Samoa airline introduces pay-by-weight pricing

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — A tiny Samoan airline is giving passengers a big reason to lose weight: tickets sold not by the seat, but by the kilogram.

Samoa Air planned Wednesday to start pricing its first international flights based on the weight of its passengers and their bags. Depending on the flight, each kilogram (2.2 pounds) costs 93 cents to $1.06.

That means the average American man weighing 195 pounds with a 35-pound bag would pay $97 to go one-way between Apia, Samoa, and Pago Pago, American Samoa. Competitors typically charge $130 to $140 roundtrip for similar routes.

The airline, which launched in June. has been using the pricing model since November, but in January the U.S. Department of Transportation approved its international route between American Samoa and Samoa.

The airline’s chief executive, Chris Langton, said Tuesday that “planes are run by weight and not by seat, and travelers should be educated on this important issue. The plane can only carry a certain amount of weight and that weight needs to be paid. There is no other way.”

Travelers in the region already are weighed before they fly because the planes used between the islands are small, said David Vaeafe, executive director of the American Samoa Visitors Bureau. Samoa Air’s fleet includes two nine-passenger planes for commercial routes and a three-passenger plane for an air taxi service.

Langton said passengers who need more room will be given one row on the plane to ensure comfort.

Vaeafe said the pricing system has worked in Samoa but it’s not clear whether it will be embraced by travelers in the U.S. territory.

Langton said the airline has received mixed responses since it began promoting the pricing on its website and Facebook.

Langton said some passengers have been surprised, but no one has refused to be weighed yet. He said he’s given away a few free flights to some regular customers who lost weight, and that health officials in American Samoa were among the first to contact the airline when the pricing structure was announced.

“They want to ride on the awareness this is raising and use it as a medium to address obesity issues,” he said.

More in Herald Business Journal

More business, more competition for Everett kidney dialysis center

Nonprofit Puget Sound Kidney Centers sees large for-profit competitors enter state market.

Suitors, beware: In Seattle, Amazon also brought disruption

The company has grown there from a workforce of about 5,000 to more than 40,000 in 33 buildings.

Tax cuts won’t generate as much economic growth as Trump says

There’s little historical evidence that tax cuts actually pay off in boosting economic growth long-term.

How the Airbus-Bombardier alliance could squeeze Boeing

“It makes Boeing look like they’ve been playing tic tac toe against a chess master,” says an analyst.

City of Marysville adds HR director

The City of Marysville has hired Bill Kolden as its new human… Continue reading

Economic Alliance to host After Hours event at Clothes for Kids

The next Economic Alliance Snohomish County Business After Hours event is from… Continue reading

Speed Networking planned by Lynnwood Chamber

The next Good Morning, Lynnwood Chamber Speed Networking is from 7:30 to… Continue reading

More self-awareness could help build a better medical system

Marcy Shimada of Edmonds Family Medicine writes the second in a series about fixing our health care system.

Scratch-and-sniff brochures aimed to prevent disaster

Puget Sound Energy has distributed more than a million scratch-and-sniff brochures to… Continue reading

Most Read