Here’s a novel way to save on airline fees: Lose weight.
Pay-by-weight flights are the way of the future, according to Samoa Air, which has adopted the policy. Under the new pricing plan, Samoa Air passengers pay for the combined weight of themselves and their luggage, the BBC reported.
“There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything – it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo,” Chris Langton, head of Samoa Air, told Australia’s ABC Radio.
The price per kilo varies from 1 Australian dollar (about $1.06) to $4.16, depending on the route, he explained.
The policy is fairer to customers than ticketed seats, Langton said, since “airlines don’t run on seats, they run on weight,” and “anyone who travels at times has felt they have been paying for half of the passenger next to them.”
When purchasing tickets online, Samoa Air passengers must indicate their body weight and baggage weight in the online booking section of the airline’s website. At the airport, passengers are weighed with their luggage on scales to ensure they weren’t fudging the numbers online, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Samoa Air is the first to introduce “pay as you weigh” flights. But accusations of weight discrimination are bound to follow, especially in Samoa, where more than 59 per cent of men and 71 per cent of women are obese. Obesity is a complex health issue, and pounds are not easily shed. Then there is potential genetic discrimination. Should a man who stands 6-foot-4 be penalized because generations of his family have been big and tall?
One could argue that big people could pack lighter suitcases to save on flights, but presumably, their clothes are bigger and heavier too.
The Samoa Air boss pointed out that families benefit from the pay-by-weight policy, since small children fly for less than adults. But customers forced to sit next to fidgety, seat-kicking hellions may not appreciate a policy that makes air travel more attractive to families.
A system that requires passengers to weigh in just before a flight will no doubt include logistical hassles. “Talk about long lines at ticket counters,” commented subdad at BBC.com.
Another BBC reader, Scott0962, noted that it was hard to argue with Samoa air’s math, “but treating passengers even more like chunks of meat than they already do is unlikely to win the airline industry any fans – or new customers.”
Unless they’re petite passengers, that is.