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 464.

    On the surface its a great idea. But what if all the overweight passengers show up in a bikini and flip-flops :) Would you really want to sit next to the guy who's spilling into your seat AND he's not fully clothed???

  • rate this

    Comment number 463.

    Fat people can fly business class as well, this one has!

  • rate this

    Comment number 462.

    439. Mattblend "a whole new meaning to loosing weight for your holidays".
    You mean LOSING weight. I may be a fat, fourth-class citizen, but at least (unlike most of the vitriolic posters on here) I can spell, punctuate and use words in the correct context.
    My (also fat) wife and I solve the problem by sitting together. Armrests that raise fully, rather than digging into her back, would help A LOT.

  • rate this

    Comment number 461.

    To be fair, a fat man walking once down the road is probably more than what i do in wear and tear running down it all year.

    But you're onto something, XXL t-shirts should cost more than the small and medium I buy, there's more material afterall. Why should i subsidise a fat person when i do all i can to not be one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 460.

    I wonder if under the Human Rights Act and as a fat person, I could sue the next airline I fly with for not accommodating me with suitable seating, perhaps it could be classed as a Health and Safety issue. For instance, I couldn't bend down into the brace position in an emergency or reach under the seat to retrieve the life jacket – but then I could always ask the person next to me for help!

  • rate this

    Comment number 459.

    No NO No no one weighs kilos, it is stones pounds and ounces. Why dehumanise us by treating us like uranium....

  • rate this

    Comment number 458.

    Good idea to a certain degree. But as some people have mentioned, this does punish those who are tall, rather than overweight and 'spilling into the next seat' (be honest, it doesn't happen that often!)
    Maybe they should have weight bands. 1-20kg, 21-50kg, 51-90kg etc. Then children and petite people pay less. Average people pay the same. Those spilling into the neighbouring seat pay the most.

  • rate this

    Comment number 457.

    What about really tall people!? I'm 6 ft 7, exercise regularly and eat healthily and am at the light end of 'normal' when it comes to BMI. I'm still 85kg.

    Many airlines unapologetically charge extra for seats that I actually fit into (emergency exit or bulkhead) already, it's not like I can control my height!

  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    @414 countryboy

    "taller people will obviously weigh more than a short one" - Obviously (not)! It's weight not height!

    @412 Fred Brailey

    "There should be an average weight/height scale, male, femail" - It's weight not gender!

    @440 halfmanhalfpastry

    Maybe they just eat less?

    @446 El Matador

    "you should be charged being overweight but relative to your height and build" - It's weight not build

  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    I've always thought it odd that there's so much emphasis on the weight of luggage, but not that of the passengers.

    It would seem fair to get a passenger weight allowance and charge for any excess baggage you may be carrying on your person!

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    When are we going to see sense and start charging for weighty crutches, bulky push chairs, heavy white sticks and all that wheelchair nonsense.
    What fair does a guide dog pay ?
    We need to know.
    Also what is the point of an editors' picks, can't we pick our own ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    This is an amazing example of flawed thinking. A purely weight orientated charge does not take account of people who are tall but have a very good body mass ratio. Is this another example of people who are not particularly well educated making amazingly bad decisions which penalise the acceptable cross section of society?

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    This is a logistics nightmare. Now you can buy tickets online, not check baggage, and go directly to security. If this happens, everyone will have to be weighed before boarding/buying, making air travel even more cumbersome. How can this really be reasonably implemented?

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    Looks like they will transporting lots of small, light people, and the fatties will use traditional carriers. I prefer traditional airlines over budget flights, does this mean I will be more likely to be sat next to a fatty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    @438 simple, because it costs more to fly you than someone who weighs less.

  • rate this

    Comment number 449.

    As a rugby player and doctor I'm very unsure about this. I weigh 126Kg, and yet have a body fat percentage of

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    As a fat person who fly’s to Europe regularly I have as much right as anyone else to sit in an airline seat and use a seatbelt extension. If you are the kind of person, who does not want to sit with the ‘fatty’ get off the plane and board another!

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.

    Amazing how the perfectly reasonable idea of an airline charging by the weight you want to transport gets turned into discrimination - as in it shouldn't apply to me/him because me/him is just heavy, not fat

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    If you wanted to be really anal about it you should be charged being 'overweight' but relative to your height and build. Just reminds me of a time I got charged the extortionate surplus for taking around 1kg extra baggage on a flight, yet disgustingly obese people get off scot free.

    Stick fat passengers in a wetsuit, in a sauna, on a treamill. Problem solved

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    It is fair to ask "big people" to pay more. But they deserve better service with a bigger chair if they pay more.


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