Airline bases fare on passenger's weight

Reported by: Lisa Sylvester, CNN 

As if flying already didn't cost an arm and a leg, people keep thinking-up ways the airlines can make you pay extra. Among the latest ideas -- basing your fare on how much you weigh.

The price of an airline ticket varies depending on how far in advance you buy your ticket, the time of day you want to fly and the day itself. But what if airlines also factored in something else - how much you weigh?

A study by a Norwegian professor suggests airlines set prices based on a passenger's weight.

"Some would think that this is discriminatory but because I am straight-up economics, for me it's not discriminatory at all." Professor Bharat Bhatta in a paper in The Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management argues reducing the weight on a plane by a little more than 2 pounds will result in fuel savings of 3-thousand dollars a year. Bhatta proposes passengers self-declare their weight when they book a ticket.

On a flight between Washington D.C. and Chicago, at a dollars per pound, Sally who weighs 120 lbs, her ticket would be $240. Paul, on the same flight weighs 180 lbs. his ticket price is $360. and Steve who weighs 270 lbs would pay $540.

Samoa Air, operating out of the Pacific, charges passengers by the pound." Southwest Airlines requires oversized passengers to book two seats.

One group that's calling this idea ridiculous - The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. The organization says treating people like freight is not a good alternative.