For decades, airfare has been calculated based on the number of seats passengers wanted but now an airline is looking to buck the tried-and-true method for a payment system that they're calling the "fairest way of travelling".
Air Samoa will now charge airfare based on the combined weight of a passenger and their luggage. Using that weight, passengers are charged a set price per kilogram. Prices range from $1 to $4.16 per kilogram and vary depending on the length of the route according to the BBC.
"This is the fairest way of travelling," chief executive of Samoa Air, Chris Langton, told ABC Radio. "There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything – it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo."
The process can be broken down into four steps according to the airline's website. Passengers choose their flight, enter their estimated body weight and the weight of their luggage. Airfare is then calculated and priced accordingly. Passengers can prepay their "guestimated" weight online to ensure that much weight is allocated to the flight. However, passengers and their luggage will be weighed again at the airport to ensure that everything adds up.
Langton says his policy has been kinder to families since the weight of children typically means it costs less for them to fly under Air Samoa's new policy.
"A family of maybe two adults and a couple of mid-sized kids ... can travel at considerably less than what they were being charged before," he said according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The airline's move comes days after Bharat Bhatta, Norwegian economist, suggested that obese passengers should pay more when flying since it costs airlines more for the extra fuel to fly them to their destination.
"To the degree that passengers lose weight and therefore reduce fares, the savings that result are net benefits to the passengers," Bhatta wrote this week in the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management.
As the Guardian reports, the island of Samoa is one of the fattest countries in the world more than 80 per cent of the country's population age 15 and over considered overweight. Air Samoa typically serves domestic routes, and other Pacific destinations such as American Samoa, North Cook Islands and French Polynesia using two aircraft: a Britten-Norman BN2A Islander twin-engine and a Cessna 172 single engine propeller plane.