Less than one week after Norwegian Economist Bharat P. Bhatta suggested airlines operate under the “pay as you weigh” model, which encourages airlines to price tickets based on customers' weight, Samoa Airlines adopted the plan, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Tuesday.
The controversial plan now requires passengers to enter their weight when booking a flight; passengers are weighed once again during airport check-in to confirm. Rates are also determined based on how far a customer flys, ranging from $1 per kilogram (aprox. 2.2 pounds) up to $4.16 per kilogram.
“You are the master of your Air ‘fair,’ you decide how much (or little) your ticket will cost [sic],” is the message customers of Samoa Airlines are now greeted with on the airlines website. “No more exorbitant excess baggage fees or being charged for baggage you may not carry. ... The sky’s the limit.”
“This is the fairest way of traveling. There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything -- it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo,” said Chief Executive of Samoa Air Chris Langton, who claims the change also promotes obesity awareness.
“When you get into the Pacific, standard weight is substantially higher [than southwest Asia]. That’s a health issue in some areas. [This payment system] has raised the awareness of weight,” he said, commenting that the price plan change is beneficial for economic reasons.
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“A family of maybe two adults and a couple of mid-size kids ... can travel at considerably less than what they were being charged before,” Langton said.
PR and marketing representative for the airline Peter Sereno said being able to determine a passenger's size will help with safety regulations in terms of distributing weight on the airline’s smaller aircrafts.
“At the end of the day, I don’t care who they’re weighing or how they’re weighing them as long as it’s safe,” Sereno said.
While some called the change “immoral” and “discriminating,” others expressed their gratitude for the airline installing the plan change.
“I think it is a brilliant idea ... incentive to keep the weight down as well,” one commenter on the airline’s official Facebook page, Nynette Sass, said.
“What? I have to give up my body building career so I can get a cheaper fare? Fat chance,” Gus Crichton said.
“Brilliant idea! Other airlines should be doing it and should have started years ago,” Pamela Snow said.