Samoa Air Rolls Out XL Seats For Obese Passengers

on June 18 2013 5:00 PM

Samoa is one of the world’s most obese countries. Now, its national airline is popping its veritable pants button, too.

Samoa Air is creating a wider row, extended by 12 to 14 inches, on its small planes for passengers who weigh more than 286 pounds, the airline said. Since April, passengers pay a fixed price for each pound they weigh, not by each seat, for their tickets. Prices vary according to the length of the route.

“People who have been most pleasantly surprised are families because we don’t charge based on seat requirement even though a child is required to have a seat,” Chris Langton, the airline’s chief executive, said, according to ABC News. “We just weigh them. So a family of two adults and maybe a couple of mid-sized kids or younger children can travel for considerably less than what they were charged before.”

612353-samoa-air Samoa Air -- which began charging customers by weight, not seat, in April -- has rolled out larger seats for obese passengers.  Facebook

The airline flies from Samoa to American Samoa, North Tonga, Niue, the North Cook Islands and French Polynesia.

“[There’s] no doubt in my mind this is the concept of the future,” Langton said.

For one New Zealander, the pay-by-weight scheme actually encouraged her to shed some pounds.

Leilani Curry, a member of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, said she flew to American Samoa in April, when the policy was first enacted, which helped her realize she ought to lose weight.

“There could have been someone that needed to get a flight to American Samoa or back from American Samoa but they couldn’t because I was taking up two seats instead of one,” she told Radio News Zealand International. “So that’s actually made me come back and really want to lose weight and change my lifestyle.”

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