With the standard weight of inhabitants in Samoa significantly higher than the world average, Samoa Air, which operates small aircraft, has implemented a per-kilogram payment system for passengers and their baggage.
When booking a flight, passengers are asked to enter their weight and estimated baggage weight for the trip. When checking in at the airport, passengers and their baggage are weighed on scales and are either refunded, if they have over-estimated, or asked to pay the difference, if they have under-estimated.
The airline’s shortest domestic route charges passengers just $1 per kilogram, while a flight between Samoa and American Samoa is charged at $4.16 per kilogram.
Read more from The Age.
Read more from Breaking Travel News.
In an age where equality is at the forefront of debate, I find it gobsmacking that a person who weighs more than another will be charged significantly more for what is essentially the same service.
I come at this subject from a different angle than most journalists. I am one of those larger people who you fear may sit next to you when I walk down that aisle of the plane. But unlike some overweight passengers, I am considerate in how I book my flights. I get in early and book either a window or aisle seat at the back of the plane (more chance of a free middle seat) and never use the inside arm rest so that I don’t encroach on the passenger next to me.
According to the National Health Survey 2007–08 the average weight for an Australian female was 70.1kg compared to 85.2kg of a male. Under this system, men would be paying on average 21.5 per cent more for the same size seat on a plane. In the case of Samoa Air’s flights from Samoa to American Samoa, the average Australian female would pay $292 while the average Australian male would be charged $354.
I personally can’t see this type of pay-per-kilo system ever being implemented in Australia, but if it did, I would be expecting a significantly larger chair than the much smaller passenger seated beside me and more leg space to suit my requirements which I am expected to pay for.
What do you think? Is a pay-per-kilo system discriminatory?