weighty issues

Pricing Flights on the Pay-by-Weight Airline

Photo: www.samoaair.ws

Tiny island-hopping airline Samoa Air recently introduced pay-by-weight pricing, altering ticket prices according to the weight of passengers and their bags. Samoa Air’s fleet consists of two nine-passenger planes and one three-passenger air taxi; like most vessels of that size in the region, passengers and cargo must be weighed before take-off for safety purposes. Samoa Air is the first to use that system for pricing.

Curious, we checked out the pay-by-weight calculator on Samoa Air’s website. Passengers enter their weights to get a “guesstimate” price. Though potentially mortifying, the system is also charmingly frank: mass is mass, a kilogram of body no different than a kilogram of clothes. Nothing to be ashamed of, just something we all deal with, particularly those tasked with making steel ships glide on air. With fees around $1/kg, we calculated the prices for a 93-mile flight from Faleolo to Pago Pago for Kate Moss, Oprah, the Oxford English Dictionary, and more.

All prices have been converted to U.S. dollars.

Kate Moss in the nineties: $41.50
Kate Moss in the nineties carrying the Oxford English Dictionary: $99.60

World’s heaviest man: $516.43
World’s heaviest carrot: $7.93
World’s heaviest object lifted with an ear$47.03
World’s heaviest man, lifting world’s heaviest ear-lifted object while eating the world’s heaviest carrot: $571.39

Kim Kardashian, according to InTouch: $83.65
Kim Kardashian, according to Kim Kardashian: $58.56

Oprah at her heaviest: $99.14
Oprah at her lightest: $66.92
Oprah today: $83.66

Kim Kardashian according to Kim Kardashian if her unborn child were a full-grown modern Oprah: $142.22
Kim Kardashian according to In Touch if her unborn child were a full-grown Oprah at her heaviest: $182.79

Barack Obama: $72.25
Barack Obama holding an average newborn baby: $75.39
Barack Obama holding the largest newborn baby ever: $76.77

Samoa Air pilot and chief executive Chris Langton says no passenger has refused to be weighed in yet. In a nation where 86 percent of citizens are overweight, he says he’s given free flights to a handful of regular customers to reward them for losing weight.