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 144.

    @113. Mike

    Oh dear, here come the fatists. It is widely agreed that Obese people are no greater burden on the NHS than the health conscious. On avg obese die earlier and save geriatric NHS and social costs that the 'healthy' ones bemoan, ad nauseam, about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    The idea of charging by weight sounds good on the face of it but whom is going to benefit - is it the fat passenger who struggles to squeeze into the middle seat? or the skinny one sitting in the seat next to them with half his/her space invaded? and what difference does it make to the normal sized passenger?

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    re 125 I think you mean spend that last penny!

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    At last. Sense. I was charged the best part of £30 for being about a kilo over my baggage allowance on a flight back from Australia. My personal weight; about 95 kg. Behind me was a bloke who I'm surprised managed to get through the door of the aircraft, let alone get down the aisle and sit down. His personal weight plus baggage allowance must have been double mine. Long, long overdue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    @127 - I think you'll find it's also ageist as we all put on more weight as we age. Looking forward to seeing the likes of O'Leary and his cronies having to stand on the scales before flying tho'....

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    @129: "It’s time that people pay for their lifestyle choices. "

    Being male and over 6 feet tall are not lifestyle choices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    It seems reasonable: the fact is that larger people require more fuel to move. Complaining about this is like complaining about getting a lower MPG-rating as you drive.

    That said, the airline should also give a discount to those travelling without hand luggage ..or clothes on them. They should also pay their larger staff less.

    Perhaps larger people should pay for bigger seats or more leg room.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    I agree this is a great idea. Why should I have my baggage limited when the guy in front of me weighs more than me and my baggage put together? There ought to be a flat weight fee: say one ticket buys 200 pounds of some flesh/baggage combination. Anything beyond that costs extra, again, be it flesh or baggage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    Excellent idea and I'm well overweight.
    It has always been wrong charge someone extra for being 2kg over a baggage allowance when I'm probably 3 stone overweight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    This is a good move and can only improve airline safety. There are several reported incidents of excess weight contributing to air crashes.

    On a personal note, I'll be glad when excessively sized hand baggage is charged for on all flights, nothing is more annoying that someone taking up an entire locker with their 'hand' baggage which is more like a blooming suitcase !

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    its not new, the very first airlines used to weigh passangers with their luggage to calculate fuel required.
    I can forsee people stripping down at check in like boxers "weighing in"
    how about setting up a sauna in departures to help people lose a bit more before boarding.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    Lots of aircraft in the future will be filled with men only as women will refuse to give their weight when booking a flight!

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    No one seems concerned about how this will work. Do I not have to pay up front for my flight any more? Or am I just paying taxes and then I turn up at the airport for my weigh-in, where I pay the extra?

    Also, if this isn't an attack on fat people, if it is just the physics of carriage, then surely they're going to offer more leg room to tall people and more width to bigger people. Right?

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Speaking as someone who is 6'5" and !8 stone I have no problem with this idea as long as they give me a seat suited to my size instead of cramming me into a space only fit for a large parrot, and don't even get me started on the people who insist on tipping back their seats on a 14 hour flight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    I have ranted on a number of occasions about the logic of having to pay an excess baggage weight charge for maybe 1 kg while other people in the queue are naturally carrying far more 'excess baggage'. I suppose you can argue that you are either taking up a seat or not, but it seems strange to charge for weight in the hold but not in the cabin.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    I love it!

    It’s time that people pay for their lifestyle choices.

    There appears to be a peculiar pride and snobbery for some in not bothering to eat healthily, not moderating alcohol consumption or not avoiding tobacco or drugs. Add to that the perverse expectation that someone else (usually the taxpayer) will pay one’s little excesses in life. Think of the NHS.

    Go Samoa Air, Go!

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    If the plane is half full do the customers get a discount seeing as they will save on fuel for that particular flight? I doubt it.

    This is not fairness but mean-spirited profiteering on Samoa's obesity problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    If someone is prepared to take this to the ECHR it will be outlawed. This will be classed as sexist, as men generally are bigger and so weigh more than women (remember the new rules over car insurance, even though women are safer drivers).

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    On a side note from the article, to the people saying it's unfair how everyone has the same baggage allowance:
    I'd like to point out luggage fees are often to do with that good old "health & safety"
    Hold luggage too heavy = Potentially injured baggage handlers.
    Hand luggage too heavy = Could fall out a locker and injure someone. (eg. during turbulence)
    It doesn't matter how much the owner weighs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    I predict long queues at the rest-rooms as passengers try to save that last penny!


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