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."


More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    whilst this sounds like a good idea it will never catch on, the second an airline adopts it in a competitive route all the affected passengers will switch airlines and bankrupt the idealists. Unless it is done by all airlines at once it would never work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    It is easy with modern logistics systems to plan flights with adapted aircraft or allocate a section of the aircraft with bigger seats for the overweight only and charge the appropriate increased cost related fare. Just don't push them into my space and me also subsidising their fares.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.


    Fine - just as long as you're going to apply the same principle to anyone who does anything dangerous, such as playing any contact sport etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    I would say that this would eliminate Purchasing tickets on the Internet, or ahead of time since the price per Kilo varries, and you'll never know your pre-flight weight or bagage weight. Talk about long lines at ticket counters, and every other airline has been getting rid of employees, so that customers do all their own check in and ticketing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Good god, can't anyone read? This is about your weight, not a surcharge on being fat, no discount for being thin, it's about you being a foot taller than your equally fit mate and therefore weighing more, hence you pay more. If it catches on businesses will be only recruiting short skinny people for jobs that require air travel!

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    This is nonsense and the airlines are already thieving all they can with fees and surcharges. Remember the days when you could take along all the luggage you wanted for free and the inflight meals were for free too? Flying now is an unpleasant cattle car experience with the airline basically being a mugger cleaning the out wallets of captive customers. Avoid flying if you can period.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    This is a sensible move. It has nothing to do with obesity or fitness. It is simply related to the fact that flying 100Kg through the air costs less than flying 200Kg. It is the fairest way of charging people to fly.

    It's crazy that I should pay more if my baggage is 1Kg over the limit when someone who weighs twice as much (and burns more fuel) pays nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    What about abnormally tall folk? I weigh 90kg but am not overweight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Now, this may be an April fools joke but we must consider it as we must consider anything to get the world's people off the collision course with good health. Humans are living longer lives but many of them are almost bedridden zombies because of weight and the hospital bills are astronomical while the public picks up the tab. The healthy public picks up a great deal of the tab for all overweight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Would I be wrong in assuming that all of the people commenting positively on this story might also be those who are slim? Just a thought ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    @49 John Hazeldene
    'And also, "Air Samoa's rates range from $1 (65p) to around $4.16 per kilogram" - what's that all about?'

    They don't just fly one route. Keep up

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    I'd be willing to bet a substantial number of you posting rather abusive, stereotypical drivel would be dismayed to learn that you'll be above the curve too, and that your 'couple of extra pounds' ensure you pay the same penalties. And of course all you skinny runts won't need as large seats as you get now, right?

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    Finally, a better system! But I also highly doubt that bigger airlines will go through with this... they'll be afraid that it is too easy to offend "larger" passengers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    Sausage Sarny you have truly captured the essence of Ryan Air!

    Surely Ryan Air must be considering this ?

    Then they can flog you some food and charge you extra when you get off because of your increased weight.

    So don't forget to get a receipt if you go to the toilet whilst on board so you can claim a refund !

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    @79. adancerdances

    Something to note is that muscle weighs much more than fat. So a fit, average-build person will also have to pay more. Which makes little sense, if what you're doing is trying to "punish" obesity.


    Did you not read the article?

    They are not trying to "punish" anything, they are just charging by weight - person + luggage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    I can see the logic here particularly in the case of Samoa airlines, Samoans aren't the tiniest of people. Try it on some of the junk-food munching hoardes of gargantua frequently found in the UK. We already subsidise they're gorging by way of gastric band & gastric by-pass surgery, I don't see why they're flights to Spain should be subsidised as well. Mark me down, mark me down, mark me down. ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    Fair enough. I'm 17 stone and it literally costs more to fly me than it would for somebody who weighed less. The only argument against it I can think of is that I'm overweight so I buy more food on the plane so I contribute more that way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    Hold on a minute Samoan Airlines maybe behind this suggestion, but most of their population practice the art of Sumo Wrestling. Have you seen the size of these people, you would need a jumbo jet for a third of the passengers. Big People Big Profits !!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    EU would likely deem this indirect discrimination against men, since men are more oft likely to weigh more than women.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    I have said this for last 20 years !! System now is so unfair.

    Great that some (remote) airline has guts to try it !! So far not many complaining here !! But I suspect that other airlines will not actually try this.

    Personally my weight has never gone above 65 kilos and I am now 40 - and I take a large case always and end up having to mess about putting heavier stuff in hand luggage etc.


Page 47 of 52


More World stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.