The next line of ‘fees’ that airlines will start charging passengers is already here. Samoa Air is the world’s first airline to introduce pricing based on passengers’ weight.
The new policy will enforce passengers to enter their weight along with the weight of their baggage at the time of booking. The combined weight will then be used to calculate the fare, and the values will be verified at the airport, with customers being weighed.
Chris Langton, CEO of Samoa Air, told Australia’s ABC Radio that it was “the fairest way of travelling”.
“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,” said Mr. Langton.
Samoa Air’s fleet is mostly made up of small 12-seater aircraft, for which passengers and baggage account for a much larger proportion of total takeoff weight than bigger planes.
Prices will vary between from US$1 to around US$4.16 per kilogram, depending on the length of the journey, but Samoa Air claims that a normal-weight family will actually see a reduction in their fare.
This is definitely a step towards higher fares for obese passengers, and we will just have to wait and see if other airlines follow through. We hope not!