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Brits Give Thumbs Up to Weight-Based Airfares

Just when you thought you’d seen the last snarky blog post on charging airline passengers according to their weight, there’s new evidence that the idea has legs. And no, it’s not because a second tiny airline has joined Samoa Air in actually implementing the policy.

A new poll by a British travel agency, reported in the Daily Telegraph, found that 63 percent of nearly 2,500 Britons surveyed supported such weight-based pricing, with 29 percent opposing and 8 percent not sure.

To most of the Americans I’ve spoken to, the idea has a vaguely nasty, discriminatory tinge to it. It just won’t fly. And I’d assumed that we weren’t alone in those feelings.

If I had to guess, I’d say that the percentage of Brits who embraced the policy roughly mirrored the percentage of Americans who expressed their opposition to it.

So much for one people separated by a common language!

In the end, the operational hurdles to by-the-pound airfares would probably doom any effort by a U.S. airline to price by weight, even if there were strong public support for the notion. But the attitude gap remains a puzzler.

Of course my informal poll has none of the hallmarks of a scientific study. It’s likely, for instance, that the results suffer from selection bias as I certainly made no effort to gather responses from outside my own cohort.

So, in the interest of determining whether there is really such a gaping disparity between Yanks and Brits on this issue, I put the question to our readers, who are overwhelmingly Americans.

Reader Reality Check

Are you in favor of airlines charging passengers according to their weight?

Does it surprise you that the British favor weight-based airfares?

This article originally appeared on

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