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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    To clarify, XL isn't considered a plus size.
    Yes, but an XL takes more material than an XS. But most people would be indignant if they had to pay few bucks more for their L and XL compared to what I pay for my XS and S clothes.

    Also, a SuperDuperBig drink has more 'stuff' in it than a SuperSmall drink but some fast food places have started to have one price for all drinks regardless of size. That's because it makes sense when you look at the big picture of what it costs to sell you that drink. What things costs is not just a factor of what the raw ingredients cost. There are many factors that go into a setting a price. In the case of the airlines, fuel cost is just one of them. Think about these other costs:

    Pilots - you need two and that cost is fixed. If there is 1 person on the plane or 100, there are still two pilots (on a jet, not a puddle jumper)
    Stewards - that cost is per passenger. Heavy passengers don't need more stewards than smaller passengers - there is no way to measure ahead of time how demanding a passenger will be
    The Plane - another fixed cost and the biggest cost - when a plane is first put into service, it's all about recouping the cost of the plane and the rest is noise
    Maintenance - relatively fixed, more a function of plane use than how many passengers are on a particular flights and how heavy they are
    Amenities - a combination of fixed costs and per passenger costs
    Advertising - variable but not based on passenger size at all
    Airport usage & other services - relatively fixed, more tied to usage so could be somewhat impacted by # of passengers, but not tied to passenger size at all
    Ticketing - there's both the cost of issuing/tracking a reservation/ticket which is per passenger and fixed costs of having a ticketing/reservation/check-in system

    I'm sure there are other costs I'm not thinking of and I'm sure they are not based on weight.

    I think the airlines have done a good job of selling the public on the idea that it's all about fuel. We all pay at the pump and have felt the pain of rising fuel costs so it's something we can relate to. Plus size prejudice is socially acceptable and most of us had to deal with having a seatmate who doesn't really fit in their seat too and it can be unpleasant. So pushing that angle can work for the airline.

    But only up to a point. At some point the public is going to rebel, IMO. As has been pointed out, paying by weight isn't really logistically practical. Are people going to fly an airline that makes them feel like cattle going to market? I think about when I was more self-conscious about my weight and every time I went somewhere I had to be weighed I would play games like wear light clothing and not eat until after I got weighed, etc. I don't really want to be playing those games when I fly.
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  2. #22
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    Personally I think the flying experience has become a nightmare, and that's with my spending slightly more, when I can, for Economy Plus to get those precious five inches of legroom. Overnight in coach to the Middle East is the experience that makes even hospital stays look comfortable and fun.

    I do muse that packing less or more is an individual choice, and one we are increasingly paying for since not just checked but-carry-on baggage has limits, weights and sometimes extra charges. My feeling is that if they are going to force me to pack less, I don't mind being weighed together with my luggage to get the benefit of being a roughly 135 pound person; why should a guy weighing twice what I weigh get the same baggage allowance?
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    I don't mind being weighed together with my luggage to get the benefit of being a roughly 135 pound person; why should a guy weighing twice what I weigh get the same baggage allowance?
    But you know that they wouldn't boost your allowance up to match his combined total, they would just charge him for how much he exceeded yours.
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  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Yes, but an XL takes more material than an XS.
    We probably all know this stuff is somewhat arbitrary. My feet are small, and sometimes, I can fit into a child/youth size shoe or - in the best possible world - skate boot. Which in the case of shoes, saves me money, and in the case of skates, saves me a *boatload*. In some brands, I wear a women's shoe size. In others, a youth. So in reality, the youth size I wear and the women's size I wear are actually the same size. Same amount of leather, etc. So similarly, in clothing, why is a size XL, which is approx a women's 14, 16, or 18 (depends on the brand), less expensive than if I said it's a size 18 and put it in the plus size section? Not to mention the fact that a size 14 in one brand is much larger than in another. It's arbitrary. Goodness, by the clothing company's logic, a petite XS should cost less than an XL as you noted. But we all know that's not how pricing works.

    I have no doubt that large sized clothing costs more to make than small sized clothing, and that the reasons given are valid. But is the cost break point at the point where they designate a size as a plus size, exactly? I'd doubt it. So they pick a size they make as the break into "plus", and put their price break there. Doesn't mean the XL costs them less to make than the 18. Just where they're putting their line.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

  5. #25
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    Facts:

    1. In the long run, airlines have had razor-thin profit margins, if and when they make money. Worse, when they lose money, they do so spectacularly, more than compensating for the good years. You'd be hard-pressed to find worse industries to operate in.
    2. Therefore, maximizing revenues, and minimizing costs, is of perpetual concern to airlines.
    3. When jet fuel was cheap, it comprised only 10-15% of U.S. passenger airlines' operating costs.
    4. Now that jet fuel is expensive, it comprises 30-35% of U.S. passenger airlines' operating costs. It is now the #1 cost item for airlines. (Labor, maintenance, and other support functions, while usually thought of as variable - a.k.a. adjustable - cost items in other industries, are really semi-fixed costs for airlines, for many reasons, and the costs for each of these individual items no longer exceed that of jet fuel, which, cost-wise, is more variable than fixed.)
    5. It goes without saying that an airplane needs to burn more fuel to stay up in the air, the more weight it needs to carry. While a 300 lb passenger vs. a 180 lb passenger doesn't sound like much when you consider that the plane weighs so much more than that, every single pound adds up, especially when multiplied by # of passengers and # of bags.
    6. Therefore, airlines spend a lot of effort thinking about how to minimize fuel costs. This goes right down to using lighter seat cushions, tossing out redundant coffee machines and pantry equipment, and replacing bulky pilots' manuals with lighter iPads.
    7. At the same time, if airlines piss people off and don't fly anyone, they don't make money. So, constant tinkering with the revenue-cost tradeoff will continue to be the norm.


    Here are some links where people have taken the thought process out much further and have tried to quantify marginal fuel cost, per pound, per flight:

    http://www.ajc.com/news/business/air...l-costs/nQRrf/
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/20...ce-fuel-costs/
    http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...d.main/306566/
    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...llon-fuel.html

    Also, here are some random links to how airlines charge for freight:

    http://www.deltacargo.com/ProductsRates.aspx
    http://www.swacargo.com/swacargo/rateQuoteEntry.htm
    http://www.flyfrontier.com/programs-services/cargo
    http://www.flyairnorth.com/Cargo/CargoRates.aspx

  6. #26
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    On the thread topic, I don't want to get into whether this would work for every airline, but I think it makes a lot of sense for Samoa Air.

    According to Wikipedia, the airline has three planes in their fleet - two which take nine passengers, one which takes three. On planes that size, the weight of the passengers and/or their luggage is going to make a lot of difference to how much fuel the plane uses and how it handles in the air. It could be a real safety issue. So if charging by total weight is going to encourage people to think about how much they *really* need to bring along, and make it easier for the airline to manage their flights without having to deal with unexpectedly large amounts of luggage, I think that's a good thing.

    When I've traveled in planes that size, which thankfully hasn't been that often because they scare me , the ticket has always stated a maximum weight for luggage, and still people show up with many more bags than that, and expect the airline to somehow find space for them. Admittedly some of this has been in fairly remote areas, where you have to bring more stuff than usual because there aren't many stores to go to if you run out of something. But people still bring way more than they really need, and it can be a real problem for the airline - because the regulations they are operating under also have maximum weight limits for luggage, to ensure the plane is safe to fly.

    I get that a rule like this might be kind of unfair to larger people, because more person-weight means less luggage-weight under these kinds of rules, but the reality is that weight of any kind is something that the airlines have to regulate for safety reasons.
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  7. #27
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    They charge tall people more. That is if they are lucky enough to get the seats with extra leg room. I think the airlines should have restrictions on the extra leg room seats. I realize that anyone can pay for them. But, why should a 5 year old child have a seat with leg room and a 6'3" person be crammed into the regular seat because there are no more extra leg room seats?

    I also get when people bring more carry ons than they should. there is a two bag limit, purses count as 1. And you see early boarding people shoving so many bags in the overhead that half the people on the plane can't put anything in.
    Last edited by cruisin; 04-24-2013 at 01:01 AM.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    We probably all know this stuff is somewhat arbitrary.
    Which is pretty much my point. The airlines have done a good job of selling some of their pricing schemes but that doesn't make them less arbitrary. I remember when banks were charging people extra to use ATMs -- even though using the ATM cost the bank less. But people paid the charges because they saw using an ATM as some sort of perk.

    Bottom line: companies charge what they can get away with and fairness often has little to do with it.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    If airlines made the seats larger, they would have to start charging the real value of the seats, not what whiny cheapskates in coach are willing to pay. Jet fuel is not getting any less expensive, while people want to pay low airfares. If you want to see larger seats...fly in business class or in first on short domestic flights and pay those rates (which are a lot closer to being profitable rather than operating at a loss for the airline.) If people insist on dirt cheap airfare, they're going to be packed in like cattle to make up for it. If they demand bigger seats and therefore fewer passengers, they should expect doubled airfares. And more overbooks, because the airlines will have to be sure the flight leaves filled, meaning they have more no-shows to account for.
    On that note, I suddenly remembered a frequent flyer friend of mine who said that some airlines has tried to differentiate (bigger seats, better food?) but it turns out that most people just buy the cheapest fare. I think that is somewhat true, though some airlines like Thai and Emirates are considered 'luxury' airlines.

    I remember when we were flying from Denmark to Bangkok years ago, I coach tickets on Aeroflot over Moscow was about 20% cheaper than Scandinavian (direct), and Scandinavian was bout 100% cheaper than Thai. So, yeah, we chose Scandinavian.
    And recently going to Mexico I was saving us 50$/ticket by getting a very, very early plane. Because even if I hate flying in the morning, it feels silly to choose the more expensive flight.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post

    If airlines made the seats larger, they would have to start charging the real value of the seats, not what whiny cheapskates in coach are willing to pay.
    I don't know that people who travel coach are whiny cheapskates. The jump from coach pricing to (even) business class pricing is huge. I would be willing to pay an extra $100 or two to have the old bigger seats. But, the extra $1,000 or two, I can't afford. I'm skinny, but tall. My legs don't fit in the regular seats. i am also considerate of the person behind me, and don't put my seat back. long flights are miserable. They have cut back on a lot. Charging for checked bags, which wrecks havoc with people trying to bring everything they own as carry on. Charging for food/snacks/beverages. They should allow 1 free bag whether you check it or carry it on.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    And the amount of fabric used actually is a major contributor to the price of a garment. According to the NY Times, material is up to 60% of a garment's cost. In addition, the costs of making plus sized items are higher for manufacturers for reasons beyond the fact that the item may need more material. The issue with plus sized items is that they often require a different production process than petites, talls and regulars do, including the use of wider bolts of fabric, which are more expensive and which, depending on the garment, can require different machinery.
    There's also something to do with the way a bolt of fabric is cut up. See this interesting picture, which shows how the fabric is divided up. I don't understand exactly how it works - for example, the picture I linked could accomodate sizing from 0-20 - and why some stores have really bizarre ranges. Old Navy is cheap yet they offer 0-20 in their stores. More expensive stores like JCrew are 00-12. *shrug*

    What bothers me is that "plus size premium" has a different meaning across the board. Some stores stop at size 12, others 14, 16, 18 or 20. So when is it plus sized and when should it be more expensive? I am currently the "between" size of 18, which is sometimes too small for plus-sized brands, yet I cannot shop in most regular stores because they stop at 14 or 16. And even when stores do offer plus sizes, they're completely pitiful (I'm looking at you, Target).

    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    When I've traveled in planes that size, which thankfully hasn't been that often because they scare me , the ticket has always stated a maximum weight for luggage, and still people show up with many more bags than that, and expect the airline to somehow find space for them.
    That's how Aaliyah was killed - too much crap on her plane. I can understand weighing passengers if it's likely that extra weight will take down the plane. But justifying discrimination as "extra fuel costs" is ludicrous. I'm not sure how you could prove that someone's extra 30 pounds is causing more fuel to be used any more than another person's 50-pound suitcase vs. 20-pound suitcase. Are airlines really penny-pinching that badly that every drop of fuel counts, or are they just floating an idea to get more money from travelers to see if it'll fly?
    Last edited by vesperholly; 04-24-2013 at 03:37 AM.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruisin View Post
    I also get when people bring more carry ons than they should. there is a two bag limit, purses count as 1. And you see early boarding people shoving so many bags in the overhead that half the people on the plane can't put anything in.
    Let's face it -- one small rolly bag takes up the full width of one row of seats on one side of the plane. I see more and more people taking those kinds of bags as carry on; it doesn't take many to fill up all the space. I usually have my purse and my backpack and both fit under the seat in front of me. I'm going on a trip on Friday, and I won't even be taking the backpack because I bought a purse that has enough room for my laptop. That will go under the seat in front of me.
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  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruisin View Post
    They charge tall people more. That is if they are lucky enough to get the seats with extra leg room. I think the airlines should have restrictions on the extra leg room seats. I realize that anyone can pay for them. But, why should a 5 year old child have a seat with leg room and a 6'3" person be crammed into the regular seat because there are no more extra leg room seats?
    Airline space is probably one of the few instances where short people have advantage over tall people... why can't tall people suffer once in a while?

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by cruisin View Post
    They charge tall people more. That is if they are lucky enough to get the seats with extra leg room. I think the airlines should have restrictions on the extra leg room seats. I realize that anyone can pay for them. But, why should a 5 year old child have a seat with leg room and a 6'3" person be crammed into the regular seat because there are no more extra leg room seats?

    I also get when people bring more carry ons than they should. there is a two bag limit, purses count as 1. And you see early boarding people shoving so many bags in the overhead that half the people on the plane can't put anything in.
    They charge tall people more but only if they get more leg room. So I think it was a fair suggestion from the earlier poster who said if heavy people get charged more they should get more space.
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  15. #35
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    I can't even begin to imagine how airlines would advertise this on TV....
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  16. #36

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    I don't think this will every happen for all the reasons that have already been set out, and more.

    That said, about 8 years ago I was allowed onto a flight without having to pay for my slightly overweight luggage because the airline employee at check in flippantly said that I weighed less than others within the luggage limit. I thought she was just being nice, but a family friend in the industry said a similar thing.

    I'm not condoning it. I don't think it's fair that slim people should have more luggage while larger people must either pay more or pack less. I just do think there is room for flexibility when you're paying full price for a toddler who doesn't get a full luggage allowance, and your own bag is a few pounds over (as happened to my sister) or when you're coming back across the world after a year abroad and have accumulated a few too many textbooks

    Flexibility clearly isn't what the airlines are aiming for though!
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  17. #37

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    One more reason to take a train whenever possible.
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  18. #38
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    Unfortunately trains are horribly expensive. (I've looked into it because dh is a train buff.)

    Which shows it's all about what the market will put up with, I suppose.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAngel View Post
    Airline space is probably one of the few instances where short people have advantage over tall people... why can't tall people suffer once in a while?
    Yeah, but what would all of the short people do in grocery stores without us tall people? So, you get the advantage of our height too!

    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy View Post
    They charge tall people more but only if they get more leg room. So I think it was a fair suggestion from the earlier poster who said if heavy people get charged more they should get more space.
    I would hope that would be the only way they can charge more. But, what will they do? Do they have a section of wider seats at a moderately increased rate? Or, do they charge for two seats?

  20. #40

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    I have a tough time understanding airline ticket costs today, even without getting into pounds. Longer distance flights are very often less expensive than shorter ones. Ticket prices can vary throughout a single day, sometimes up and occasionally down, and there is little chance today that two 150 pound fliers sitting next to each other have paid the same for their tickets. Hub cities are more expensive to fly in/out of than starting 100 miles away and hopping through the same hub cities.

    If I felt there was some common logic to the rest of the pricing strategy, I would have less issue with paying by the pound. But right now, it just seems like another way to justify higher ticket prices.

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