Samoa Air Defends Policy to Charge Passengers by Weight

Jonathan Pearlman, Telegraph (London), April 1, 2013

Samoa Air, the Pacific national airline which flies domestically and last week began connecting Samoa to American Samoa, allows passengers to nominate their weight and then measures them on scales at the airport.

Passengers do not pay for a seat but pay a fixed price per kilogram, which varies according to the length of the route.

Analysts believe other airlines around the world are likely to follow suit, especially as the rising weight of populations adds to fuel costs. Some airlines in the United States have already begun forcing passengers who cannot fit in a single seat to buy two tickets.

The Pacific island nations have some of the world’s highest rates of obesity, with Samoa usually included in the top ten countries for obesity levels.

The head of Samoa Air, Chris Langton, said the new system was fairer and that some families with small children were now paying substantially cheaper fares.

“This is the fairest way of travelling,” he told ABC Radio. “There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything – it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo.”

Mr Langton said he believed his airline’s new payment policy was helping to promote health and obesity awareness.

“When you get into the Pacific standard weight is substantially higher [than south-east Asia] but it can be quite diverse,” he said. “People generally are becoming much more weight conscious. That’s a health issue in some areas. It has raised the awareness of weight.”

The rates range from $1 (65p) a kilogram – for the weight of the traveller and their baggage – on the airline’s shortest domestic route to about $4.16 per kilogram for travel from Samoa to the neighbouring nation of American Samoa.

An economist in Norway, Bharat P Bhatta, proposed in a recent journal article that charging passengers according to weight would help carriers recoup the cost of the extra fuel required to carry heavier travellers.

Mr Langton said he believed charging by weight was “the concept of the future”.

“It’s a new concept,” he said. “As any airline operators knows, airlines don’t run on seats, they run on weight … People generally are bigger, wider and taller than they were 50 years ago. It is an area where the industry will start looking at this.”


Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • pcmustgo

    It’s because Samaons are known to be HUGE… Thomas Wolfe wrote about this.

    • The__Bobster

      All of these headhunters are huge, even their women, which is why the White youth gangs disappeared from SLC after the idiotic Mormons invited in the Tongans.

      • Katherine McChesney

        What is SLC?
        EDIT. Forgot this meant Salt Lake City. *grin*

        • Salt Lake City.

        • Dude

          Salt Lake City, I think.

      • Spartan24708

        They are huge people. I’m not tiny but I would never mess with a Samoan!

        • convairXF92

          Some of the top-tier sumo wrestlers (yokozuna) in Japan have been racially Pacific Islander: Takamiyama, etc.

      • The Worlds Scapegoat

        “All of these headhunters are huge, even their women, which is why the
        White youth gangs disappeared from SLC after the idiotic Mormons invited
        in the Tongans”

        Did they eat them?

        • The__Bobster

          No, being outweighed by more that 2 to 1, they thought better of a life of crime.

  • The rates range from $1 (65p) a kilogram – for the weight of the traveller and their baggage – on the airline’s shortest domestic route to about $4.16 per kilogram for travel from Samoa to the neighbouring nation of American Samoa.

    Distance between American Samoa to Samoa: 102 miles.

    That’s an expensive flight.

  • The Samoa airports have short runways.

    This is Samoa Air’s fleet:

    Britten-Norman Islander: 2; Passenger Capacity per plane: 9
    Cessna 172: 1; Passenger capacity: 3

  • bigone4u

    If American airlines adopt this system expect to see fewer blacks and Mexicans flying. The cost would be prohibitive and they’ll go back to Greyhound. That’s when Obama would step in with “Free Obama Miles” for the poor. Ironic that the poor in the USA are so fat, isn’t it.

    • They would return to Greyhound or Megabus, the bus with $1 seats. Airfare has gone up because of the cost of fuel. Airlines now charge for things that used to be free such as checking in a bag is now $25 a bag. Unless you sit in first class, you do not get a free lunch when you travel. Southwest airlines charges those who cannot fit comfortably into one seat, a second seat at the price of a child’s ticket. This is refundable if the flight is not full.

      • Speaking of Megabus, I had to walk past the Megabus stop in Chicago on my way to the post office at 11PM last night to drop off my tax checks (I will not give government (especially the Sate of Illinois) the right to enter my checking account when I file with TurboTax). You would never get me on it after what I saw boarding for run to St. Louis.

      • bigone4u

        Just looked up megabus. Had never heard of it. Thanks. I can imagine what megabus is like.

        • convairXF92

          Megabus is a competitor to the Chinese-run buses, e.g. the now-defunct Fung Wah, which were the first to majorly take ridership away from Greyhound/Peter Pan on the NYC-Boston run. The first Chinese buses catered to Chinese clientele (showed Chinese movies; ran between Chinatowns); then college students heard about the buses; then Hispanics and blacks came in with their loud talk, misbehaving kids and food messes.
          Still, a good bargain if you sit near the front of the bus.

  • The only reason I know anything about the area is because of J. Maarten Troost.

    From Wiki:

    Jan Maarten Troost (known professionally as J. Maarten Troost) (b. 1969, The Netherlands) is aDutch-American travel writer and essayist.Troost is the author of three books about his experiences in the Pacific Islands and 3-month trip to China.

    Troost writes about the part of his life spent in the South Pacific in Getting Stoned with Savages (2006) and The Sex Lives of Cannibals (2004) — and one on a trip to China: Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid (2008).

    The books are hilarious. I haven’t read the one on China yet.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      Live octopus is great. Don’t knock that stuff until you’ve tried it.

  • The__Bobster
  • concernedcollegekid

    Doesn’t this have a “disparate impact” against men, because women tend to be smaller and lighter? Oh right, that’s one of those “disparate impacts” that doesn’t count, sort of like all the ones that are in favor of Asians. God, how do politically correct people keep track of which “disparate impacts” count and which don’t? It’s all so complicated.

    • When we revert to raw raw numbers, equality will have taken place.

    • MikeofAges

      What counts and what don’t? All you need to know is you don’t.

  • The__Bobster

    People generally are bigger, wider and taller than they were 50 years ago.

    Too bad airplane seats are going in the opposite direction.

    • bigone4u

      Wait till you see the cars and the car seats Obama’s boys have in mind for us. Shoe boxes on roller skates that will get 80 mph if you can squeeze in.

  • a multiracial individual

    Samoan genetics is rarely mentioned on Amren. I would actually be interested in reading a few publications on the subject if anyone had any sources. Out of the many hundreds of Samoans I have met, I have met on “normal sized” one.

  • I’ve been wondering, for years, why airlines haven’t done this. It makes so much sense and is absolutely fair – at least as fair as humans can be. I doubt this would fly in the U.S., however. As bigone4u pointed out, blacks tend to be bigger and they won’t stand for any policy that might force them to pay more.

    • Air freight is charged by the dimensions and weight. And for the dinky planes Samoa Air uses where the weight needs to be somewhat balanced, humans are nothing more than freight.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      Nice blog Jew Among Me, lol.

      I hope more Jews come around to your way of thinking.

      As I quipped to ProWhite Son of Jacob…

      Perhaps we should consider converting to the cult of the Decapitator, the Moche’s deity, as you know…

      For us Christians morality can be such a confusing and wearisome drag. When confronted with a morally sticky situation, we followers of the Jew from Galilee are encouraged to ask ourselves something like, “What would Jesus do?”. Rough one…

      But for the follower of the Moche’s favorite deity, the answer to the question, “What would the Decapitator do?” is PAINFULLY obvious. I know EXACTLY what the Decapitator would do, LOL! Easy!

      • Thanks! White Christians gleefully dismembered their enemies (and perceived enemies) for centuries.

  • Michael_C_Scott

    “Some airlines in the United States have already begun forcing passengers who can not fit into one seat to buy two tickets.”

    I once had a grossly overweight passenger sitting next to me fold up the armrest between us while announcing that “We’ll both be more comfortable if I put this up.” I folded it right back down and glared at him until he asked the stewardess for a different seat.
    That incident in mind, I am absolutely delighted that weight-based ticket pricing is being seriously contemplated. If only I were not now expected to pay for expensive health insurance to subsidize care for grotesque over-eaters and the completely avoidable health problems they inflict upon themselves!

    Next in the news: $PLC denounces “weightism” and begs for money to fight this new form of discrimination.

    • carolina

      It’s called ‘sizeism’ if you haven’t heard.

      • Michael_C_Scott

        Rats. I thought I was being sarcastic.

    • IstvanIN

      I flew once sitting next to an obese man. His blubber “flowed’ over the arm rest onto my seat, I had to sit tilted the entire flight bent over towards the aisle. Horrible. Make the obese pay more, or put them on a freight train.

      • I had to sit next to a woman that big on my last flight into Pittsburgh – I don’t fly anymore. She was nice and apologized for being so obese. Anyways ….

        We chatted. She was told me who the company was who was going to get the casino in downtown Pittsburgh, that she had inside information. I told her who was going to get the casino even though I had lived out of the vicinity for nearly a decade.

        Guess who was right?

  • fakeemail

    I’m all for it. It high time fat people were shamed. Fatness is a choice. It imposes terrible consequences on the individual, burdens the medical system, an is a damn eyesore for the rest of us. High rates of obesity are yet another sign of a debased culture.
    If I had my way, I would create a REVERSE WELFARE STATE. Tax credits/refunds and bonuses to people who work hard, stay married with kids, and keep themselves in good shape for their annual physicals. I truly hate our society which subsidizes idiocy and ugliness at all turns.

  • thoughtcrime

    It is all the spam they eat. Spam = tool of the White devil to make “indigenous” folks fat.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      Spam is wonderful stuff; I slice it thin, microwave it, and eat it in toasted bread with lettuce and barbecue sauce as barbecue spamwiches. People who make a dietary staple out of the stuff, however are likely to cause Guam to capsize.

  • I visited Samoa a few years ago. Western Samoa was more traditional, with people keeping a traditional diet and lifestyle. I didn’t see many overweight people there. It was a beautiful place and I wish I could have spent more time there.

  • Unperson

    I’m not against this policy. If an airline applies a surcharge for flying with 10 pounds of luggage over the allowed amount, why shouldn’t they also apply a surcharge to passengers who board with an extra 150 pounds of their own blubber? Who costs the airline more in fuel, physically-fit me with an extra suitcase, or some Mammy type with 40 years of junk-food consumption under her bursting belt?

    This could be the first good idea or worthwhile innovation ever to come out of Samoa!

  • Spartan24708

    Good idea! I’m not small but I fit easily into an airline seat plus we recently took a flight and had to pay full adult fare for our daughter who is five and a half and maybe 45 pounds. Luckily for us our son won’t be 2 until next month and we didn’t have to pay for him.