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Airline Introduces Pay-By-Weight Ticket Pricing

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (CBS NEWS/AP) – A tiny Samoa airline is giving passengers a big reason to lose weight: Tickets sold not by the seat, but by the kilogram.

Samoa Air planned on Wednesday to start pricing its first international flights based on the weight of its passengers and their bags. Depending on the flight, each kilogram (2.2 pounds) costs 93 cents to $1.06.

That means the average American man weighing 195 pounds with a 35-pound bag would pay $97 to go one-way between Apia, Samoa, and Pago Pago, American Samoa. Competitors typically charge $130 to $140 roundtrip for similar routes.

The weight-based pricing is not new to the airline, which launched in June. It has been using the pricing model since November, but in January the U.S. Department of Transportation approved its international route between American Samoa and Samoa.

The airline’s chief executive, Chris Langton, said Tuesday that “planes are run by weight and not by seat, and travelers should be educated on this important issue. The plane can only carry a certain amount of weight and that weight needs to be paid. There is no other way.”

Langton, a pilot himself, said when he flew for other airlines, he brought up the idea to his bosses to charge by weight, but they considered weight as too sensitive an issue to address.

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