The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

Pay As You Weigh(t, what??)

The thing is…it makes sense, I guess. I don’t know. I don’t know enough about economics or aeronautics to know. But yes. Logic dictates that the heavier the plane is, the more fuel it’ll use. I get it. I don’t know. Maybe they could try to come up with more efficient engines or ways to fly? But I don’t know.

Which is why, I guess, for those of you that don’t confront this all the time, it seems fair and logical. Sure. I weigh more, I should pay more. It works out great for you, because you only weigh 75 kilos. Your flight might even be cheaper! Fatties like me will be subsidizing it. And it’s fair, right? If I don’t want to pay more, I can just lose weight. Or not fly.

Except…I do deal with this all the time, so I see it a little differently. I already pay more. My clothes cost more. I can’t just go to glassons. I have to go to expensive stores, where they don’t have anything I want to wear anyway. To buy underwear requires an engineering degree and the GDP of a country similar to Samoa, and god forbid I want anything sexy. I go to the supermarket, and the pantyhose I want to by are more expensive than “normal” stockings, and even when the same brand is on sale, the plus-size ones never are.

This is fat hatred, plain and simple. Maybe the company doesn’t think it is, but then, the company doesn’t seem to have thought about much. How is it going to treat pregnant people? Or people who require wheelchairs or walking sticks? The CEO thinks that this will encourage people to get healthier. I think it will just encourage people to be ashamed of their bodies. Especially when they turn up at the airport and have to pay more, because they’ve gained a kilogram since they bought their ticket. Flying is already humiliating enough, what with the cramming oneself into the seat, and wondering if this is the time the seatbelt won’t reach round you, and the moment when the person next to you comes up the aisle and their face falls when they realise they’re sitting next to a fat chick. Way to make it worse.

Yes, I could lose weight. That’s an…. argument. But given no weight loss programme is proven to work, and companies have spent billions of dollars developing them, lets put that aside for a moment. My option is to not fly. What if I have to fly for work? So now my career is threatened because of my weight? (More than it already is) What if I want to attend a wedding or a funeral? Sorry can’t afford the fat tariff, can’t go.

I’m pretty comfortable discussing my body these days, and I came to a realization a while ago that fat hatred can’t hurt me. Because there’s nothing anyone can say to me that I haven’t already told myself. But this? Made me want to crawl into a hole and cry. This? made me rage and type in all caps and yell at people I like. This? Made me never want to visit Samoa, a country I love, ever again. This encourages a stigma against fat people, is shaming and policing and concern trolling, and will do nothing whatsoever to address the very real lifestyle disease problems that Samoa faces.

This? Is why we can’t have nice things.

4 responses to “Pay As You Weigh(t, what??)

  1. Chris Miller April 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I can imagine issues with the “traveling for work” thing – including traveling for conferences and the like. If the company is picking up the tab, that puts a really uncomfortable spin on things. Is that going to influence how they choose who gets to go to things? Will people feel like it does, even if they say it doesn’t? It’s an all-around terrible idea, even if I supposedly would benefit from it, at the moment – though the walking stick/wheelchair thing may apply to me in future. Right now the walking stick is optional.

    One seat, one ticket (though aeroplane seats can be ridiculously small, and that’s another conversation entirely).

  2. Deborah April 2, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    I suppose that the thinking is something along the lines of keeping your luggage under a certain weight. You’re welcome to take 68 pairs of shoes as long as you damn well pay for them, and after all, you can always just not take them. But the weight police don’t seem to have noticed that you can’t just not take your body with you.

  3. Matt April 3, 2013 at 10:25 am

    The term “self loading cargo” is sometimes used to reference passengers travelling by air, and freight is priced on its weight and size. But there are all sorts of variables around the economics of transport by aircraft: Margins are supported by freight of the non-self loading variety, and premium seats help subsidise the economy seats (i.e. enable the airline to lower margin on those, in order to maximise sales, if they are in a competative market). Regardless, the airlines will try and clip the ticket as much as possible: look at the change in baggage costs, in-flight food and entertainment costs for the passenger: shaping the service to maximise revenue. The charge for weight is fitting the service to match the costs and mantain margin.

    Your comments on the costs of clothing also struck a chord with me. I studied as an engineer, and part of the study included the technology and economics of manufacturing consumer goods. One of the few things I can remember from that aspect of my education are the contributors to the cost of manufacture. Bespoke items have the central cost as being the design time and skill/time of the maker. As production numbers go up, as the item trends to mass production, the cost of manufacturing approachs the cost of the material, regardless of packaging or wage costs or capital costs of equipment used to produce it. Any mass produced item with more material than “average” will have higher material costs, and the manufacturer will increase the price to the supply chain to maintain margin on that item. Any tailored, or low production item will have additional costs of manufacture as the major price effectors. A rock and a hard place.

    I “suffer” from short legs – I always have to add $20 or so to any purchase of pants for the required alteration, because I am outside the “average” – mass production does not suit parts of my body.

    M.

  4. Pingback: The Daily Blog Watch Wednesday 3 April « The Daily Blog

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