Pay-by-weight airfare, fair or unfair?


(photo credit: foshydog)

Recently, Samoa Air started to charge by weight. What this means is that you would pay for what you weigh and what you want to carry on, as in bags. How it works: you would go on their site and guesstimate your weight and get a rough idea of your total trip cost. But it doesn’t stop there, once you get to the airport you will be weighted again, so there is no room for white lies or fibbing.

While this may sound very attractive to people who are on the lower weight side or business travelers who may not need to carry a lot of bags, for those that are on the heavier side, this may be a form of “concern bullying” as many media outlets have put it.
Attractive or unattractive as it may sound, could this be the future of traveling? For years, I’ve been complaining about paying full fares for my children. On our last trip to Chicago, I paid for 3 full fares which equated to 3 seats, but in reality, we occupied 1.5 seats. My 7 year old was sitting on half a seat and my 3 year old sat on my lap.

For my family, since we are all on the lighter side, it would work to our advantage. But having said that, I don’t feel like it’s the right direction for other airlines to follow suit. We’re already having to go through the TSA pat downs, but having to get yourself on a scale in the middle of an airport just pushes the envelope.

If other airlines decided to go in this direction, it would be most beneficial to:

- Families with children
- Lightweight passengers
- Business travelers who don’t need extra luggage

On the positive note, if you were any one of the 3 mentioned scenarios above, you could save a whole lot of money. It may also allow families who couldn’t travel before because of the high costs to finally travel and enjoy life.

Another thing to note is that approximately 4 years ago, United Airlines announced that they would be charging for 2 seats if you couldn’t fit in the lap belt. So while this whole pay-by-weight pricing recently brought up concerns and discussions, it seems that airlines are trying to figure out ways to either cut costs or fine those that are adding to their operational costs (more weight = more gas).

What are your thoughts on this pay-by-weight pricing? Would you want other airlines to follow suit? Please tell us your thoughts below.


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