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
    -2

    Comment number 524.

    I'm 14'5", around 295kg, fit and healthy. How will this affect me?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 523.

    I am a 5ft2'', 65kg, 63 year old. If flight economy is based on how much fuel is used to fly an aeroplane from A to B with a given load, why should I pay as much as a person who weighs 80kg? Surely it's more economical to transport my lesser bulk?
    Airlines are finally getting the message!!!!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 522.

    this fair. last year i went on a flight to the US and was literally squeezed between huge americans to the point of sharing their sweat. when i worked in the Falkland islands the local air transport, FIGAS, used to arrange seating by the size of the passengers to balance the plane! some of the islanders were quite big.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 521.

    I was thinking of visiting the UK later this year, but I see with these postings I'd not be welcome as I'm overweight. I'll spend my money at home, thank you very much.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 520.

    I think this goes too far and thus doesnt make sense. After all one person (excl small child) takes up one seat. The airline cant carry more people just because they are lighter! There is a big fixed element to the cost of air travel not related to the weight of passengers and luggage. A fixed fee plus an additional £ per kg "weight of luggage plus person" fee could reflect a fair position.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 519.

    In principle tis is a reasonable approach with one proviso. Weight and Volume are linked and hence if you pay more by weight you should get a bigger seat also.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 518.

    ...and of course the editors picks all represent their 'neat and tidy' view of the world and not those that illustrate the overt discrimination in many of the comments.

    Charge for weight if you must but it is not okay to use that to have a go at people who weigh more than average for whatever reason (genetics, disability, cake) it's a horrible way to treat people.

    I'd rather be fat than mean.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 517.

    @472 Mark, physics is clearly not your forte. More weight needs more engine power to create the speed and therefore lift to keep an aircraft airborne. That = fuel and money. A 747 with 450 people carrying 10kg extra per person is 4500kg extra to keep airborne for 000s of miles. The cost in fuel is very significant. Pilots have to calculate all this to work out how much fuel is needed per trip.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 516.

    # 503 UKStinks

    would that be apartheight sorry couldn't resist

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 515.

    Really not sure how I feel about this...makes sense on paper, maybe its possible to have a pricing index where by different combined weights (luggage and passenger) equals a relative pricing bracket. e.g.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 514.

    @438

    That same lottery of genertics means that you are stronger and likely more robust than a large portion of people. The only direct measurement of your impact to a flight, relative to other people is your mass. If you weigh a lot - tough. Why should you NOT pay more as it costs more to carry you?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 513.

    Not before time. The overweight passengers are getting a free ride. It must be a constant nightmare for airline operators that a whole lot of lardbutts turn up and the airliner exceeds it's safe take off weight. Weight them and charge them ASAP.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 512.

    I'm someone to whom a surcharge would apply (at least 3 stone overweight). To be honest I'd be happy enough to pay the extra - but given I am paying for my extra size, surely it's fair enough for me to get a bigger seat than the skinny person paying considerably less? One price for all and one seat for all; or charge per pound and 'store' us accordingly. Does a hippo get the same crate as a snake?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 511.

    This could really shake the airlines up. We could end up with an airline for the skinnies and for the fatties - both discounting to get the business.

    Perhaps the day will come where you could buy a 'fat free' flight ticket or in reverse a 'big whopper' ticket.

    Can't wait for those clever airline bosses to come up with even more devious ideas.

    One that would never work would be Virgin....

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 510.

    What a sexist policy! Men are, in general, heavier and so get charged more than women? And at what pont do you get weighed? Are the airlines going to give you a refund if you lose weight between booking and travel? What a ridiculous idea!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 509.

    While the weight-based plan might seem fair at first look, what it is going to do is create a disenfranchised class of people who will never be able to afford an airline flight. Obese people surprisingly are usually poorer people. Tall people are heavier. All transport is weight-based; weight determines the amount of fuel burned. Are we to have weight-based fares on buses, taxis & trains too?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 508.

    @460 LunchBag

    "I wonder if not accommodating me with suitable seating could be classed as a Health and Safety issue."

    I'm sure it could - especially when it comes to evacuation the plane after a forced landing.

    Health + Safety for the rest - trying to get past you!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 507.

    Carl, you are not, in my case you are paying for my jollies around Europe to see concerts and friends, which often entices several flights a summer. Then of course there is the three star hotel accommodation and train costs! Ahhhh the joy of being obese and on benefits, if only the government knew what I was really up to! Roll on summer 2013, 13 concerts in one country is on my agenda!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 506.

    I don't think it is an April Fools. Saw some locals being weighed on baggage scales at Apia airport when I was in Samoa for my friend's wedding. Didn't weigh the palagi, though, as I imagine its not a good look for the Tourism Board. Samoans are big people, and because the islands are isolated and there is a lot of emigration it means a lot of flying, which is tough on the locals.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 505.

    Bit Tough on Samoans.

    As I understand they are some the most naturally heavy people on the planet.

 

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