Samoans are not known for their Kate Moss-esque physiques, so Samoa Air have become the first airline in the world to offer its chunky citizens XL seats, which can accommodate passengers who weigh more than 20 stone. And in Samoa, that’s just about everyone.
Apparently Samoans are heavy due to genetics and over consumption of root vegetables (yeah, RIGHT) with 80% of the population classified as obese. Samoa Air - who have been operating a small fleet of groaning, sputtering 'light' aircraft in Samoa for only a year -have already introduced a pay by weight system, which calculated fares based on how many er...root vegetables passengers had consumed.
But rather than shaming bigger passengers, Chris Langton, CEO of Samoa Air, seemed understanding about their predicament.
‘We don't have a large fleet of aeroplanes, but we wanted to do something that recognised that we are thinking about this. The airline industry is going to have to do that - we're going to have to provide a range of seats categorised in terms of weight and maybe some other indexes like height.’
So will Samoa Air be the benchmark for other airlines transporting large folks in the sky? Will we see extra wide seating and belly room? Or will we continue to ignore the problem and laugh as the fatties have to be extracted from their seats by the fire brigade?