My pal Erica Barnett sent me another terrific (by which I mean terrible) article about another prominent scholar publishing some swell ideas about how we should deal with the high cost of fat people:
An economics scholar in Norway has recommended that air ticket costs be calculated according to a passenger's weight.Pun intended?
Dr. Bharat P. Bhatta, associate professor of economics at Sogn og Fjordane University College, Norway, is proposing three models that he says, "may provide significant benefits to airlines, passengers and society at large."
I always love articles written about the benefits to "society at large" that can be found in demonizing and mistreating fat people, as if we are not ourselves part of society.
"I mean the part of society that matters!"—Dr. Bharat P. Bhatta, probably.
In his paper, published in the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, Dr. Bhatta noted "a reduction of 1 kilo weight of a plane will result in fuel savings worth US$3,000 a year and a reduction of CO2 emissions by the same token."I don't have the will or inclination to detail all the many ways in which treating fat as a moral choice that should be "taxed" is totally fucked up (but here's a helpful series if you need some info!), so I will simply note that even the suggestion of a public weigh-in is not merely contemptible but deeply ignorant: People of any size who have disordered eating stand to be triggered by even the prospect of a public weigh-in. This proposal is not just biased and cruel, but disablist.
..."Charging according to weight and space is a universally accepted principle, not only in transportation, but also in other services," Bhatta says. "As weight and space are far more important in aviation than other modes of transport, airlines should take this into account when pricing their tickets."
His three "pay as you weigh” models are:
Total weight: A passenger’s luggage and body weight is calculated, with the fare comprising a per kilo cost. In this scenario a passenger weighing 100 kilos with 20 kilos of luggage (120 kilos total) would pay twice that of a passenger of 50 kilos with 10 kilos of luggage (60 kilos total).
Base fare +/- extra: A base fare is set, with a per-kilo discount applying for “underweight” passengers and a per-kilo surcharge applying to “overweight” passengers.
High/Average/Low: A base fare is set, with a predetermined discount applying for those below a certain weight threshold and a predetermined surcharge applying for those above a certain weight threshold.
Bhatta prefers the third of these options. He goes on to say that weight could be ascertained through passenger self-declaration, with one in five passengers randomly selected and weighed to dissuade cheats (with penalties for cheaters) or by weighing all passengers at check in.