A new poll conducted in the UK by a travel industry firm called Holiday Extras found that just about half of the citizenry there feels that it would be perfectly fair to charge overweight passengers higher airline ticket fees. The survey shows that half of the British population believes excess body weight affects a plane’s fuel consumption exactly the same way excess baggage does, and in that light everyone should pay their share, even if it means charging heavy people a fat tax to fly.
The poll found that 48% of the people surveyed felt that overweight passengers should be charged extra to board a flight. The numbers break out further into 51% of men agreeing that a fat tax would be fair and only slightly less women felt the same way at 43% of those surveyed.
The Holiday Extras concluded that since the worlds’ population is getter heavier and fatter overall, overweight passengers affect everyone on a plane both physically and financially, and if it is fair to charge extra for overweight baggage, it’s only fair to charge more for excessive body weight. James Lewis, head of online partnerships at HolidayExtras.com, said “Sitting next to a large person on a plane can sometimes reduce the space that you have to relax, so maybe airlines should offer some of the revenue from the additional ticket cost to the person sitting next to the fat person too.”
Whether or not the airlines will all agree to get on board with the extra fees for overweight flyers remains to be seen, but the Holiday Extra poll is not the first time the idea of a fat tax for flying has been suggested. Back in 2009 the small, UK-based Ryanair airline company suggested that a fat tax would be fair for large passengers who have a negative impact on the space of the passengers who have to sit beside them because those extra charges could in turn reduce the cost of tickets for customers who were not overweight. At the time, the fat tax idea received only a luke warm reception even though Ryanair suggested that the fees might actually benefit the customers' health in the long-term because they could be an incentive for very large passengers to lose some weight and feel a little healthier too. Although half of the people in this latest survey felt a fat tax would be fair, it could be a while before the other half of the population agrees to the scheme.