Print 55 comment(s) - last by cmattax.. on Apr 3 at 9:37 PM

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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RE: Fair is fair
By lagomorpha on 4/2/2013 10:51:32 AM , Rating: 3
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
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...

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