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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

April 3, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Take our poll: Pay by the pound for airfare?

You know that sinking feeling on a flight, when you’re wedged into your seat (which airlines have shrunk in recent years) and there’s a really, really big guy coming down the aisle. Yup, he’s your seatmate. And he can’t help it, but his bulk spills over the armrest and into your space for the whole flight.

As Americans have gotten heavier, plane weight and has increased and added to fuel costs, say government studies.

As American travelers have gotten heavier, plane weight  has increased and added to fuel costs, say government studies. (Photo by Tim Boyle, Getty Images)

That happened to me on a  flight on the weekend and both of us were really uncomfortable for hours. So when I heard today that a little airline in the Pacific islands nation of Samoa is charging passengers by weight — the less you weigh the less you pay — I got interested. Maybe it would make us all slim down if we had to pay by the pound for our flights.

Sure, it would be embarrassing to be weighed for a flight but we’ve already surrendered most of our privacy to the TSA what with the screening machines and the patdowns. And airlines running little 10-seater planes, like one I flew on recently from the Hawaiian island of Molokai, already weigh passengers since they have to distribute the weight of passengers and luggage  properly on the plane.

So what about it?

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