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Excess Weight Fees in Airplanes

Paper Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Thesis:

Although excess weight fees in airplanes are well intended and justified for some reasons, they should be banned because they are discriminative, demeaning, and unfair to passengers who have excess weight as a result of genetics.

  • Arguments for excess weight fees in airplanes
    1. Excess human weight has similarity to excess load weight
    2. Charges are calculated based on weight
    3. Modifications have to be made to accommodate overweight passengers
    4. Passengers will make attempts to reduce weight and become healthy
  1. Arguments against excess weight fees in airplanes
    1. Charging excess weight fees is discriminative
    2. Individuals have no control over genetically caused obesity
    3. Absence of comparative justice for underweight and overweight passengers
    4. Regular travellers cannot sustain costs
    5. It is demeaning to compare humans to luggage
  2. Conclusion
  3. References



Excess weight fees in airplanes should be banned


The productivity and general sustainability of any nation state is highly depended on the health of its population. It cannot be disputed that healthy individuals are more productive than their unhealthy counterparts. They can engage in employment actively and perform their individual tasks with utmost ease. In the recent past, obesity has become one of the leading health problems in America and across the world. Seemingly, it is affecting all facets of the population across the age spectrum. Certainly, this is a very difficult problem that has significant negative effects on the wellbeing of an individual as well as the nation as a whole. It is because of this that many airline companies have opted to charge excess weight fees in airplanes (Paarlberg 175). Although excess weight fees in airplanes are well intended and justified for some reasons, they should be banned because they are discriminative, demeaning, and unfair to passengers who have excess weight as a result of genetics.

Arguments for excess weight fees in airplanes

Most supporters of this concept assert that the amount of fees charged on extra weights of luggage remains relatively high. In most cases, these costs carter for extra shipping fuel, loading services, and the occupation of space within the planes (Price 291). At the centre of this argument, the proponents argue that extra luggage is charger extra fees because airline companies cannot afford to ship them freely. This would mean that the companies can also not afford to pay for extra weight from passengers. Thus, charging minimal fees for extra weight would be reasonably justified (Paarlberg 179). To increase the logic in the argument, the proposers emphasize that excess weight fees charged by airlines get calculated solely by metrics of weight. This eliminates emotional and morality based approaches to the issue (Leslie 139).

Another reason worth considering is the fact that airline companies may have to make various modifications to ensure passengers with excess body weights travel comfortably. Some of these modifications include extending seat sizes, and increasing the lengths of seat belts. As explained by Price, many overweight passengers have continuously complained because of tight seat belts and being squeezed in narrow passenger seats. The only way to solve their problems is to increase the seat sizes and extend the lengths of seat belts (298). However, these have to come at a cost because they reduce the space that would accommodate more passengers and require professional modification of passenger seating structures (Leslie 134).

The last argument is based on health and the effects of obesity. It has direct negative effects to both the individual and the country. At the individual level, obesity leads to various health risks. Obese individuals are at a risk of developing health conditions such as blood pressure, cardiac diseases and diabetes. Those suffering from these diseases lead very poor quality lives because of their inability to move with ease or enjoy any form of exercise. They also incur considerable financial costs in efforts to maintain their health. Thus, most of them may consider reducing weight to avoid extra costs on planes. This will result in better health conditions and improved qualities of lives (Eckel 101).

Arguments against excess weight fees in airplanes

On the contrary, larger parts of the society still oppose the charging of excess weight fees in airplanes. The first and most outstanding reason for contrary opinions is based on discrimination. Despite being overweight, all the individuals are passengers and human. It is not fair to charge one more fees compared to others. If anything, this act is morally torturing and socially humiliating. Furthermore, Bagchi explained that a number of cases of obesity get caused by genetic processes of mutation and gene deficiency. Notably, individuals affected by such cases cannot control their weights even if they engage in active exercising. Hence, it is extremely unfair to increase their travel charges on the basis of extra body weight (401). At the same time, no airline company has the capacity to detect whether the presence of extra weight in an individual has been caused by genetics or other factors.

A review of charges for underweight individuals reveals that the act of charging for extra weight is unfair. If airlines establish a standard weight limit for everyone, passengers whose weights are below this limit should pay less than the rest and those above the limit pay more. Because underweight passengers are always more, it is worth assuming that the unjustified amounts they pay already carters for overweight individuals (Paarlberg 182). Otherwise, continuing to charge excess weight fees implies extortion of funds from those involved.

The amount of unfairness in the case of overweight individuals is so extreme that it can make an individual boycott or quit a job. Some professions require regular flights to employment and coverage locations. Examples of these include journalism, criminal investigations, and exploration. Individuals in such professions may not sustain recurrent extra costs for travelling. This is because their employers may only carter for basic requirements of their travel (Leslie 134). That would compel them to spend from personal resources. Finally, is extremely unfair and demeaning to compare humans with luggage. Passengers make optional choices to have extra luggage. Even if the weight of a passenger matched those of luggage, the two are different and must be treated differently.


In conclusion, the question as to whether excess weight fees in airplanes should be banned or not stands out as one of the most debated. Proponents of excess weight fees in airplanes compare the extra weight on individuals with that of luggage. They also claim that planes have to be modified to suit obese individuals. Lastly, they believe that such fees can initiate positive lifestyles for better health. However, opponents of this idea find it discriminative and demeaning. It is unfair for individuals whose excess weight exist as a result of genetically initiated processes. Those who have to pay excess fees recurrently may not sustain the charges. Again, to be just, underweight passengers should pay less if overweight passengers pay more. Irrespective of the reasons given for excess weight fees in airplanes, they should be banned because they are discriminative, demeaning, and unfair to passengers who have excess weight as a result of genetics.


Works Cited

Bagchi, Debasis. Global Perspectives on Childhood Obesity: Current Status, Consequences and Prevention. London: Academic, 2011. Print.

Leslie, David. Tourism Enterprise: Developments, Management and Sustainability. Oxfordshire: CABI Publishing, 2014. Print.

Eckel, Robert. Metabolic Risk for Cardiovascular Disease. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Print.

Paarlberg, Robert. The United States of Excess: Gluttony and the Dark Side of American Exceptionalism. 2015. Print.

Price, Jeffrey. Practical Aviation Security: Predicting and Preventing Future Threats. Oxford: Elsevier Science, 2013. Print.