Samoa Air Defends Move To Charge Passengers By Weight

© Christoph

I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. Apparently not. While equally ridiculous stories such as Virgin’s new glass-bottomed airplanes and the ability to take your livestock into the cabin with you on WestJet were obviously fictional, apparently the folks at Samoa Air weren’t kidding when they announced that they have changed their pricing model to charge passengers by weight.

The airline claims that the new pricing strategy is fairer because airlines are concerned with weight, not the number of seats that are filled on a plane. So the ticket price on Samoa Air is determined by the passenger’s weight plus the weight of their checked and cabin baggage. The airline also claims that family travel will be more affordable because children don’t weight as much and therefore cost less.

Forgive my continued skepticism, but I see a number of flaws in this plan that lead me to view it as a gimmick. While weight affects fuel costs, there are far more fixed costs that have nothing to do with the weight of the passengers and their baggage. The overhead of selling tickets, aircraft maintenance, airport fees, crew wages, administration and so forth do not change whether a planeload of sumo wrestlers books versus a conference of horseracing jockeys. International aviation regulations require that everyone has a seat, so it’s not as though they’re going to fit more people on the plane. But hey, most folks still like to pick on fat people, so why not tap into that in the name of “fairness” as yet another way to nickel and dime travellers?

Though I have to admit that it’s amusing to think of the lengths people might go to in order to game this new system. Will clothing become skimpier? Will people start resorting to the deprivation and sweats that fighters undertake before a weigh-in? Will sales of in-flight meals increase once passengers have to be weighed before they fly? Will colonic irrigation kiosks start opening up at airports?

Right, you can find out more about this on TravelMole

About The Author

Steph Spencer is a freelance travel writer from Canada who has been held captive by the travel industry for over 14 years. An incurable smart aleck, notorious purple fanatic, hat person, and ukulele player of questionable abilities, Steph explores the geeky side of travel on her blog A Nerd At Large, and dispenses random quirkiness on Google+ and as @ANerdAtLarge on Twitter. She truly believes that anything is possible with enough determination and copious amounts of chocolate.

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