Posted April 12, 2013 by Jessica Wright in Business

Your weight may decide how much airfare you pay

Your weight may decide how much airfare you pay
Your weight may decide how much airfare you pay

Samoa airlines was the subject of some controversy when it recently announced its plans to charge passengers for their tickets according to their weight. In reply to those who questioned this system, the head of the airlines said he stood by what had been decided. He called the system fair and even went on to add that this system will, most likely, be adopted by all airlines in the future.

Chris Langton, the head of the airlines was quoted as saying in an interview “The next step is for the industry to make those sort of changes and recognize that ‘Hey, we are not all 72 kilograms (about 160 pounds) anymore and we don’t all fit into a standard seat.”

The paying for weight policy was implemented by Samoa airlines in November as far as domestic flights are concerned, and the same has, for a few weeks now, been applied to international flights as well. The airline’s website explain the new method pretty succinctly: “your weight plus your baggage items is what you pay for. Simple.” It seems that the passengers, too, are now getting used to this novel method of valuation of what you need to pay for an air ticket.

Langton does admit that weight issues will always be sensitive. However, the staff always try to keep things humorous and to make all passengers, especially those who are “carrying a fair bit of bulk” comfortable on board the plane and through the check-in and boarding process.

Paying more does mean that passengers get what they paid for. According to Langton, if some people weigh more than others and pay more for their place on the plane, the airlines caters to their specific needs by ensuring they have spacious seats. Similarly, if there are tall people on the plane, they are given seats which have extra legroom.

Langton said that payment according to weight allows airlines to make the journey more comfortable. People dread travelling by air because of the comfort factor, he says, but this is a step towards making things better for all passengers.

There is at least one category of people who are pleased with Samoa airlines’ decision: families with little children save money and prefer this model to the traditional flat-fare seats.

It will only be with time that people take to this innovation, said Langton. Samoa airlines is the first in the world to implement a program of this sort, and it is only understandable that people should be  at least a little surprised at its unique fare structure. As of not, a lot of people criticize this model and say it is something akin to a “fat tax.” Others, however, are of the opinion that this is a fair practice that ought to be encouraged.

Jessica Wright

Jessica Wright graduate of Northwestern University getting both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Broadcast Journalism. Jessica has been Senior Correspondent focusing on the impact of political decisions and office holders. Jessica is our seasoned investigative, political and community-oriented reporter and columnist whose work has won awards locally, statewide and nationally. Her awards have come from the National Federation of Professional Writers, the Ohio Newspaper Association, the Cleveland Press Club.