Samoan airline defends charging by passenger weight

A Samoan airline has defended its policy of charging passengers according to their weight
A Samoan airline has defended its policy of charging passengers according to their weight.

A Samoan airline that says it is the world’s first carrier to charge passengers by their weight rather than per seat has defended the plan as the fairest way to fly, in some cases actually ending up cheaper than conventional tickets.

Samoa Air, which opened in 2012, asks passengers to declare their personal weight during booking, which is then charged per kilogram (2.2 lb) at a rate dependent on flight length. The customers will also be weighed at the check-in counter.

“The industry has this concept that all people throughout the world are the same size,” Samoa Air CEO Chris Langton told Reuters. “Aeroplanes always run on weight, irrespective of seats.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that this is the concept of the future. This is the fairest way of you travelling with your family, or yourself.”

Though the airline instituted the plan last November, it caught attention last week when the carrier began international flights to neighboring American Samoa and coincided with the publication of a report by a Norwegian economist suggesting that airlines should charge obese passengers more.

The Pacific Islands contain some of the world’s most obesity-stricken countries, many ranking in the top 10, according to the World Health Organization. Samoa is ranked No. 4, with 59.6 percent of the population considered obese, said the most recent 2008 WHO report.

According to Samoa Air’s latest schedule, the airline charges up to WS$1.32 ($0.57) per kilogram for domestic flights and WS$2.40 ($1.03) per kg for its only international flight to American Samoa, around 250 miles. A 150kg person flying one-way internationally would be charged $154.50.

Children under 12 are charged 75 percent of the adult rate, with fares also based on weight. Any overweight baggage is calculated at the same rate as the passenger’s personal weight.

The plan could actually prove cheaper in some cases, such as for families travelling with small children, and Langton said customer feedback has mainly been “amazingly positive.”

“When the initial shock has worn off, there’s been nothing but support,” said Langton. “People who are up around 200kg recognize … they’re paying (for) 200kg, so they deserve to get 200kg of comfort,” he added.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

PHOTOS: More than $12 million in heroin, crystal…

Authorities seized more than 44 pounds of heroin and 17 pounds of crystal meth from two stash houses this week during a Manhattan drug bust.

Local

How to donate during the blood drive at…

The Metro-North Railroad and New York Blood Center are hosting a blood drive at Grand Central Terminal Thursday.

Local

Bloomberg launches $50 million anti-gun violence effort

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million on a grassroots anti-gun violence network to challenge the National Rifle Association.

Local

East Village woman fights off rape attempt from…

An East Village woman fought off an attempted rapist that she woke to find standing on her bed over the weekend, police said.

Books

Becoming friends with New York City's oldest known…

"The Life and Times of Richard Musto" tells the story, through a poem, of the oldest known homeless man in New York City.

Movies

Interview: Johnny Depp says he looks like himself,…

Johnny Depp talks about his new sci-fi thriller "Transcendence," not wearing gaudy makeup and wigs for a change and how he's a bit of a Luddite.

Movies

Review: 'Heaven is for Real' tries to be…

The mega-bestseller "Heaven is for Real" becomes a movie that tries to portray wrestling with faith — or at least it tries to try.

Movies

Slideshow: Check out Johnny Depp looking weird through…

Johnny Depp says he looks like himself in "Transcendence." He usually doesn't. Here's a slideshow of his weirder faces.

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

NHL

Islanders back to rebuilding mode after disappointing season

One season after qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2006-07, the Islanders finished 2013-14 with a 34-37-11 record.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.