Samoa Air has raised a few eyebrows this week by hiring on our old nemesis, the scale, as a ticket taker.

In what is being billed as the world’s first pay what you weigh system the flag bearing carrier of Samoa advertises its new system (which could have easily been dismissed as an April Fool’s joke yesterday, but seems to be on the level) as something that puts the passenger in control.

“You are the master” when it comes to your airfare. “You decide how much (or little) your ticket will cost.” They’ve even gone so far as to label the cost an air-“fair.”

In recent years controversy has erupted around some airlines charging obese passengers for a second seat on airplanes. This case (and the way that the airline has approached their advertising) seems to add more confusion to the scene. Is it actually ‘fair’ to charge a 190cm tall man who is fit and healthy for his frame more than a woman who is 160cm tall and fit and healthy for her frame? Is it right to charge more to people who have naturally thicker bodies but are otherwise not overweight?

The process begins when you book your ticket online and submit an estimated weight to calculate your ticket price. “Don’t worry,” the company explains on its website, “we will weigh you again at the airport.”

What is most disturbing about this system is the repeated insistence that “you are the master of how much (or little!) you air ticket will cost.”

The you/your error in that last quote is entirely their own and as of press time is still up on their website.

The frightening implication that goes along with this master-of-your-own-fare nonsense is essentially that you can’t complain about being charged more than the person next to you because you are completely capable of developing an eating disorder to save a few dollars.



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