Airlines Could Start Weighing Passengers [PHIL-OSOPHY]
You know the airport security drill by now. Put laptops and tablets in the tray, empty your pockets, take off your belt, shoes off and place all liquids in a clear plastic bag. Oh, and one more step: please step on the scales over there to be weighed before you board.
If it sounds a bit intrusive, it could be the future way airlines cut their carbon footprint by calculating the exact fuel needed for each flight.
According to British software company Fuel Matrix, filling the aircraft with the exact amount of fuel will cut the carbon footprint, helping the environment and optimizing a better flight plan. According to the company, air travel accounts for roughly three percent of global CO2 output.
At present, all the airlines estimate how much fuel is required based on average weights of men, women and children. But the world has become a bit obese of late and weighing passengers would help software calculate better how much fuel is needed. Today, too many aircraft are carrying too much fuel that adds to carbon emissions.
How does the idea of getting weighed at the airport sit with you? My wife, Celeste, likes things the way they are right now. She said she feels more comfortable flying knowing the plane has some extra fuel just in case it has to divert to another airport. I suppose if the scales were more like pressure pads next to where you check your luggage and the system asks "Are you standing on the pressure pad" to record the total weight, I'd be okay with that.
But here's my greatest fear: the idea of weighing passengers isn't a new one. Europeans favor a "pay-as-you-weigh" measure at airports. I'm suspicious that the airlines would start charging heavier flyers more money rather than cutting fuel costs and carbon emissions.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author (and his wife, Celeste).