Samoa Air has recently hit the headlines by becoming the first airline to introduce a “pay what you weigh” policy, but the move has sparked debate over whether the policy is fair or not.
The new scheme means the price of each passenger’s ticket will now be determined by how much they weigh. The airline’s policy means that rather than paying for a seat, passengers will now pay a fixed price per kilogram, which will change depending on the length of the route. Chris Langton, head of Samoa Air, told Australia’s ABC Radio that the new policy was a fair way of pricing air travel.
"Airlines don't run on seats, they run on weight, and particularly the smaller the aircraft you are in the less variance you can accept in terms of the difference in weight between passengers," said Mr Langton. "Anyone who travels at times has felt they have been paying for half of the passenger next to them."
The Pacific Island nations currently have some of the world’s highest obesity rates and Samoa has consistently been included in the top ten countries for obesity. Mr Langton stated that he believes the new model will help promote greater health awareness and has called the new policy a “concept of the future.”
The rates the airline will charge per kilogram will start at around 70p for short-haul flights, and go up to around £2.85 per kilogram for passengers flying on Samoa Air’s longest routes.
"People generally are bigger, wider and taller than they were 50 years ago... The industry will start looking at this,” commented Mr Langton. "There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything - it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo."
What do you think? Are policies such as these discriminatory against those with weight problems or are they a fair way of pricing seats and a possible aid to reducing obesity levels? Let us know in the comments section below!