Would you pay by weight to fly?

The islands in the Pacific have the highest rates of obesity in the world. According to a 2011 report, 86% of Samoans are overweight, the fourth worst of all nations.

In comparison, the same study found that 69% of Americans are overweight, 61% off Australians and 22% of Japanese. (I found that hard to believe.)

Samoa Air has begun pricing it’s international flights based on the weight of passengers and their bags. Depending on the flight, each kilogram (2.2 lbs.) costs $.93 to a $1.06. An average man weighing 195 pounds with a 35 pound bag would pay $97.00, while competitors would charge $130. – $140. for a similar trip between Apia, Samoa, and Pago-Pago American Samoa.

The airline’s chief executive, Chris Langton, said, “Planes are run by weight and not by seats, 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.”

Only Samoa’s Pacific neighbors of Nauru, the Cook Islands, and Tonga rank worse for obesity.

I remember boarding a flight from Maui to the mainland when we were made to sit on the tarmac (with no air conditioning) for 90 minutes. The hold-up? A woman who refused to use a seat-belt extender, needed because of her ample girth. Since the normal seatbelt would not go around her, the flight attendant attached an extender, which basically looked exactly like the seatblet, only longer. Apparently the woman felt this was not as safe, and she and the flight crew were at a stand-off.

Eventually, she was removed from the flight, and we are all allowed to get on with our trip.

So tell me, would you pay to fly by weight? And do you feel this is a fair way to price a flight?

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Aloha, Jamaica

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