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Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

A Weighty Matter

in: Travel and Hospitality

A few years ago, Kevin Smith, actor and director, was asked to deplane from a Southwest Airlines flight due to his weight. Smith sent out a tweet about being “too fat to fly” that was heard around the Twitter-verse; leading to a flood of angry tweets and finally an apologetic blog from Southwest.

Now an airline, Samoa Air, has initiated a “pay as you weigh” system, charging by the kilo as opposed to the seat. Passengers must literally state their weight, and the weight of their luggage, and are then charged accordingly. Currently the cost is $1 per kilo for short flights, going on up to $4.16 per kilo for longer flights. And yes, passengers do have to weigh in so that the airline can ensure that they did not enter in a false weight. Wow!

weight-scaleThis raises a lot of questions, not to mention eyebrows. Is it fair? Is it demeaning? Is it necessary? Is it a question of safety?  Will we all need to start weighing in before flight (oh the horror!)? Will we soon be stopping at the luggage counter, the security gate and the weigh station (can I take off my shoes at the weigh station?)?

Will meeting planners soon not only ask for attendees names and food choices, but also for their current weight? Are we going to soon be discussing weight clauses for contracts?

I would love for you to weigh in with your opinion and thoughts! Please comment below!

*Thank you to the School of Communication at Loyola for the image!


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Comments on this entry are closed.

Susan Blair April 24, 2013, 2:57 pm

Thanks Jill for the forum to discuss this one. And thanks for the insights to Samoa Air which I will steer clear of!
While we can all weigh in our opinions about obesity, the fact remains that it is a personal issue. To have it in an open weigh in situation is truly an invasion of privacy; unfair for most people who don’t have the ideal genetics of being naturally small/petite regardless of the BMI calculations; and insulting to our intelligence. While we would rather not sit next to a person who invades our space while flying, they do have the right to fly because they paid for their seats. Perhaps the airlines should consider a specific row in economy class where the seats are larger and the price higher but without the extreme price differential of first class, business class etc. This way there is a attainable choice for those larger travelers. But to insult them in an open forum is abhorrent.

Additionally, to push this further into the industry is going way past judgemental or necessary. It’s just plain sad and shows how far off track we can go to what is the point and what matters. In my opinion anyway

Jill Stone April 24, 2013, 6:43 pm

Great comments, Susan! Thank you so much.