline. I do remember it was a twin engine prop and seated about twelve.

As we checked in we were all asked our weight. There was only one pilot and my wife was assigned the FO seat. She was petrified to move for fear she’d touch something. For almost the entire flight the pilot banged on the instrument panel with his fist, I assumed something wasn’t working quite right. Since it was only her second ever flight she was white as a ghost when we landed.

The snack boxes on the airlines are terrible. You can easily see yourself gaining lots of weight by eating those unhealty snacks.

New Philadelphia based airline charges passengers per pound!

Prinair? … index.html


I was thinking about this just last night…don’t know why…When I did load control for NH and KL, I would often call the counter and ask that certain zones be blocked from further seating. These were not puddle jumpers these were B747-400, and 300’s. KL always seemed to be a bit more nose heavy so to help counter this I’d ask for 100 bags be loaded in bulk before any other containers were loaded.

That is a little insane, to monitor you FA’s weight. Maybe thats just me.