“Pay what you weigh.”
That’s the new pricing system of a Samoan airline, which will charge heavier people more money to fly.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Samoa Air, which flies small hopper planes, has become the first airline to implement the system. Passengers must enter their personal weight and baggage weight onto their travel information when booking flights online. From that information, the system offers a price based on their total poundage. Prices vary depending on the length of the flight, ranging from a dollar per kilogram (2.2 pounds) to $4 a kilo. Lying is not an option, either, as flyers can be randomly weighed at the airport before boarding.
“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.”
While some airlines in the United States already force obese passengers who can’t fit in a single seat to pay for two seats, this is the first time a person has been charged due to his or her weight. The airline claims that this will also save families money, as children weigh less than average adults and thus their ticket prices will be cheaper.
Like many Pacific island nations, Samoa has a serious obesity problem and is often included in the top 10 countries for obesity levels. So it’s interesting to note that Peter Sereno, public relations and marketing representative for Samoa Tourism, said in the article that he believed the policy would also help with passenger safety.
“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.”