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03rd Apr 2013

First Time For Everything: Airline Charges People By Their Body Weight

Could the idea take hold closer to home?

April Fools day is over, right? This could test your sanity…

Samoa Air, a small island-hopping airline based in Samoa has become the first airline to start charging passengers based on how much their weigh, the Irish Times reports.

The airline’s chief executive Chris Langton told ABC radio in Australia the logic behind the idea.

“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,” he said.

The airline’s new rates range from $1 (€0.81) to around $4.16 (€3.39) per kilogram, according to the newspaper, and your body weight is taken into account when booking online.

“We at Samoa Air are keeping airfares fair, by charging our passengers only for what they weigh,” the website reads.

“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.”

And it doesn’t stop there. Checks will be carried out before you board the plane to make sure you submitted your correct weight and you are paying the correct price for the ticket.

But there is good behind the cause, Langton claims. He says the move could promote health awareness in the region, a place where 15 per cent of people are classified as overweight.

“People generally are becoming much more weight conscious. That’s a health issue in some areas,” he told ABC Radio expressing his belief that charging by weight would become “the concept of the future.”

“People generally are bigger, wider and taller than they were 50 years ago,” he said. “The industry will start looking at this.”

Could the idea attract a few no-frills airlines closer to home?