Thursday, 4 April 2013

A BIG Issue



I am really bad at travelling light. Even when I was younger and my Mom would pack my suitcase for me, I would always shove clothes in at the last minute “just in case I need them”. Needless to say, I have been charged for excess baggage more than once and this whole system (as well as airports as a whole) is something that really grates my carrot! Whenever this happens, it is not uncommon for me to go on a long rampage about the injustice of it all – why should a 53kg person pay R200 for 8kgs extra luggage, when a brute of a human being weighing twice (sometimes three times) as much as I do gets off scott free?

So imagine my glee when yesterday I stumbled upon a news report announcing that the very small (but obviously super awesome) airline Samoa Air has started charging their passengers for international flights based on the joint weight of themselves and their luggage. At an average rate of $1.00 p/kg, a ticket for myself and my 28kg luggage would cost approximately $81 – bargain! Despite the expected uproar that this news has caused, Samoa Air Chief Executive Chris Langton justifies the new policy by saying, “Planes are run by weight and not seat - the plane can only carry a certain amount of weight and that weight needs to be paid.”

I’m not sure whether the structure of the model has been completely thought out (maybe passengers should only be charged if they very overweight for their average height and age), but the basic concept definitely has its merits. Obviously there are all sorts of ethical implications with the scheme – like the fact that on average men weigh more than women, and that some ethnicities have larger bone structures than others to name but a few – but considering today’s continual rise in obesity, I’m just glad that someone has finally recognised this very serious (and very large) problem. Samoa Air has already been accused of discrimination through their blatant support of “body fascism”, and no doubt their rugby team is less than enthused with the idea, but I for one doff my hat to the person who had the guts to suggest it. 

Find out more at washingtonpost.com

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