Pay-As-You-Weigh flights are actually happening!

2 April 2013

When the news broke regarding the idea of pay-as-you-weigh flights, everyone laughed it off, made some lazy jokes and told sneering anecdotes about tubby people on planes.

No-one really thought that an airline would be daft enough to try it out in the real world.

However, Samoa Air are going to actually do it and become the world's first airline to implement "pay as you weigh" tariffs.

"This is the fairest way of travelling," said chief executive of Samoa Air, Chris Langton. "There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything – it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo."

"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."

This new system will see Samoa Air passengers being asked to input their weight and the weight of their baggage when online booking. You'll be charged $1 per kg on short flights and around $4.16 per kg for longer distances. Anyone thinking they can flatter themselves in a bid to get cheaper flights will be met with a set of scales at the airport.

Mr Langton said he believed it to be a system of the future, adding 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" and that "a family of maybe two adults and a couple of mid-sized kids ... can travel at considerably less than what they were being charged before."

You have to wonder what this means for people who are really tall. Will they be penalised in the face of small thin people getting cheaper deals? Will people's BMI index ratings come into play? It is more likely that airlines couldn't give a toss and will apply a blanket rule and coin it in whichever way they can. Either way, it isn't likely to see people going on crash diets to get cheaper flights, but it'll be interesting to see if this model works into other businesses.

TOPICS:   Travel

10 comments

  • Alexis
    Sounds a bit racist. Fine if you're an average Korean, not so good if you're an average Dutch flyer.
  • you
    Alexis: proving racism by making sweeping generalisations based on race. Brilliant.
  • Justin A.
    Don't lots of people go on crash diets before jetting off on a holiday? Does the airline only check their outbound weight and not their inbound? Might be coming back a couple of pounds heavier after two weeks.
  • Captain W.
    Sounds like I'll need to make sure I nip into the nearest McToilets to drop off a quarter pounder before I check in
  • David P.
    I suppose you could look at it as why should fitter people pay for a fatty surcharge if a kilo is indeed a kilo.
  • Kevin
    Have you seen the size of some Samoan people? They are MASSIVE!
  • Dr Z.
    Oh saucy! Get you Kevin.
  • Allan S.
    It sounds like another stealth tax to me. Weve got green tax and now this. I bet in the future all airlines will adopt this. What is this world coming to?
  • Dick
    Will there be a liposuction booth at the airport?
  • Theodore W.
    I like it. I'm tall so sure I may get charged extra but airline fuel costs money and a heavier cargo means more fuel. I'm surprised it's taken so long to implement.

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