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World’s first ‘pay as you weigh’ airline

Weigh more, pay more to fly

A Samoan Airline says it's perfectly fair to charge passengers according to their weight

April 3, 2013 5:27 by



In a nutshell, the airline charges about 2.09 dhs per kilogram for domestic flights and approximately 3.78 dhs per kg for international flights (although its only current international destination is American Samoa, 250 miles away). Any overweight baggage is calculated at the same rate as the passenger’s personal weight. When booking a flight online, you have to put in your weight and you’ll be charged accordingly.

If you’ve put on a few pounds between the booking time and the check-in (as you’ll be weighed at the airport), you could get away with it, but not more than a few.

Kipp ‘weighs’ in

Whether this scheme, as the airline’s chief says, is in fact a futuristic concept or not would really depend on each individual airline, tourism authority and country and is something difficult to predict. Chances are, it’ll never happen in this region.

Yes the ‘economics’ of it may validate it as a business model but we’d like to think there’s still a tad more to business than mere revenue. There is an airline’s reputation to consider, customer relationships and overall brand image and sentiment. Or is Kipp simply being naive here?

As far as we’re concerned, calling it a fair scheme is subjective. If you’re looking at the plan from a pragmatic and purely economical point of view; then yes it is fair for the reasons posed about jet fuel consumption rising with additional weight. That’s pure mathematics that you simply can’t argue with.

On the other hand – whether or not airlines do choose to follow suit – a scheme like this can never truly flow smoothly and unscathed, because for one, it’s far too personal and sensitive. There is no right or wrong answer. There is only perception. Let’s not forget that it also begs the question of how airports will manage the queues caused by having to weigh each flier.

The world’s airlines aren’t oblivious to the economics of the scheme, but they’ve obviously chosen to bear those costs in favour of a ‘pleasant reputation’ and relationship with their customers. Samoa Air chose the other route. Should we condemn them for it? I’m sure many people have. Do we applaud them for it? It would seem many have done that as well.

Tell us what you think.

 

*Additional reporting from Reuters



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