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Published on : Thursday, October 6, 2016
A controversial new policy has been introduced for travellers flying out of Pago Pago International Airport in American Samoa which says that they can no longer preselect seats on Hawaiian Airlines flights. This new rule is based more on the ‘weight on-board’ concept where the staffs are distributing the seats according to their physique.
Hawaiian Airlines flights however have denied the widespread reports from the passengers that they will be weighed at Pago Pago before boarding. Spokeswoman Tara Shimooka said that passengers would not be weighed at any point during the check-in or boarding process. However, the airline has confirmed seating arrangements on flights out of Pago Pago had changed to maintain a limited number of adults per row and ensure some sections were reserved for smaller children. And this was apparently, why passengers were no longer able to choose their own seats. This rule is in order to make aeroplane weight and balance limitations in place.
A survey by the airline showed an average passenger weight was increasing, which has forced it to redistribute the load in its Boeing 767 cabins to meet manufacturer’s guidelines. So, although the carrier maintained the focus on weight for a safety issue, it’s evidently not gone wall with the flyers!
The airline admitted it has already received several complaints from passengers who accused the new policy as being discriminatory and offensive. Hawaiian Airlines is facing a tough time explaining the policy’s rationale. Some passengers went to the extent of questioning if this new rule is for safety issue, were they flying unsafely for all these years?
Commentators have suggested the policy — which only applied to Hawaiian Airlines flights out of American Samoa — was discriminatory.
US-based airlines, including United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines, require passengers to purchase a second ticket if they cannot fit comfortably in their seat with both armrests down.