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Some airlines (like Qantas) are complaining because people “weight more than average” and it’s costing them about $472 per plane in extra fuel.  And while it may seem discriminatory, airline advisers are suggesting  to implement some form of  penalty fee for checking in over a certain weight.  At the same time, lighter people would pay less if they were under the limit.

While no airline has instituted such a policy, rumors are swirling that it’s being considered.  Airlines however are sensitive to the backlash that this may generate and do not want to create a thorny situation for check-in staff that interface with heavy customers.  It would also thwart airlines’ attempts to streamline the check-in process and reduce long lines at their terminals.  There’s also a capital cost to building the infrastructure needed to weigh people and their baggage.

No doubt, it’s a heavy issue that’s putting downward force on the travel industry.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • U.S. Airways, Delta Airlines, and private equity firm TPG Capital are among several parties interested in buying American Airlines.  If Delta ever purchased American, it would give them unparalleled pricing power.  Remember, they just purchased Northwest Airlines in 2008 to form the world’s largest airline in terms of scheduled passengers carried.
  • If you’re shopping for airfare, you may have notice domestic prices just spiked $20.  Earlier this week, Delta Air Lines filed a price increase of $20 on long-haul flights – a move that was quickly matched by Southwest / AirTran, Frontier Airlines, American Airlines, United / Continental and U.S. Airways.  Airlines attempted to raise fares 22 times in 2011, but only 9 stuck.  Several fare hikes were rolled back after other airlines failed to match price increases.
U.S. airlines have hiked ticket prices for the first time in the new year.
Delta Air Lines filed a domestic price increase of $20 roundtrip on longer-haul routes this week, a move that major U.S. rivals have started matching, FareCompare.com said on Thursday.
Southwest/AirTran and Frontier quickly matched the fare increase Wednesday night, and American, United/Continental and US Airways raised ticket prices on Thursday.
Airlines attempted to raise fares 22 times in 2011, but only nine were successful. Several fare hikes were rolled back after other airlines failed to match price increases.