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Samoa Air defends policy to charge passengers by weight

The world's first airline to charge passengers by their weight rather than per seat says the policy has helped to raise obesity awareness and improve public health. Samoa Air, the Pacific national airline which flies domestically and last week began connecting Samoa to American Samoa, allows passengers to nominate their weight and then measures them on scales at the airport.Passengers do not pay for a seat but pay a fixed price per kilogram, which varies according to the length of the route.Analysts believe other airlines around the world are likely to follow suit, especially as the rising weight of populations adds to fuel costs. Some airlines in the United States have already begun forcing passengers who cannot fit in a single seat to buy two tickets.The Pacific island nations have some of the world's highest rates of obesity, with Samoa usually included in the top ten countries for obesity levels.The head of Samoa Air, Chris Langton, said the new system was fairer and that some families with small children were now paying substantially cheaper fares.