Airline That Charges Passengers by Weight Should Be Grounded

Say What!? 33

airplane cabinIf it wasn't bad enough that some employers think it's okay to coerce their employees into getting health screenings that reveal personal information about their weight and body fat percentage, now, at least one airline is making good on a disturbing promise that's been haunting air travel for a few years. They're making passengers pay a fare based on their body weight. (Oh, how I wish I was making a belated April Fools' Day joke!)

Samoa Air is now weighing passengers and their baggage, and rates start at $1 per kilo (about 2.2 pounds). For longer flights, rates run as high as $4.16 per kilo. The airline's website prompts fliers to "guesstimate" their weight when booking and prepay that amount. If you're off, though, no worries! They'll weigh you to double-check when you get to the airport. What. The. Hell!?

The Samoa Airlines CEO recently defended the practice to ABC Radio:

People have always traveled on the basis of their seat, but as any airline operator knows, airplanes don't run on seats. They run on weight.

He also said that, hey, parents should feel like they're getting a break, because presumably lightweight children are usually forced to pay the same price as a heavier adult. But not on Samoa Air! (Excuse me while I go bang my head into a wall.)

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I'm not disputing the fact that the CEO is arguing -- that weight really does matter on a plane -- but who in the world would really be okay with being subjected to this practice? Most people refuse to be weighed at their annual doctor's visit! Let alone at the airport. And then having to pay based on what you weigh ... so humiliating!

Talk about missing a sensitivity chip. Samoa Air clearly needs to figure out a better, more humane way to handle their fuel efficiency issues than resorting to objectification of their consumers and treating them like cattle. It's simply not a solution -- it's just plain sick.

Would you ever be okay with this as an airline passenger?


Image via Phillip Capper/Flickr

general health, obesity