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Mixed reactions to Samoa Air’s ‘pay-per-weigh’ fare

Samoa Air’s new concept of pay-per-weigh to fly on its routes have attracted not only international news media attention but others around the world — some embracing the idea and others calling it discriminatory.


Comments posted on the airline’s Facebook page, shows the mixed reaction and some news organizations in the South Pacific region have carried out their own survey, all showing mixed reactions. Support for this concept has reached as far as Europe.


“Congratulations from Germany. For all these years I´m waiting for this. Keep it up,” according to comments posted by a male supporter. Another comment from Europe said, “You people are doing what I have asked for in years, a fair service for everyone! Could you open a route to Denmark anytime soon, please? — keep up the good work!”


Samoa Air operates two nine-seat planes on its international route that includes American Samoa, with flights launched Wednesday, the same day Samoa News learned that there was a delay in the launching of the airline’s inter Samoa flights. 


The airline had announced in a news release early last month that they would be launching inter Samoa flights on Mar. 16 but later the news media in Samoa reported that it was delayed to Apr. 1 and then again delayed until Apr. 3.


The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued on Jan. 8 the initial order approving Samoa Air’s foreign air carrier application and submitted the document to the U.S. President or his designee for disapproval with in 61-days, in accordance with federal law. There was also a 21-day grace period given to the public to offer comments as to why the order should not be made final.


In a five-page “final order” released Apr. 3rd, USDOT’s Paul L. Gretch, director of the Office of International Aviation, says there were no objections received and no disapproval by the Executive Office.  Therefore, the final order granting the application was granted.


According to USDOT, a foreign air carrier permit allows Samoa Air to engage in scheduled and chartered air transportation of persons, property, and mail: from points behind the Independent State of Samoa, via the Independent State of Samoa and intermediate points, to any point or points in American Samoa and beyond; and  for all cargo service or services, between American Samoa and any point or points.


There has not been much talk on island regarding this scheme, which is the first in the world, while residents are keeping a close watch on these developments.


Samoa Air has also responded to questions regarding a pregnant woman, traveling on the airline.  “We weigh all passengers, and the fare is based on their weight. The same as we would weigh a parent with a toddler. Remember that with the extra weight that the mother may be carrying being pregnant, she will also be designated more seat space within the aircraft (using our system) — ensuring a more comfortable flight,” the airline said on its Facebook page.


Following the launching of its American Samoa flights from both Savai’i and Upolu, Samoa Air issued a new statement as news media reports on the new pay-per-weight scheme, picks up steam around the world.


“We at Samoa Air are keeping airfares fair, by charging our passengers only for what they weigh. You are the master of your Air 'fair', you decide how much (or little) your ticket will cost. No more exorbitant excess baggage fees, or being charged for baggage you may not carry. Your weight plus your baggage items, is what you pay for. Simple,” the statement says and reiterated what is being labeled by some news media as the company’s theme “The Sky's the Limit!”