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 444.

    This is not discrimination at all, the ideas like charging based on waist size, BMI etc that could be argued as discriminatory yes. It's a simple transaction - transport me and my belongings from here to here, together the weight is XXkg...only seems logical to me. Or you buy a total allowance pre-flight, if you're over you pay excess, same as luggage currently, what's the big deal?! :P

  • Comment number 443.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    Someone who's so fat that they weigh twice as much as another traveller should definitely pay more for the cost of a flight. By the same token, those who are seriously underweight should qualify for a discount.

    Their baggage should be taken into account, though. It must be the overall weight of what goes into the hold as well as onto the seat that determines the cost of the fare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    maybe they should use a wide body jet with bigger seats and more legroom for the overweight and charge a premium for it for all . it must be embarrassing to squeeze someone overweight into a narrow airline seat and reduce the price on other aircraft so healthy people travel at normal rates . or put bigger seats in some rows and charge more to sit in them

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    Let's get a sense of proportion here (pun intended). You're not spending that much of your life in a plane being inconvenienced, and I bet there are plenty of things you do which could be taxed pro rata. How much do you walk/run on pavements compared to a fat person ? Maybe we should set up tollbooths/weighbridges for you skinny joggers for wearing the pavements out with all your exercising.

  • rate this

    Comment number 439.

    Gives a whole new meaning to loosing weight for your holidays.

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.

    I've been 6'3" and 90 KG's most of my adult life. Fit, healthy, not at all fat - explain to me again why I should be charged more for this lottery of genetics? Here's an idea, governments should massively reduce airport taxes (£534 tax on a £330 flight London to Melbourne!) and the airlines should stop treating us like cattle. BIGGER standard seats.

  • rate this

    Comment number 437.

    I am 160 kg and 6 foot four but I still sit in the same small-for-me seats. This means that what is actually being charged is density. As such, I demand either an immediate "discomfort" rebate (lighter, smaller people are traveling in greater comfort than myself) or adjustable-size seats, so that density remains constant - and therefore, fair. ;>)

  • rate this

    Comment number 436.

    I don't think that the actual weight is such a big issue. For a long haul it might cost about £10 for an extra 25kg. I think the real issue is the volume. If someone sits comfortably in one seat without causing inconvenience to the adjacent passenger then I don't think the airline would worry too much. But taking two seats or disrupting/upsetting other passengers really costs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 435.

    About time!
    I weigh 75kgs and once got charged for my suitcase being 2kgs over. I asked how this was fair when someone else in the queue weighed easily in excess of 100kgs. That was a question they couldn't really answer. I've said for years the cost should be based on the weight of the individual plus baggage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 434.

    It's not discrimination for those who think it is. Its the fact that to move more mass costs more, lots more. Logistics companies have this at the center of their pricing, they have to.If someone is obese, and surely this cannot escape their attention, then they must know that when hoisting that weight thousands of miles it costs more, and no one else should pay it but them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 433.

    Sorry, but somebody who is being sat upon by you and has the temerity to complain about it is not a "size facist". They are simply objecting to being sat upon.
    I have endured long and very unpleasant journeys being sat upon by obese people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 432.

    @400 Khuli

    "You might get 50 tons of lead in a plane, but you wouldn't fit 50 tons of feathers.. so they would actually cost more to transport"

    When you're made of feathers (or lead) call us!

    @397 wb

    "Standard (as is) and Streamlined (for lighter people)?"

    That doesn't address the issue of heavier people NOT paying more!

    "I've been suggesting this for years!"

    And you will do so for years!

  • rate this

    Comment number 431.

    About time too bring it on

    Well if I have had to pay more as a larger/heavier person I want a wider seat & not to be squashed in!

    Go on a diet and you wont be squashed in or charged extra, happy days!

  • rate this

    Comment number 430.

    After they introduce the charge by weight ticket the next thing will be actual size. They will have a frame that you have to fit through and if you can't squeeze through you will then have to try the next size up and so on

    You will then be charged by the frame you managed to get through.

    It would probably not be a one size fits all solution but there again size does matter (and cost)

  • rate this

    Comment number 429.

    This measure is fine, as it discriminates against men, who are on average, taller and heavier than women.

    There would be a furore if it was the other way around.

  • rate this

    Comment number 428.

    It will be curious to watch the airlines profits fall through the floor as people stop travelling, it's already a pain. Lets see them get away with this in the USA for example.

    And a great all inclusive holiday when you have to watch what you eat/drink incase you can't aford the fair back home.

    Dont see why "I" should pay for somebodies wheelchair weight either... pathetic airlines...

  • rate this

    Comment number 427.

    Overweight people will have to travel with only a toothbrush and a spare pair of knickers.

  • Comment number 426.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 425.

    And just how long will it take the UK's nanny Government to allow the adoption of this as part of their weight loss/healthy eating incentive and help a few airline pals increase their profits?


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