In a slightly controversial move, Samoa Air is now claiming to be the first airline in the world to charge passengers based on their own weight, as well as their luggage.
Travelers booking a space on one of the company’s air taxi or chartered flights fill out the details of their journey, how much luggage they will be taking and also their weight – give or take a few kilograms. The airline then adds up the total weight the customer will be adding to the flight and uses the figure to calculate the airfare. While the scheme means that larger fliers will be charged more than their skinnier counterparts, the company’s fleet consists of small planes that need careful loading, and the scheme helps the company better balance the aircraft for safety. It also allows the airline to offer customers more spacious seating if they need it, and could well benefit families flying with children, who will be able to fly for cheaper than usual. Samoa Air says that once it has gained enough information about the weight of its customers, it will be able to increase efficiency and eventually bring down the cost per kilo.
Although the system could be construed as discriminative against heavier passengers, Samoa Air believe it is fairer for everyone as more weight means increased fuel usage and costs. But could the scheme potentially leave a sour taste, which could impact the popularity of the brand as a whole?