Samoa Air boss defends charging passengers by weight

Aeroplane seat Air Samoa said the policy meant some people would end up paying less to fly

The head of Samoa Air has defended the airline's decision to start charging passengers according to their weight.

Chris Langton told Australia's ABC Radio that it was "the fairest way of travelling".

Rather than pay for a seat, passengers pay a fixed price per kilogram, which varies depending on the route length.

Samoa Air flies domestically and to American Samoa. It is thought the move could encourage other airlines to introduce similar policies.

"Airlines don't run on seats, they run on weight, and particularly the smaller the aircraft you are in the less variance you can accept in terms of the difference in weight between passengers," Mr Langton told ABC radio.

Start Quote

People generally are bigger, wider and taller than they were 50 years ago”

End Quote Chris Langton Samoa Air boss

"Anyone who travels at times has felt they have been paying for half of the passenger next to them."

Under the new model, Mr Langton described how some families with children were now paying cheaper fares.

"There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything - it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo," he said.

Air Samoa's rates range from $1 (65p) to around $4.16 per kilogram. Passengers pay for the combined weight of themselves and their baggage.

Mr Langton also suggested that the move had helped promote health awareness in Samoa, which has one of the world's highest levels of obesity.

"People generally are becoming much more weight conscious. That's a health issue in some areas," he told ABC Radio.

Mr Langton said he believed that charging by weight was "the concept of the future."

"People generally are bigger, wider and taller than they were 50 years ago," he said. "The industry will start looking at this."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Is there an estimated break-even weight with luggage? Just so I know whether to be for or against the proposal? ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Are you sure this is for real? The story appeared on April Fool's Day in the Telegraph but when you look-up Samoa Air, they appear to have gone bust in 2003. Even back then, they were basically just a tiny charter company with a couple of aging old planes doing short flights between a couple of islands. There is a website for "Samoa Air" but it looks like it was knocked-up in five minutes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Be careful what you wish for.... You don't want to be on a plane full of skinny people if you crash in the Andes!

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    It's hard to argue with the math but treating passengers even more like chunks of meat than they already do is unlikely to win the airline industry any fans--or new customers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Fortunately I am fat, but travel light. I have never understood why people like Mrs Beckham need so many baggage bags. So I will pay for my fat and go with my toothbrush. Don't people know you can wash clothes when abroad, even buy them too. What else do you need?

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    The people of Samoa probably won’t mind so much. It’s the fat British families, who will complain.

    Bring it to Britain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Well done that airline,you lead the way,from all the big boys,it makes perfect sense,to charge for overweight passengers,after all it takes more fuel to move a heavy airplane,I cannot think any body could argue against it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    As an obese flyer this is great news.

    Now I no longer have to feel guilty about taking up more room and can look thin people in the eye again. I have paid for myself to be there and no amount of dirty looks can change it.


  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    excellent idea, this would make flights cheaper for families (kids weigh less) and for skinny people (like me!). After all I have payed for excess baggage for being 1kg over the allowance and sat next to someone at least 50kg heavier than I am. I never thought that made sense. Although I think there should be an allowance based on height e.g. anyone under x weight at y height pays fixed rate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    "Going on this idea--do skinny people qualify for a discount?"

    Yes, as the charge is per kilo so the less you and your baggage weigh the less you pay. So if you are tiny and weigh next to nothing and have no baggage then it's a cheap flight!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    I'm amazed at the support for this. I thought we were a nation of fatties now?

    It's a good idea though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Pretty unfair on those who are naturally disadvantaged...I'm 6ft4, keep fit, have well below average body fat (15%) but weigh 16st, pretty unfair that a 5ft5 lardo weighing 14st and pouring over the side of the chair pays less...surely BMI and body fat is a better way as it penalises those to lazy to control their weight, is it not bad enough that I have to suffer painfully at lack of leg room.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Brilliant!! Well overdue!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    not a bad idea...but as with all these cases it will not be the skinny people paying less but the fatter paying more!

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Having been required to pay for 5 kg excess luggage when there was a person about 40 kg heavier than me squished into my neighbouring seat, I can see the appeal in this.

    Airlines do still require a per-seat allocation as seats take up a certain amount of space and everyone needs one. Maybe allow 100kg per person+luggage before extra charges, averaged out for families and couples.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    As a small person I am very happy about this and hope it comes in soon.
    It is a fair way of charging.
    No doubt hordes of obese people will claim all manner of excuses as to why they're fat...tough!
    I have had enough of worrying whether my case might be slightly overweight and seeing big fat people with the same allowance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Coming to RA and EJ shortly...

    It definitely makes sense though, surprised it hasn't been done before.

    Cue human rights liberals...

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Brilliant! Aircraft use fuel in proportion to weight so it makes sense. Poo before check-in and eat lots on the plane - or do they wieght that too?
    Great for kids - why pay £100's for a little person? It also makes baggage fairer - pack less - pay less. A lot of people will be watching this one...

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    About time, I hope all airlines do this. As weight is a major factor in flying each passenger should have a personal weight allowance regardless of whether it is in their luggage or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    About time! I don't want to pay for the overweight person sitting next to me.


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