April Fools Joke Comes to Life As Airline Starts Charging Passengers Based on How Much They Weigh

Samoa Air had more than few people reaching for the calendar this morning to check if April Fools' Day had been extended after the company announced plans to ditch the standard pay-per-seat model in favor of a "fairer" pay-by-weight model.

"Airlines don't run on seats, they run on weight, and particularly the smaller the aircraft you are in the less variance you can accept in terms of the difference in weight between passengers," Samoa Air boss Chris Langton told Australia's ABC Radio. "Anyone who travels at times has felt they have been paying for half of the passenger next to them."

Under the new model, passengers will pay a flat fee of between $0.50 and $2 per kilogram depending on the destination. Each passenger's luggage will also be factored into their overall weight.

"So a family of maybe two adults and a couple of mid-sized kids and younger children can travel at considerable less than what they were being charged before," Langston told the radio station.

If this policy sounds familiar to you, it might be because Air New Zealand claimed to have instituted a similar fare program back on April Fools Day 2011.

But reached for comment by New Zealand's 3 News, a spokeswoman for the airline said the company's new "pay only what you weigh" model is no joke.

Be that as it may, a 3 News comparison of Samoa Air's new air travel rates with comparable airlines flying along similar routes found that, while innovative, the new policy doesn't appear to save the average passenger that much money.

Langston, however, believes pay-by-weight has an invaluable benefit that makes the scheme well worth it.

"People generally are becoming much more weight conscious," he said. "That's a health issue in some areas."

And Samoa is certainly one of those areas. According to recent statistics, over 91.1 percent of residents age 15 and over are overweight.

[screengrab via Samoa Air]