Samoa Air — Charging Passengers by Weight

How appropriate that a Samoan airline should introduce the idea of charging passengers by the kilo.  Not only are the Samoans naturally huge people, but they’re also the second fattest in the world.  91% of Samoans are overweight, outdone only by their neighbours, Nauru, at 94.5%, helping the Pacific islanders to secure the top seven slots in world obesity rankings.  Of course, as usual, the explanation for this isn’t simple.  They have a terrible diet, heavily influenced by rubbish like tinned spam and tinned corned beef, and these days they lead a sedentary life.  Not too long ago, they fished and cultivated fruit and vegetables, but thanks to the encroachment of US mining companies they now eat junk with huge amounts of sugar and fat in it, and they get much less exercise.

Samoa Air

Heavy passengers are a problem for a small airline, and Samoa Air have introduced what seems to me to be an admirably fair system to deal with it.   They treat the passenger and the baggage as a single unit of weight.  Unlike the Ryanair excess charges  ambush, you only  pay for what you weigh, including your luggage.  How many times have you seen some tiny little seven-stone girl being charged a fortune for an extra few pounds in a suitcase, while some heaving, sweating pile of humanity with 400 pounds of scrambled-egg arse the size of two airline seats wobbles onto the plane unchallenged?  It’s just not right.

I think Ryanair would make a great job of this idea, and in the process, they’d be encouraging us all to lose a few pounds.  All they’d need to do is rearrange their charging structure into bands:

Emaciated– Stick insect — Normal — Tubby — Fat Bastard — Lardass.

As long as you and your luggage stay below whatever level is appropriate, that’s the range of money you pay.  So if you happen to be the little seven-stone girl with the huge suitcase full of clothes (who ever heard of anything like that?) you could opt to join the Fat Bastard band and still pay less than the hyperventilating pile of jelly taking up two of the seats beside you.

The other advantage would be the elimination of some Ryanair Nazi ground staff who take sadistic pleasure out of intimidating harmless passengers.  A few years ago, I passed through Stansted on the way to a short holiday and found myself in a group of people being screamed at by an utter bitch in a Ryanair uniform.  I felt sorry for the civilised Italian woman ahead of us who didn’t understand why an undereducated thug in a cheap uniform was screaming and gesticulating at the slim portfolio of drawings she carried under her arm.

It’s a win-win as they say, apart from the people who happen to be six-foot-five and 250 pounds, lean, fit and not in the least bit fat.  To them, I say,  It’s not about blame.  It’s about weight.  I feel your pain, but you can’t have everything.

For everyone else, lose a few, pounds, save a few pounds, and no more ground-staff with guard dogs.

As far as the airline is concerned, it’s all about the bottom line.

42 replies on “Samoa Air — Charging Passengers by Weight”

i’m surprised ryan air hasn’t opened up a clothing depot at airports. you’d depart wearing just the clothes on your back and hand luggage. when you arrive, go into the depot and rent clothes for the duration of your holiday. you could also rent sport equipment, child pushchair, wheelchairs wahtever you need for your holidays. when holiday over drop them back.
no more need to arrive 2 hours before your flight and no more waiting around to collect luggage.

As you are probably well aware, airline companies use the average weight of passengers when calculating payload to keep the plane within safe operating limits. Not only that, but that weight, must be distributed appropriately within the aircraft structure in order to maintain its centre of gravity.
With a planeload of fat bastards, it takes more power just to get moving and an even longer take-off roll is required, not to mention, the wear and tear on the airframe is much higher.
With larger aircraft this effect becomes negligible and so, Ryanair conveniently focus on the baggage weight and ignore the combined weight in order to gouge more money from their customers pockets!

Heedy: Ryanair have their rules, there are limits on luggage in a lot of other airlines

Even they may not want to go down the route of disciminating against obese people

While I think, its a good idea to charge people by their combined weight with their luggage, on a discriminatory level they might then start charging for wheelchairs

Maybe if people were given a doctors cert to say their is a medical reason for their obesity then they could get a discount

BTW, I’m sure in Samoa Air’s case, that there are probably less seats in their planes, in order to accommodate the populations girth. Airline companies are well aware of these facts and figures, and some will it just use it to make a few extra bucks.
By the way, I have nothing against obese people, some of my best friends are fat bastards!

Heedy, thanks for informing me that airlines know facts and figures

I was just pointing out that there may be cause for discrimination

Discrimination my hoop, Try flying from the Canaries ( nearly 4 hours) with the person in the next seat being too fat to properly fit into it. With part of their body hanging over into your seat meaning that you cannot sit up straight but have to spend the entire flight leaning into your partner. Then talk about discrimination. If someone cannot fit into their assigned space, let them pay for extra space. If they don’t like it, then they can stop eating cake.

I agree with Black & White. People need to live with the consequences of their actions and definitely not invade the private space of others. I think it’s utterly logical to charge airline passengers by weight, whether it is baggage weight or blubber. Shifting a ton of airfreight uses exactly the same amount of fuel as shifting a ton of bodyfat, and airfreight is charged by weight. If people who have allowed themselves to become grossly obese to the point where they need the space of two persons of relatively normal physique, then they should pay accordingly. If they can afford the calories, they can afford the aviation fuel. Of course small children and petite slim people should be charges less by the same logic.

TBN/B&W, I presume ye would have no problem with someone suffering from obesity due to medical reason recieving a standard rate

@backtowork – Yes, everyone should pay the standard rate per kilo, no problem there.

I see what you did there

Ill ask again, should they recieve a reduced rate due to a medical condition

Say pay the current conditions of flight plus luggage with a charge for extra luggage

@backtowork – imagine you are checking your bag into Ryanair – nice handy flight, Shannon to Lanzarote. You’ve already paid for your ticket online by your weight – 70 Kilos at 50 cents a kilo, plus your bag. Now the check-in girl says – gimme another hundred and fifty to pay for the 300-kilo man in the queue behind you, and by the way, one cheek of his arse will be in your lap for the entire journey, your head will be under his oxter and he passes a bit of gas now and then. It’s all due to a medical condition, he’s a grubaholic, he’s flying to the sun for a break, the poor guy.
Are you going to shell out 150 for his fare? Well, I’m not. And the shareholders in Ryanair feel the same way. Exactly how much extra are you willing to pay for overweight strangers, that’s what it comes to?

Just to clarify the above, I’m overweight. I’m 5′ 9″ and weigh just under 15 stone which is fairly high on the BMI scale. I enjoy a pint or 6 on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. I like chips. If I thought I could I would live on Bakewell tarts. I do some exercise although some health issues greatly reduce the type and duration of exercise that I’m able to do. I can easily fit into a Ryanair or Aerlingus seat without bothering the people next to me and I just ask that people take responsibility for themselves and do the same.

I have a pretty average height to weight ratio

I am in agreement on one point, I do not want to pay for some lazy fat fuckers extra pounds

I have a friend who in the past weighed 24 stone at 5ft8 and went out and played soccer 3/4 times a week

He also enjoyed a jar but generally,had the same diet as his fitter looking friends

He had a gastric by pass and lost 8 stone, since then has lost even more weight by sticking to the same lifestyle as before

Is it fair for this guy, before the surgery to have to pay extra on a flight when the cause was clearly medical?

Im not talking about lazy fuckers, Im talking about genuine honest over weight people

I have no medical training, but if your friend managed to lose weight by getting a gastric bypass then it seems to me that he was not matching his calorie intake to his bodies ability to dispose of those calories. If this is not the case, then I apologise.

I’m not trying to make light (excuse the pun) of your friends condition, but for every person who claims to be overweight due to a glandular problem there’s many, many more who just like cake.

I also know there’s a big difference between people who are overweight and those so large that they cannot sit in an airplane seat. I believe that if you cannot sit in a seat without taking the space of the person beside you, then you should pay for that space.

Calorie intake was the same, never noticed any changed habits, he would still have his abracababra on the way how on a night out

I agree with paying for your weight, but only if you are a fat fuck with no intention of losing the weight,

People with Glandular problems or any medical reason should not have to pay extra is all I am saying

@backtowork – who then, in your opinion, should cover the cost of the concession you want to give?

Abracababra.. Mmmm.
I don’t think people should have to pay excess either if they have glandular problems. They could also just be big boned, or have IBS – irritable bowel syndrome – as a friend explained to me out to dinner recently. She couldn’t fit into a dress over the IBS, as she stuffing her face with Indian food.
Terrible condition really.

I recall on a flight to the U.S. once, me and the chap I got chatting to next to me, being told we couldn’t take up some of the spare seats in first class as it might tilt the plane, after we packing up all our shit and heading up there. ha. He was only slightly cubby, but the air hostess said it with a straight face. Not very nice.
Fat people have feelings too.

@ The Bolted Nut, I have already said this

It should be lazy fat fucks who refuse to anything about their weight and people who want to bring too much luggage

It should be a standard fee to book the flight no matter what weight you are

Medical Certs could wave this fee

If you are a fat fuck with no medical cert, jump on a scale for shame

Because I presumed it was ok to discuss what I find right and wrong about the points brought up on your site

I dont feel that airlines should punish people for their weight if it is beyond the control of that person

I believe that they can make enough by charging fat lazy people extra

I belive that they can make enough by charging people with too much luggage extra

I believe that with the number of kids and under weight passengers on a flight they can balance out the ratio for the few who do have medical reasons for obesity

Its how I hope I would view it if I owned an airline and that it is something that they would take in to consideration if they choose to go down this route

A body builder chooses to be heavy ( in most cases )

Im going on a BMI scale here with give or take a few pounds

Yes I have said that if people choose to be heavy they should pay

Lazy people choose not to exerscise

Do all overweight people choose to be heavy?

None of us can read minds, and in any case it doesn’t matter, since we’re talking about a business transaction.

At the moment, lighter passengers subsidise heavier ones. Would it not be fairer if everyone took responsibility for the amount of weight they bring on board, no matter how that weight is made up?

I have repeadly said that it could work

I dont like flying to Manchester for a match with just hand luggage and paying the same as other people

I just think an allowance could be made if someone has a medical cert, you dont have to be a mind reader to read one

Would you charge someone for the weight of their wheel chair?

So no then

I presume as it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities

Correct me if I am wrong

I will go back to my point that I said to 4 posts ago, its something that I would hope they take in to consideration as a business if they were to go down that route

Hold on a minute now. A disability is not the same thing as a medical condition. Therefore, a doctor’s certificate will get no-one off the hook.

How much does it cost in fuel to move weight? Is the cost negligible in terms of fuel, if there are some overweight passengers onbaord, compared to the same number of people on the flight who wouldn’t be considered overweight.
How about putting a stop to Wall Street speculating on the price of crude oil?

It could be considered discrimination to charge anyone extra due to their own personal weight.

Seems to me the problem is airlines wanting to increase their profits, while decreasing seat sizes, so that even a person who isn’t considered overweight is uncomfortable on a flight.

In which country?

In Canada, 2008. Supreme Court of Canada upheld the Canada Transporation Agency’s ‘One person, one fare’ policy.

Was reading this too –

‘A UK court ruling could pave the way for the introduction of a “fat tax” for obese fliers, a leading barrister has claimed.

The judgement, made by the Court of Appeal, could also prevent passengers with a disability from seeking compensation from their airline if they receive unsatisfactory or inconsistent treatment during a flight.

Judges decided that key elements of Britain’s disability and discrimination laws do not apply once passengers have boarded an aircraft.

But both cases were dismissed after the court ruled that the Montreal Convention, a framework of international rules and regulations on air travel, should take precedence over British law.

Daniel Barnett, a barrister at Outer Temple Chambers, says the ruling would give airlines “laissez-faire to disregard seat allocation promises” made prior to boarding..’

The airline I work for has a option for obese passengers to buy a second seat in advance. We refund the second fare after the flight even if the flight is full.It used to be the case we would only refund it if there were open seats but that wasn’t really helping out the average sized folks getting pinned to the bulkheads.

The new refund policy works well enough and encourages people who need the accomodation to do it in advance.They have nothing to lose and some have even reported that buying that second seat for themeselves was what got them back in the gym and/or out of the chipper.

If the plane is packed and some poor fucker is jammed into some Wisconsin cheese guzzlers armpit we’ll sort them out with a travel voucher or a shedload of drink.

As for weight and balance. There are a lot of variables. But the weight (freight,bags and pax) we carry is based on what’s left over in payload after sufficient fuel is onboard to safely complete the planned flight with a calculated reserve based on weather (at point of origin,en route and arrival). It’s all much more of an issue for an inter-island flight on a 10 seater Samoan plane than on a short haul in a 737.

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