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Samoans could pay anywhere from $1 to $4.16 per kilogram

Samoans will have to start paying a hefty fee to fly on Samoa Air if they're overweight. 

Samoa Air is the first airline to make customers pay as much as they weigh when flying on the airline. For overweight customers, this could mean big charges. 

"This is the fairest way of travelling," said Chris Langton, chief executive of Samoa Air. "There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything – it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo."

Customers will have to start typing in their weight when purchasing Samoa Air tickets online, and pay anywhere from about $1 to about $4.16 per kilogram (depending on whether they're traveling short domestic routes or between Samoa and American Samoa). 

Once arriving at the airport, the customers are weighed again to make sure they didn't lie online. 


Why is Samoa Air doing this? According to Langton, it's partially meant to raise awareness of obesity and health, since Samoa is often in the top 10 lists for obesity. 

"When you get into the Pacific, standard weight is substantially higher [than south-east Asia]," said Langton. "That's a health issue in some areas. [This payment system] has raised the awareness of weight."

The payment by weight system will have other benefits, such as safety measures where a plane can only handle so many overweight customers (larger passengers have to be evenly distributed on the plane for safety); families with young children could pay much less than what they're paying now, and carriers could gain the money lost on fuel for carrying heavier passengers. 

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald



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Fair is fair
By morgan12x on 4/2/2013 9:39:42 AM , Rating: 5
I heard this discussion on the radio the other day and many people were saying that it's not fair to heavy people. I disagree. The air transportation system today is little more than public transport and as such passengers are viewed as "packages" that must be shipped through the system as quickly and efficiently as possible. Just look at the changes made in the last few years. Many airlines no longer provide drinks or snacks. I've even been on a couple of flights with only one stewardess so that the airlines are employing fewer people. So, if we're simply going to be treated like packages why not charge us based on weight and size. They could even put bigger seats in some of the rows on the plane and charge more for them. I think it's a great idea and I hope more airlines go this route.




RE: Fair is fair
By SublimeSimplicity on 4/2/2013 9:46:54 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
I heard this discussion on the radio the other day and many people were saying that it's not fair to heavy people.


If this pricing model isn't fair to heavy people, then logically the current model isn't fair to skinny people.


RE: Fair is fair
By othercents on 4/2/2013 10:19:33 AM , Rating: 2
The only time a weight pricing model is unfair is when you are comparing a normal weight short person against a normal weight tall person. It is very possible that a short overweight person could pay less than a tall average weight person. If the purpose was specifically to address obesity then they would be using BMI for pricing. In reality they really should be looking at requiring someone to pay for an adjacent seat for someone that doesn't fit in the seat and could cause another passenger to be uncomfortable.

The reality is that airlines need to be able to account for weight on the airplanes so they can properly determine fuel cost for the flight. While on average Americans are becoming more and more overweight they are still expecting the same ticket pricing they had in the past and having the airline cover the difference in cost. There are also weight limits on airplanes and typically the smaller airplanes are the only ones we notice issues with weight.

Other


RE: Fair is fair
By lagomorpha on 4/2/2013 10:51:32 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
There are also weight limits on airplanes and typically the smaller airplanes are the only ones we notice issues with weight.


Just to illustrate how bad this weight limit is, a Cesna 172's maximum takeoff weight allows for 759 pounds of fuel, pilot, 3 passengers, and cargo. With 3 fat guys the plane would never get off the ground.


RE: Fair is fair
By Lord 666 on 4/2/2013 11:18:21 AM , Rating: 2
When I used to live in the Caribbean, to fly between certain islands, we all had to be weighed. This was just because the airport had an adjacent mountain that certain planes could not get over if too heavy.


RE: Fair is fair
By Solandri on 4/2/2013 3:15:57 PM , Rating: 4
There's another benefit to this too. Weight distribution is as important to an aircraft as the gross weight. Right now all the airlines just assume each passenger is an average weight and sitting in their assigned seating (yes it's important for you to sit in your assigned seat). The airline will shift the distribution of baggage and sometimes fuel to compensate for imbalances in the passenger load.

For the larger aircraft, the larger passenger pool means their assumed average has a higher probability to be closer to reality (as you roll more dice, the bell curve of their cumulative total becomes narrower). But with smaller commuter aircraft, just a few overweight people can cause a substantial deviation from the assumed average, leaving the plane unbalanced.


RE: Fair is fair
By Fritzr on 4/2/2013 4:59:57 PM , Rating: 3
It most definitely can affect US airlines. Cascade airlines went out of business shortly after people started referring to them as Crashcade. The final straw was a Cascade plane that crashed on takeoff due to a baggage imbalance.


RE: Fair is fair
By Dorkyman on 4/2/2013 1:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing you're speaking figuratively about the Cessna. It certainly could get off the ground, but all the specs get worse--longer ground roll, lower rate of climb, slightly higher stall speed, lower margins for extreme g-loads. But it could definitely fly.


RE: Fair is fair
By lagomorpha on 4/3/2013 9:47:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It certainly could get off the ground,


A 1,691 lb plane might not even get off the ground with 2000 pounds of fat guys in it...


RE: Fair is fair
By eagle470 on 4/2/2013 11:18:36 AM , Rating: 2
I personally am sick of having to share half my seat with someone that can't stop eating McDonald's. Not to mention the fact that this would be a fairer pricing model for those that currently have to buy two seat's. It might also reduce flight capacity as the more heavy people on a plane, the more fuel required for lift. Not only are the people heavier, so are their clothes (more material = more weight.) And weight does add up, even for the bigger planes. If you think otherwise maybe you should take a physics aeronautics class.

Plus, if the skinny tall guy weighs more, maybe he should just take a crap before getting on the plane.

I'm all for this business model, it would encourage companies to give traveling employees more money for meals (healthier meals tend to cost a bit more, but it adds up) and allocate time to workout and keep healthy. I see a lot of over weight sales guys.


RE: Fair is fair
By Motoman on 4/2/2013 1:48:08 PM , Rating: 5
It's not unfair at all. Regardless of your height/weight ratio.

The irrefutable fact of the matter is that the actual, real cost-to-serve for an airline is weight. Period. No other factor matters at all. Not for people, anyway, for which a seat is provided as the "space" you're going to occupy (air cargo gets billed out using a concept called "dimensional weight" that also takes into account the volume that the box occupies in addition to it's actual weight, but in the case of people, seats are seats).

So, if you want actual honesty in airline pricing...this is it. If you're 7 feet tall and weigh 300 pounds, and you're fit as a fiddle...good for you. But it's still going to cost you twice as much to fly as the 4'11" girl who's 50% overweight at 150 pounds.

BMI is irrelevant - you're trying to introduce some kind of "morality" into the equation...the notion that the 7' man is "morally correct" in his weight, wheras the 4'11" girl is "morally incorrect" in her weight. The problem is that it makes no f%cking difference to the actual cost-to-serve. So no...Shaq should not get a break on his airfare because he's "supposed" to be that weight, as opposed to Kirstie Ally in blimp-mode, because she's "not supposed" to be that weight.


RE: Fair is fair
By futrtrubl on 4/2/13, Rating: -1
RE: Fair is fair
By Motoman on 4/2/2013 4:26:03 PM , Rating: 2
My point is that you shouldn't vary pricing based on BMI. Because it has no basis in the reality of cost-to-serve.

The airline says that it's partially to "raise awareness of obesity and health" - that's fine. But they're not basing their pricing on BMI, or any other such measure. All passengers are being treated the same - simply charged by weight. Ergo, the pricing is not based on BMI.


RE: Fair is fair
By Fritzr on 4/2/2013 4:57:22 PM , Rating: 3
They are "raising awareness". They are not penalizing the obese.

If someone is overweight and flies with this airline regularly, this pricing scheme encourages them to lose weight to get a better ticket cost.

Yes it "unfairly" impacts those who are simply big, but it is completely fair in that no one is singled out as special, everyone pays a flat rate multiplied by the reading on the scale ... no health tax modifiers are included.


RE: Fair is fair
By Motoman on 4/2/2013 6:04:32 PM , Rating: 3
I dispute the notion that those who are "simply big" are unfairly impacted.

All people are impacted exactly the same way. All are treated the same. Ergo...fair.


RE: Fair is fair
By BRB29 on 4/3/2013 8:31:12 AM , Rating: 2
Considering every time I sit next to an overly obese person on a plane ride, I seem to get only half my seat. It's not their fault but it's also not my problem. I paid for a full seat. Fortunately, flights are not fully booked most of the time and the stewardess are usually quick enough to recognize I need to be reseated.

It's a bit of an annoyance...no offense.

Don't even get me started about the obese people that intentionally eat themselves into disability to collect hand outs. Just the parking thing is annoying enough. Every time I go to Costco, I smh.


RE: Fair is fair
By lagomorpha on 4/2/2013 10:36:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
They could even put bigger seats in some of the rows on the plane and charge more for them.


Many airlines have been doing this for decades now... they're called business and first class.


RE: Fair is fair
By Gondor on 4/2/13, Rating: -1
RE: Fair is fair
By lagomorpha on 4/2/2013 10:53:38 AM , Rating: 2
I guess that would keep the fat people from blocking the emergency exits, just make the fat seats the farthest from :)


RE: Fair is fair
By othercents on 4/2/2013 11:08:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
But they should then be given wider seats for what the paid extra in any class, not just in business.


That's actually a good point. If you are going to charge by weight then you should provide more space instead of putting those same people into the same sized seats as the other passengers. The only proper way to measure this is by girth.


RE: Fair is fair
By Motoman on 4/2/2013 1:51:12 PM , Rating: 2
...until you're a normal sized person who tries to book a flight, only to be told that there's only "fattie" seats left, and you'll have to pay 150% for that ticket because the seat is 50% bigger.

No...what we need to do is stop catering to people who are that overweight. You don't want to be inconvenienced in public by the facilities that are there? Lose weight. Otherwise, deal with it.


RE: Fair is fair
By lagomorpha on 4/3/2013 9:50:14 AM , Rating: 2
Could be like one of those free upgrades to first class.


RE: Fair is fair
By tamalero on 4/2/2013 12:27:04 PM , Rating: 2
except most fatties do not appear to be most successful, and thus cannot pay said upgrades.


RE: Fair is fair
By tayb on 4/2/2013 11:57:16 AM , Rating: 1
It's not unfair, it's stupid. The larger the plane the more idiotic this type of system is. Even in the case of small planes if the weight isn't properly distributed the fuel savings are zero. Samoa Air happens to fly some very small planes so they might actually benefit from this but typical passenger planes in the U.S. will not.

A far better solution would be to charge based on the weight of bags and kill all carry-ons. The airline can position the bags exactly where they need to be for maximum efficiency, cut down on the time it takes to enter and exit the plane, more accurately estimate necessary fuel by weighing all bags, and fairly price customers for the amount of weight they're actually bringing onto the plane.

This would actually be a cost saving measure as opposed to a revenue measure as customers would think twice about bringing so much crap. You can't decide to shed 15 pounds of fat to save money the day before you travel but you CAN decide to shed 15 pounds of crap from your luggage.


RE: Fair is fair
By Dorkyman on 4/2/2013 1:08:36 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure what you're trying to say.

Of course every aircraft needs to have a properly-distributed load. It's part of the preflight procedure.

And yes, a heavier person will cost more to transport than a light one. Not much of a difference, but there's a difference.

To me the biggest hassle with fatties is that they take over MY seat as well as theirs. I think it's perfectly fair to charge them and give them two seats, and then everybody around them is happy.


RE: Fair is fair
By Motoman on 4/2/2013 1:56:55 PM , Rating: 3
...I have to assume you're horrendously fat to try to make the comments you just made.

Charging by weight is, in actual fact, the one-and-only system that makes any sense at all if you're looking for any kind of honesty in your pricing model.

Weight is the one-and-only factor that drives the cost-to-serve for an airline. It makes 100% sense to charge a 300-pound person twice as much as a 150-pound person. Because it literally - LITERALLY - costs the airline twice as much to provide the service to that person.

The same applies to luggage...which is why, to date, airlines have charged overage fees if your luggage is over a certain weight. In a perfect system, they'd weigh your luggage too and charge for that based on actual weight.

A 200 pound person traveling with 4 50-pound bags (400 pounds total) should absolutely be paying twice as much, overall, than a 150 pound person with one 50-pound bag (200 pounds total).

Period. There's not, in fact, any reality-based way to dispute this fact.


RE: Fair is fair
By futrtrubl on 4/2/2013 2:46:14 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Because it literally - LITERALLY - costs the airline twice as much to provide the service to that person.

Except that it literally doesn't. This would only be true if the plane didn't weigh anything and there were no fixed costs per aircraft(purchase cost), per flight (maintainance and crew salaries) or per person (ticketing and processing costs, and I would argue any complementary drink/snack costs though those might also increase based on weight IF that person's weight is due to over eating).

Looking at the Boeing 767-400, operating empty weight is 229,000lbs and max take off weight is 450,000lbs giving about 220,000lbs of cargo and passenger weight.So the actual percentage increase in fuel costs if you double passenger weight, assuming fuel costs are linear with weight ( it isn't, 1% reduction in weight only gets you a 0.75% reduction in fuel use), is ((450,000/(229,000+110,000))-1)*100= 33%.
That doesn't hold for flights limited by weight but for larger jet aircraft I have never seen a weight limited situation.

I would personally go for some other function of weight for charging people, like weight^(1/2) or weight to some power >0 and <1. For luggage though I would charge per pound since customers could game the system by consolidating bags if the system for people were used.


RE: Fair is fair
By Solandri on 4/2/2013 3:27:15 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Looking at the Boeing 767-400, operating empty weight is 229,000lbs and max take off weight is 450,000lbs giving about 220,000lbs of cargo and passenger weight.So the actual percentage increase in fuel costs if you double passenger weight, assuming fuel costs are linear with weight ( it isn't, 1% reduction in weight only gets you a 0.75% reduction in fuel use), is ((450,000/(229,000+110,000))-1)*100= 33%.

You're distributing the cost of the plane's weight on a per person basis. That's arguably the wrong way to do it.

Say I put two pallets aboard a cargo plane. One is a tank weighing 70 tons. The other is an overnight envelope. After you subtract out the cost of the fuel needed to fly the weight of the cargo, are you seriously going to suggest that half of the cost to fly the plane itself should be attributed to the envelope, and half to the tank?

It makes more sense to distribute the cost of the plane's weight on a per pound of payload basis. Your 767 has a maximum payload of 220,000. The 300 pound person consumes 0.136% of that. The 150 pound person takes 0.068% of that. And they should pay accordingly.


RE: Fair is fair
By JediJeb on 4/2/2013 9:01:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It makes more sense to distribute the cost of the plane's weight on a per pound of payload basis. Your 767 has a maximum payload of 220,000. The 300 pound person consumes 0.136% of that. The 150 pound person takes 0.068% of that. And they should pay accordingly.


That fraction covers the cost of the cargo/person, but then who pays for the fuel it costs to actually lift the plane itself?

To be perfectly fair and cover operating costs there needs to be a base price with a weight modifier. Totally fictional numbers here for an example: say it costs $5,000 to operate the flight if it were void of any passengers or luggage. If it will carry 100 passengers then the base price will be $50 per passenger. Then to cover any fuel costs over that of the empty plane plus crew figure what that is per pound and charge every passenger that charge per pound for them and their luggage. If a ten year old weighs 60 pounds and has no luggage and an adult weighs 180 pounds and has 60 pounds of luggage then their surcharge is four times that of the child's. Add the weight surcharge to the base and you have the price of the ticket. That is the fair way to do it.

Currently if you say that anyone over 300 pounds must pay a surcharge then that means that anyone at 299-300 pounds is getting the best bang for their buck on ticket price, while a 90 pound girl is getting a terrible deal as she is paying much more per pound for her ticket.


RE: Fair is fair
By Motoman on 4/2/2013 4:36:45 PM , Rating: 4
You're the one trying to game things.

You've got a 220,000 pound cargo capacity - I'll assume for the sake of argument that that's a correct value.

Now, look at the cost to operate the plane with no luggage and no passengers. I'm going to make some stuff up here - let's say it costs $10,000 to fly the plane empty for a 1,000 mile trip.

Then, look at the cost to operate the plane at full capacity...let's say that costs $100,000 to make the same 1,000 mile trip.

There's $90,000 to allocate over 220,000 pounds. Roughly $0.41 per pound.

So, if you weighed 200 pounds your apportioned cost from that flight is $82. If you weighed 300 pounds, it'd be $123. Which, coincidentally is 50% more cost for 50% more weight. Likewise, if you weighed 100 pounds your cost would be $41 - half the weight for half the cost.

As noted those numbers are all made up, the the point is valid. There's a predictable, fixed cost to transport stuff by weight. Figure out what that cost is, and apportion it fairly.

That's it.


RE: Fair is fair
By Fritzr on 4/2/2013 4:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
Cebu Pacific (A domestic airline in Philippines) uses the model you suggest with a few modifications

They offer
GoLite fares(no baggage allowance)
Go fares (15kg baggage allowance)
20kg & 30kg prepaid baggage allowance
P150 per kg baggage charge at checkin for anything in excess of the Go fare allowance+prepaid baggage allowance.

I got dinged by this one last year ... I bought the 30kg allowance & a GoLite ticket and my bags weighed in at 31.5kg for an excess baggage charge of P150 paid at checkin.
The return flight with a 20kg prepaid allowance and 19kg of baggage netted no extra cost at checkin.

They also have eliminated the free onboard snacks and drinks. When the food cart comes out it you are charged for what you take. The mango pulpy drink was P20, but tasted good :)


RE: Fair is fair
By marvdmartian on 4/3/2013 10:01:15 AM , Rating: 2
If they're going to make heavy people pay more to fly, then concurrently, they should make prices much cheaper for children, shouldn't they?

When's the last time you paid for a kid to fly (over the age of 2), and paid LESS than you would for an adult to occupy the same seat??

So far as that goes, why do stores charge more for 2X & 3X clothing, but not charge LESS for kids clothing? Or, at least, for small and medium sizes??

The proper response? Because they feel they don't have to, and they get away with it.


RE: Fair is fair
By Motoman on 4/3/2013 12:32:28 PM , Rating: 2
Congratulations on not reading the article. Kids will pay less...based on their weight, just like everyone else.


RE: Fair is fair
By marvdmartian on 4/3/2013 2:49:09 PM , Rating: 3
What I read is this:
quote:
families with young children could pay much less than what they're paying now


Meaning, IF the airline deemed that that was the fair way to do business. Now ask yourself, when is the last time, in this day and age of increasing fees from airlines, that you've seen an airline willing to lower prices to be fair??

Congratulations on reading more into it than it stated.


RE: Fair is fair
By Jeffk464 on 4/3/2013 5:08:58 PM , Rating: 2
It seems to me the airlines should have special seating for obese people. They obviously don't fit in the standard airline seat and make the flight uncomfortable for the person sitting next to them. Just charge extra for the fat seat and your good to go. Of course it might be embarrassing when you go through line and the clerk busts out the measuring tape to measure your ass.


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