Samoa Airlines charges passengers by weight
A Samoa Airlines plane (Supplied)
Samoa Air has decided to do what other airlines have only ever joked about – charge passengers by weight.
The airline's new fare schedule sees travellers charged between WST$1 (NZ$0.52) and $4.45 (NZ$2.32) per kilogram to fly to various destinations in the Pacific.
The weight of each person's luggage will also be taken into account when calculating their fare.
Samoa Air's chief executive Chris Langton told ABC radio he believes it is the fairest system for charging passengers.
"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," he said.
"Anyone who travels at times has felt they have been paying for half of the passenger next to them."
Mr Langton says families will benefit most because it will be cheaper for their children to fly.
"So a family of maybe two adults and a couple of mid-sized kids and younger children can travel at considerable less than what they were being charged before."
A 75kg person with 15kg of luggage flying from Fagali'i in Western Samoa to Pago Pago in American Samoa will be charged $1.66 (NZ$0.86) per kilogram, giving a total fare of $149.40 (NZ$77.72).
No direct comparison is available between the airline's new and old fares. But the same flight on Polynesian Airlines would still work out cheaper, costing a flat fare of $135 (NZ$70.24).
Samoa Air is not the first to propose the weighty fare scale – Air New Zealand suggested it in 2011, but it was an April Fools' Day joke. Air New Zealand would not comment on Samoa Air's uptake of the policy.
A Samoa Air spokeswoman confirmed to 3 News that it wasn't a prank. Instead, the airline hopes its sliding scale might help increase awareness about obesity.