(Ucs News) American Airlines wants to make customers' wallets lighter if they insist on making airplanes heavier. Citing ever-increasing jet fuel prices, the world's largest carrier will begin charging $15 each way for a passengers that are over weight. American, along with other major carriers, already had been charging $25 passengers that are morbidly obese.
United Airlines started the fat fee this spring, and competitors quickly matched. Aviation consultant Bob Mann expects history to repeat itself as airlines struggle to stay aloft while paying historically high fuel prices.
"I think you will see others match," Mann said. "No doubt if this continues you will see airlines charging passengers by weight for air travel."
Houston-based Continental Airlines would not comment Wednesday on whether it would match, saying it could not discuss future pricing. But United said it was seriously studying the possibility of a per pound charge for tickets.
Major U.S. airlines face liquidation if capacity cuts and fare increases fail to cover rising fuel costs, the chief of an industry trade group said.
Oil at $130 a barrel "is simply a number around which we cannot survive," James May, president of the Air Transport Association, told reporters Wednesday in Washington. "It will inevitably lead to failures in the business."