Airline 'fat tax' for heavier passengers discussed

Tax suggests charging heavier passengers more to fly

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An idea being tossed around in the air isn't going over very well with many frequent fliers.

A Norway economics professor is suggesting that heavier passengers should pay more for flights because they burn more fuel. It's an idea that Aviation Expert and Attorney Edward Booth thinks makes sense.

"There's an old saying in aviation: Light is might when you're talking about flight," said Booth.

Booth, a 35-year-old veteran pilot, said planes have a maximum takeoff weight and that hefty travelers could ultimately compromise safety.

"An airplane can't be too heavy and safely fly," said Booth. "For example, if one of the engines quit, if it's above its max weight, it likely won't stay in the air."

Jacksonville Attorney Richard Kuritz argues he idea of charging people more money if they weigh more, could ignite lawsuits.

"We're going to have a situation where someone is going to have to step up on a scale in front of people in line or risk additional fees? This is so fraught with discrimination. This will never pass in the United States," said Kuritz.

Both, Kuritz and Booth agree that the move to weigh all passengers would be time consuming for airlines to implement.

Kuritz said there's another option airlines could consider soon.

"Set a fee for a carry-on. Anything below five pounds is free. Anything above that, by going in weight differentials, like you do for luggage, and charge accordingly for there," said Kuritz. "That's not going to be discriminatory or cause embarrassment for anybody at the counter."