Fat-tax for airplane passengers

In the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management Dr. Bharat P. Bhatta proposed a model to determine the price of a person’s flight ticket. This method of pricing is said to “provide significant benefits to airlines, passengers and society at large.” The way in which doctor Bharat intends to charge people with his method is to set a base fare, then establish a predetermined discount to customers who are under the weight designated as low. In addition, people who are over the weight threshold will have to endure a predetermined extra charge. In addition, Dr. Bharat proposes to measure every 1 of 5 passengers to ensure accuracy and no lying.


Although this may be obvious, I think that this report was formulated to increase profit and was not really considering the effects it may have on the world as a whole. The methods that are being derived to determine the price of a person’s flight ticket should not only increase profit but also consider the ramifications it has on popular culture.

This method of pricing tickets does not seem fair to me at all. The pressure on the North American society to maintain the ideal body image portrayed by popular culture has just gone to the next level. What is meant by next level is that at one time media was the only factor that was important enough to effect popular culture. The appearance of stars from Hollywood was used to portray the ideal male and female image. Even though media is still a huge factor in popular culture real-life critics at the airport labeling a person as overweight or underweight is going to put added pressure on popular culture. As mentioned above, in the report itself, the doctor states the there will significant benefits to passengers and society. Although I do not understand how this will benefit all the passengers and society at large, this method of pricing will uphold and reinforce the popular culture belief that people with the ideal body image have better opportunities in society.

This method of pricing is also not fair for people who have health problems, which disable them to have the ideal body image. For example, people with thyroid conditions, which are serious, make them gain weight and these individuals cannot control it. Individuals who are overweight should not be segregated from the rest of the population and do not deserve to pay extra charges to get on a flight.

Furthermore, this report focuses on being overweight as a problem in need of a cure rather than providing a less discriminatory society. This is a reoccurring theme in popular culture today, which must be stopped! Instead of scientists working on charging passengers based upon their weight they should be trying to find ways to create planes, which weigh less. They could be trying to find materials that weigh less or have more effective ways of powering flight.

Although lowering the weight of the plane may save money in fuel and thus decrease CO2 emissions is that a good enough reason to start weighing people and charging them for their appearance?





3 thoughts on “Fat-tax for airplane passengers

  1. So what you’re saying is that by charging passengers based on their weight, this decision is essentially ableist in the sense that some people don’t have total control over their weight because of health problems, and maybe even classist in the sense that health problems and obesity are sometimes the product of low income? It reminds me of victim-blaming, in a way… Rather than dealing with the problem of obesity itself, this decision is being made to force potential victims of a health crisis to take the blame for a condition that they may have no control over. So, metaphorically, obesity is the rapist and overweight people are the victims.

  2. I have to disagree with your metaphor for instances where obesity (the rapist) is caused by the actions of the overweight people (the victims). In a case where a person continually makes unhealthy lifestyle choices and an unhealthy diet decisions, metaphorically the “to-be-victim” is in a sense “raping themselves” and claiming to be victims. However, since multiple variables which are out of their control can affect their unhealthy lifestyle choices and diet this obviously doesn’t apply to the public.

  3. That’s a good point. The idea that some are “raping themselves” in a sense. I’m just curious about what you think this charge means – if you think it’s discriminatory based on classism, ableism, or if you were going for something else

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