"The department does not believe that people should be required to pay for things they do not want or need," said Bill Mosley, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation (DOT). Which isn't to say that anything goes, he added. "If a carrier tried to charge for something that is essential to a passenger's air transportation -- for example, to check in or to have any seat or to use the jetway -- we would argue that the carrier was violating our full-fare advertising rule or was otherwise involved in a prohibited unfair practice." (from here)
By the early 1950s, U.S. airlines largely had stopped weighing people, relying instead on standard government tables to calculate the proper weight and balance of the aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration updated those tables in 2005 with Advisory Circular 120-27E , which calculates an aircraft’s operational empty weight, cargo payload, and the weight of fuel and passengers to load for proper center of gravity. For passengers, the FAA now figures an average man in summer clothes weighs 200 pounds and the average woman, 179 pounds. On flights between November 1 and April 30, when winter clothing is factored in, the FAA adds five pounds. The standards will be revised if data from U.S. government health agencies show that the average American has gotten at least two percent heavier.
This idea of trying to deceive people with some little amount of print that nobody can read, or somewhere tucked away, I don’t agree with that.
And we’re gonna hold the airline’s feet to the fire on this. Because we have an obligation to do it and we have the ability to do it...
We have a rule in process, and all the things we’re talking about, they’re being considered.
We’re on this. Stay tuned.
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