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Samoa Air boss defends charging passengers by weight

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Samoa Air boss defends charging passengers by weight

Old 2nd Apr 2013, 15:00
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Samoa Air boss defends charging passengers by weight

BBC News - Samoa Air boss defends charging passengers by weight

Some extracts from the article:
Rather than pay for a seat, passengers pay a fixed price per kilogram, which varies depending on the route length.
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Air Samoa's rates range from $1 (65p) to around $4.16 per kilogram. Passengers pay for the combined weight of themselves and their baggage.
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"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,"
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"Anyone who travels at times has felt they have been paying for half of the passenger next to them."
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Under the new model, Mr Langton described how some families with children were now paying cheaper fares. "There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything - it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo," he said.

Mr Langton said he believed that charging by weight was "the concept of the future."
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Old 2nd Apr 2013, 15:10
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So ... in the case of a pregnant female she is charged, per kilo, for an unborn child yet (mainstream operators) once that child is born won't charge a dime for it until it is more than two years old?

The guy does have a point that costs are per kilo but charges need to be disguised a little bit better
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Old 2nd Apr 2013, 15:18
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Free advertising from the worlds media, who know this type of thing will be widely read and commented upon. Expect we will see comments that this is discriminatory and unfair, when in fact it is neither.

Can see lots of practical difficulties in putting it into practice, prepayment would be difficult for example. Wish them luck, but I don't see this working for long.
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Old 2nd Apr 2013, 16:51
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Article states that pax enter their weight wehn booking - and then get weighed at check-in for confirmation. Which is what many in these forums have been asking for!

In their small aircraft and with limited route structure, it can probably work.
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Old 2nd Apr 2013, 17:42
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My first reaction was "April Fool" but if it is someone has gone all the way and built a website which is stiil there (1740 2 April UK time).

I'll be interested to see how it works. Firstly, how many people will be truthful about their weight and, even if they are truthful, what happens if the airport weighs you as heavier? Secondly, I don't know if they have any interline agreements with through fares but if they do how's that going to work?
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Old 2nd Apr 2013, 17:54
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Take a look at the photo on this link to the New Zealand Herald!

Fat passengers hit in the pocket - National - NZ Herald News

I guess the drinks trolley stops halfway down the aircraft and just goes back to where it started...
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Old 2nd Apr 2013, 18:14
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Great idea! Imagine at LHR, getting all those pax to a weigh in! Good grief!
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 02:23
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April fools joke surely? That photograph has been knocking about on the internet for years
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 07:27
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It's all about this - 2010 New Zealand Fletcher FU24 crash
The operator used standard pax weights, resulting in an MTOW violation. The COG was was also outside the aft limit before the take-off.

"The aircraft pitched upwards until it was almost vertical. At around 350 feet, the aircraft rolled to the left so the nose was pointing down, and dived towards the ground"

Air Samoa operates 2 Britten-Norman Islanders (pax in the low double digits) and 1 Cessna 172 (at last count - 3 pax)

NOW do we all understand why Air Samoa needs to keep tabs on weight?

Last edited by RevMan2; 3rd Apr 2013 at 07:27.
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 10:03
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Keeping tabs on weight is fine and It makes sense to use actual weights for w&b calculations.

However it IS discriminatory to charge people based on their weight.
Whilst one could argue that obesity is something that people could control themselves (besides some legitimate medical reasons), how does it work for tall people?
I did not choose to be tall, nor do I have any control over my height.
I am 95kg/210lbs. Sounds like a lot, but given my height, I am nowhere near being obese. In fact, my height vs weight ratio is spot on.
So why should I pay more than say a short, obese person perhaps weighing 80kg.

Whilst the headline gives some good press coverage, I can't see how this concept would work legally.
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 10:18
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Also take into account Pressure, Temp, runway lenght and surface. Now put on board the Samoa Rugby team!!.......
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 10:19
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Well, as one who is not a lightweight, I don't find it discriminatory at all. I think it quite fair, practical and safe for a small airline operating that sort of fleet. It would never work outside that particular environment so there's no need to get too excited about it. Even RYR wouldn't go there as it would seriously increase handling costs and slow down turnaround efficiency. Come on guys, get serious.
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 10:48
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They are not charging per passenger weight, they are charging for total weight - their own, their hand luggage and their hold luggage.

How is this discriminatory?

FYI this is how airlines charge for cargo - but without the minimum charge or notional weight calculations (to take account of volume as well as actual weight) - and that is not considered discriminatory. A kilo is a kilo.
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 10:52
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I remember when air journeys used to cost an arm and a leg
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 13:40
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Given what REVman2 has discovered about their fleet, this is far from suprising. What is also far from surprising is the way the media will use this example to create a ridiculous story about how it might be coming to an A380 near you...

I do wish people would understand what the word discrimination means, though. This is clearly discriminatory in the sense that passengers with different weights are treated in a different manner, but that doesn't mean it's unlawful...

Every time I choose a new employee I am discriminating against the other candidates but as long as I don't discriminate in some defined ways then it's not only lawful, it's normal!

Last edited by Captivep; 3rd Apr 2013 at 13:41.
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 14:11
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Since this is a Professional Pilots website, using this logic one could reasonably argue that thin pilots should earn more than fat ones, since they are less of a cost burden on the company

Actually it is discriminatory in a bad sense. The only item of cost which is variable due to weight is the cost of fuel, and more fuel is burned in propelling the structure of the aircraft (and the contents of its fuel tanks) than the flesh and bones of the occupants. Crew salaries are the same regardless of whether the occupants are fat or thin, ditto airport and air navigation charges. Not to mention all the back office functions. Maybe the seats break more often and the undercarriage legs wear out quicker.

Of course, if you cannot use the full capacity of the aircraft because of all the fatties there could be revenue issues.

So the fair way to do it would be for the ticket to include a fixed element, probably about 90%, with the other 10% variable by weight. And then add a surcharge for all the resources used in administering the scheme.
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 14:33
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Of course, if you cannot use the full capacity of the aircraft because of all the fatties there could be revenue issues.
Let's do the math.

For arguments sake, let's take the seat capacity as 20, the average pax weight for W&B purposes as 100kg, revenue per pax as $200, no cargo and the aircraft's weight-constrained.
Maximum achievable revenue is thus $4000 with a payload of 2000kg
Now 50% of the passengers weigh 150kg and the rest weigh 100kg. You can thus sell maximally 15 seats (aircraft's weight-constrained) and achieve maximally $3000 revenue, a shortfall of $1000.

Now transfer this to a network-carrier, 100 seat, not weight-constrained scenario. You have 5 passengers who don't comfortably fit into one seat,meaning that your capacity is effectively reduced by 5 seats.

So who should compensate the airline for this artificial capacity (and thus earning potential) reduction. The people each occupying 2 seats or the other 90 passengers?
This has as much to do with unlawful discrimination as does charging for excess baggage.
In one case, the passenger is displacing potential passenger revenue, in the other, revenue cargo is being displaced.

Last edited by RevMan2; 3rd Apr 2013 at 14:34.
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 14:44
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There doesn't appear to be any consideration given to the logistics of implementing this. The UK low cost airlines are penalising passengers who don't do online check in but want to check in at the airport. It saves them staff manning the check in desks. If you implement a weight system how does it work? Do people estimate their weight when booking and pay accordingly, then at check in it's a weigh in and you pay more or get refunded dependant on your weight on the day? How many extra staff involved in doing this and what does it then do to check in queues? OK for a tiny airline like Samoan Air but imagine if Emirates tried it
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 15:02
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Do people estimate their weight when booking and pay accordingly, then at check in it's a weigh in and you pay more or get refunded dependant on your weight on the day?
Yes, that's what happens, as stated in post #4.
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 16:19
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Can't wait to see how long it will be before Ryanair jumps on this one.

Just imagine - instead of a check-in it will be a weigh-in to see if the booking weight stated online equals the actual weight.

Or you'll have to stand on a scales labelled
- Passenger must weigh less than XX kg
- Or pay EUR100 supplement
- Or passenger does not fly

Last edited by ilesmark; 3rd Apr 2013 at 16:19.
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