“Pay As You Weigh” is finally starting – in Samoa

Samoa Air, the small airline that flies small aircraft between places in Samoa, American Samoa, French Polynesia, and other island nations, is the first airline to start a “pay as you weigh” scheme.  Does it make sense?  The airline thinks it does.

When I think of Samoa, I think of people like Dwane “The Rock” Johnson, or the famous Samoan wrestler, Umaga.  These men are not small in the least (Umaga weighed in at 160kilograms or 350pounds); I don’t know what The Rock weighs.  And I typically think of larger people; Samoans aren’t well known for being svelte.

If you check Samoa Air’s flight schedule, you can see their new pricing.  Small hops, like Faleolo to Maota, which is under 20 miles away – but across the Apolima Straight, on a different island, cost Samoan Tala 1 per kilogram that the person weighs (WTS 1 = US$0.46).  So sending a 160 kilogram person on that route would cost WTS 160 or US$73.  Other flights would cost more, such as Maota to Pago Pago on America Samoa, which is about 100 miles away; those flights would be WTS 2.40 (about US$1.10) per kilogram.

The airline says it’s more fair, and that, say, families traveling with small children would make out like bandits, paying significantly less than they are now.  And they maintain that it’ll put Samoans into a healthier lifestyle frame of mind.  Me?  I’m not totally convinced.

What do you think?

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