Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A new WEIGH to fly

I delayed posting this entry to avoid it being taken as an April Fools joke.

Samoa Air just announced a revolutionary new fare policy for their flights ... "Pay as you weigh".

Personally, I think its a stroke of genius. no doubt controversial, but it makes perfect commercial sense and is a bold move by a marginal carrier in doing something really innovative in airline ticket pricing.

A slimmed down version of me can obviously see the benefits of this, but my larger brethren will no doubt be the ones who see fault in this change.

I fly frequently, and usually with little luggage, but I have also been caught out sometimes with excess. This pinches me most, not because of the extortionate amounts airlines charge for this, but for 2 other reasons:

1) I fly so often without using my baggage "allowance" that I feel I should somehow get credit for that on the few occasions I go over (after all, the airline is making additional profit on my seat on those days I am travelling "lite"), and

2) Airlines profitability (amongst several other technical things) is based upon filling capacity at the minimum weight possible, but there are those that are heavier than others and that will affect the flight economics, and yet the baggage allowance granted to all is the same!

As the airline put it themselves,"You are the master of your airfare ... Your weight plus your baggage items is what you pay for. Simple."

They say they are keeping airfares fair, and I think that sounds right. Turn up at the airport, put your luggage on the scales, pop on the scales then yourself and your ticket price is calculated.

I do see some technical issues with this in so far as how you book in advance! I suppose you have to put your weight into the booking system and get your fare. There are bound to be a number of ladies (and some gents) trying to get away with white lies at that point, and then how tactful do the check in staff have to be with those culprits when they turn up at the check in desk!

I dont see this transforming the airline industry worldwide overnight ( I am guessing Samoa Air can get away with it as they are presumably a virtual monopoly where they fly), but I think it is very interesting to see a traditional business take a really fresh look at how things are done and be courageous enough to challenge a generations old status quo.

I think that's good innovation and I hope it works for them ... it's good enough motivation for me to keep the weight off!

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