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it would take a lot of getting used to. I imagine such a culture wouldn’t have many activists running around worrying about size-ism. They probably don’t experience a lot of discrimination based on weight, either.
They also probably wouldn’t have many hang-ups about an airline charging them by the pound.
Samoa Airlines does that. At check-in, you get on the scale with your luggage and pay anywhere from $1 to $4.16 per kilogram.
Airline officialssay it’s the fairest way to fly. After all, airline expenses are based on weight. It costs more in fuel to fly a heavier plane. If you’re going to Disneyland with the little tikes, why should you have to pay as much for them to fly as you pay for yourself?
I suppose an airline may answer by wondering why it should get only a fraction of a normal fare to transport a child when it could fill that same seat with a larger person and charge more. The fairest thing for everyone is to simply charge the same amount to occupy a seat.
Except, of course, that airlines don’t charge everyone the same. If people on a flight had to pin the airfare they paid on their foreheads, the discrepancies would be clear.
Culture being what it is in the United States, Western Europe and other places, this scheme isn’t going to catch on any time soon. Americans will take off their shoes and stand in a machine that takes body scanning images of them before getting on a plane. But stand on a scale? Do you want to completely destroy the air industry as we know it?
It might be a good incentive to more healthy living. It might go a lot farther than Michael Bloomberg’s ban on soda drinks larger than 16 ounces in New York City, for example.
Of course, you could always convince yourself that you’re paying more because you must have bought the heaviest suitcases in the store.
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Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist of the Deseret News. He has nearly 40 years experience as a reporter, editor and editorial writer in Oklahoma, New York City, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. He also has been an adjunct journalism professor at Brigham Young and Weber State universities.