Airline Creates An ‘XL Class’ For Overweight Passengers

Tiny Samoa Air was the first airline to charge passengers based on weight, and now, the company is creating a special “XL class” for larger passengers.

The controversial “pay what you weigh” airline is now creating a wider row on its aircrafts to comfortably seat passengers who weigh more than 130 kilograms (286 pounds). The new row gives larger passengers an extra 12 to 14 inches of space, alleviating the discomfort large people often face when sitting in small airline seats.

“Quite often the access is difficult, and even the space between the seats is enough that even when you’ve squeezed into the seats there’s no room for your legs. That’s where the XL has come in – we do it with shirts and clothing and other things where we have different standard sizes,” Chris Langton, the airline’s head, tells Business Insider.

Samoa Airline’s efforts to accommodate larger passengers make sense in Samoa, a country with one of the world’s highest rates of obesity. When flying on the airline, passengers pay a fixed price per kilogram for themselves and their luggage that varies anywhere from about $1 to $4 per kilogram, depending on the length of the route. Samoa Airlines seems to believe other carriers will follow suit and soon develop similar methods of calculating rates for passengers.

Trouble In Paradise: Cyclone Evan Hammers Samoa And Fiji (PHOTOS)

A powerful cyclone that left at least four dead as it ripped through Samoa late last week caused flooding and structural damage when it hammered Fiji on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph is reporting.

The worst of Cyclone Evan, the first tropical cyclone of the season in the South Pacific, seems to have passed, but the storm left a path of destruction as it made its way through Wallis and Futuna, Tonga, American Samoa, Samoa and Fiji.

Fijian authorities scrambled to evacuate more than 8,000 residents and tourists in low-lying areas on Sunday, and airlines suspended flights in and out of the country. Two ships ran aground near the entrance to Suva Harbour as 160 mile per hour winds hammered the Fijian capital.

The storm is said to be the worst cyclone to hit the island in 20 years. It caused flooding, structural damage and downed power lines, but so far there have been no reports of deaths or serious injuries in Fiji.

Four deaths have been confirmed from Samoa, where 10 people remain missing and thousands of people have been left homeless.

To see more of the damage in Samoa and Fiji, click through the gallery below.


Photo of the Day (12.24.10)

For Santa, Christmas Eve must be a royal pain in the ass. First of all, he obviously has to work at an unreasonable, unfathomable pace. He is also forced to grapple with potentially uncooperative reindeer and salty elves–not to mention children who just won’t go to bed. One imagines that by the time Santa hits Apia he’s ready to jet back to the tundra and hibernate for a good long month.

On top of everything else, Santa has to constantly watch where he’s going, lest he plunge face-first into a building. In this image, taken in Ljubljana by Gadling Flickr pool contributor pirano, he’s done just that.

Got a funny image of Santa? Upload it to the Gadling Flickr pool. If we like it we’ll select is as a future Photo of the Day.

New travel guide spoofs, “Where not to go before you die.”

Prolific travel writer Catherine Price is over the whole “bucket list” trend. Annoyed that a crappy movie spawned an obnoxious national book craze of all the things one must see, do, and visit before they kick it, Price decided to strike back. Her new release, 101 Things Not to See Before You Die is a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek compendium based on Price’s own travel experiences.

Some of Price’s picks include The Beijing Tap Water Museum, Times Square on New Year’s Eve, rush hour on a Samoan bus, and Nevada. But the 31-year-old New Yorker is far from being a jaded crank. In a recent CNN interview, she explained, “People shouldn’t take it too seriously– it wasn’t my intention to say all of these places are actually horrible. Some of them are pretty interesting. (The motivation…) was just to liberate people from the feeling there are all these things they have to do. I’m guilty of this myself, but if you’re just going through things checking off lists then you’re not really experiencing them. You’re just doing it like an assignment.”