Friday, September 17, 2010

Total Weight Onboard (TWO)

            During the early days of aviation passenger planes were not very large or powerful, and the weight that the plane could carry was limited.  Therefore, everything had to be weighed that went onboard, and the load had to be balanced as well; fore and aft, and laterally.  People were weighed as well as baggage and cargo.

As aircraft and engines developed, the payload increased and passenger weight was dropped from the preflight boarding check.  Luggage weight, however, eventually was limited.  As fuel costs increased, profit margins fluctuated depending on the total weight the planes were carrying.  During the past 50 years our luggage restrictions have remained relatively constant, but the weight of the passengers has dramatically increased.  Sixty percent of Americans are now overweight.  The airlines had to do something to recoup the expense of flying fatter people, so they have decreased luggage weight limits and are now chipping away at carry-on luggage.  Some airlines are making you pay for your bags, regardless of weight.  Isn’t it time we look at another solution? 

Disregarding complaints from the ACLU about “discrimination,” I believe airlines should reinstitute weighing passengers as well as their baggage, for a “total weight onboard” (TWO) limitation.  A total weight should be established, such as 300 pounds, which would include the weight of the passenger and his or her luggage, combined, for a “total weight onboard.” This would not be discriminatory because all passengers are treated the same.  The only difference is that if you are lean and weigh 130 pounds, you would be allowed 170 pounds of luggage.  If you weigh 300 pounds, you will be charged for whatever your luggage weighs above that. 

Why charge everyone when the problem is only with overweight passengers?  Is everyone charged more for their glasses so that people who need bifocals don’t have to pay more?  Are oversize coffins the same price as standard size?  Times have changed and conditions have changed.  This reversion to airlines’ original weight balance requirements is just common sense and fair for everyone.  I’m angry that I now have to pay a fee for each piece of luggage simply because the guy behind me is twice my weight.

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