Peoria Public Radio Staff
Tue April 2, 2013
No April Fool's Joke: Samoa Air Charges Passengers By Weight
Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 8:00 pm
OK, we've checked the date, and it's April 2, but this story from the Pacific island nation of Samoa left us scratching our heads: Samoa Air says it's charging passengers based on what they weigh.
"We at Samoa Air are keeping airfares fair, by charging our passengers only for what they weigh," the airline says on its website. "You are the master of your Air'fair,' you decide how much (or little) your ticket will cost. No more exorbitant excess baggage fees, or being charged for baggage you may not carry. Your weight plus your baggage items, is what you pay for. Simple."
The policy was introduced in January, the Australia News Network reports.
"People who have been most pleasantly surprised are families because we don't charge on the seat requirement even though a child is required to have a seat, we just weigh them," airline CEO Chris Langton told Radio Australia. "So a family of maybe two adults and a couple of mid-sized kids and younger children can travel at considerably less than what they were being charged before."
The airline flies within the Pacific island nation of Samoa, as well as to other Pacific island nations.
Rates per passenger range from $1 a kilogram (2.2 pounds) on some domestic routes to about $4.16 per kilogram to American Samoa.
The news comes just days after an economist in Norway argued that charging airline passengers by weight would benefit them in the long run.
"To the degree that passengers lose weight and therefore reduce fares, the savings that result are net benefits to the passengers," Bharat P. Bhatt, a professor at Sogn og Fjordane University College, wrote in the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management.
No U.S. airline has such a policy, but Southwest asks passengers who cannot lower armrests on a single seat to purchase another. It refunds the cost of the extra seat after travel.