In a move that has invited flak from many passengers, the Pago Pago International Airport in American Samoa has now decided to weigh its passengers before they are let on board. This is being done keeping in mind airplane weight and balance limitations, according to authorities. The New York Post reported that the gate attendants analyse passengers who are to board the aircraft and some of them are asked to step on the weighing scale for weight distribution purposes.
The report said that since the passengers are being weighed in order to distribute the weight throughout the plane, they will also not be allowed to pre-select seats as the airlines will be telling them where to sit. According to this mandate, the planes will have only a specific number of adults for each row – and some rows are designated for children only.
According to the Telegraph, the matter came to light when two American Samoan businessmen filed a complaint against the airlines to the US Transportation Department. They said they airlines weighed them before they boarded a flight from Honolulu. The two businessmen were assigned distinct seats in order to keep the airplane weight balanced.
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The two businessmen, Avamua Dave Haleck and Daniel King, spoke to radio New Zealand, according to the New York Post, and said they were told that these were precautionary safety measures. “So have we been flying unsafe for all these years?” Haleck was quoted as saying.
The frustration of passengers is palpable as the airlines customer service executives have said that they are finding it difficult explaining it to the passengers and many have already complained about this. According to reports, a survey conducted by the airlines showed that the average weight of passengers was increasing, forcing them to resort to these measures.
Samoa Airlines has had weight related rules earlier as well. In 2013, they asked passengers to pay extra for the weight of the passengers and their luggage combined, charging one Samoan tālā per kg.