‘Making Fat Fliers Pay’

The Huffington Post

March 28th, 2013 by 

In a live online chat with the Huffington Post, Victor Matheson, assistant professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross, participated in a panel discussion about the nature of airline fees. Netting $8 billion a year in fees alone, such charges are a major source of income for aviation companies. With this in mind, one such airline—Samoa Air—plans to charge passengers according to weight, meaning they’ll charge passengers by the pound.

Explaining the logic behind such a strategy, Matheson remarked, “It costs more to ship heavy items than light items.” Though the plan is controversial, Matheson defended the airline from an economic standpoint, saying, “If you’re talking about the difference between a 200 pound person and a 300 pound person, that’s costing the airline about $20 extra in fuel.”

Matheson also acknowledged that Samoa Air’s business plan probably wouldn’t fly for other airlines, especially because of Samoa’s remote location, which informs the company’s decision to pinch pennies. “It makes more sense for them to be talking about that than other airlines,” he said.

This ‘Holy Cross in the News’ item by David Cotrone ’13.

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