Fat people pay up: Airline first to charge by weight

FatThe South Pacific’s Samoa Air will be the world’s first commercial airline to set passengers’ fares on the basis of their weight. Overweight passengers would be charged extra when purchasing their seats.

“This is the fairest way of travelling,” chief executive of Samoa Air, Chris Langton, told ABC Radio. “There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything – it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

It’s the airline’s hope that this policy will raise public awareness of the island-nation’s obesity problem. Samoa often finds itself among he top-10 nations for percentage of obese populations. I’m sure this is an idea our own first lady would approve.

“When you get into the Pacific, standard weight is substantially higher [than south-east Asia],” he said. “That’s a health issue in some areas. [This payment system] has raised the awareness of weight.”

The Morning Herald’s Nina Karnikowski writes:

Under the new system, Samoa Air passengers must type in their weight and the weight of their baggage into the online booking section of the airline’s website. The rates vary depending on the distance flown: from $1 per kilogram on the airline’s shortest domestic route to about $4.16 per kilogram for travel between Samoa and American Samoa. Passengers are then weighed again on scales at the airport, to check that they weren’t fibbing online.

Langton added that “the standard width and pitch of seats are changing as people are getting a bit bigger, wider and taller than they were 40 to 50 years ago,” making charging fares according to weight ideal for always keeping pace.

Samoa Air
Photo credit www.abc.net.au

Samoa Air’s fleet consists of smaller BN2A Islander and Cessna 172 aircraft. “When you’re only fitting eight to 12 people in these aircraft and you’ve got some bigger Samoans getting on, you do need to weigh them and distribute that weight evenly throughout the aircraft, to make sure everyone’s safe,” he said. “At the end of the day, I don’t care who they’re weighing or how they’re weighing them as long as it’s safe.”

Samoa Air’s policy is similar to that of Dallas-Based Southwest Airlines, which recently began charging oversized passengers for an extra seat.

H/T The Washington Free Beacon and read more at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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