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This airline won't allow you to choose your own seat, but why?

Window? Aisle? Emergency exit row? Choosing your own seat is all part of the flying experience, so then why has Hawaiian Airlines taken this option away on one of its popular routes?

Window? Aisle? Emergency exit row? Choosing your own seat is all part of the flying experience, so then why has Hawaiian Airlines taken this option away on one of its popular routes?

Starting from now, passengers flying between Honolulu and Pago Pago in American Samoa will no longer be able to pre-select their seats. Instead, passengers will be seated on the plane according to the dictates of staff who try to ensure that weight is evenly distributed throughout the aircraft.

Specifically, the policy requires that there are only a limited number of adults per row, and some sections on the plane reserved for children or left empty.

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The change in policy reflects a recent survey conducted by the airline that found that average passenger weight was increasing, requiring staff to redistribute the heavier passenger load to ensure in-air safety.

But the controversial new seating policy has angered many passengers, with allegations that it’s discriminatory and simply not right as the new rule only applies to flights in and out from American Samoa.

On the airlines side, its recent survey indicated that cabin weight was heavier than projected (15 kilograms more than Federal Aviation Administration average) for this specific service, and therefore the change in policy is needed to ensure that the airline conforms to the aircraft’s safety parameters.

“In extreme circumstances, where you have only adults in a row on many of the rows in the aircraft, exceed the ultimate loading limit of the floor on that aircraft.”

Jon Snook, Chief Operating Officer, Hawaiian Airlines, speaking to Radio New Zealand.

Balancing a plane’s load is an important safety consideration for any airline, and it’s the reason why passenger baggage is weighed upon check-in.

But Hawaiian Airlines isn’t out of the hot seat yet.

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Pictured: Avuma Dave Haleck (right) was one of two businessmen who complained to the US Department of Transportation / Source: dailymail.co.uk

Recently, two American Samoan businessmen filed complaints with the US Department of Transportation, alleging that they were weighed before being allowed to fly from American Samoa to Honolulu.

However, Hawaiian Airlines has denied that it will be weighing passengers on any of its flights, unlike Samoa Air who charge passengers by weight as official policy.

“We will not be weighing passengers at any point during the check-in or boarding process.”

Tara Shimooka, spokesperson for Hawaiian airlines. 

American Samoa has the highest rate of obesity in the world, with over 74 percent of its adult population considered obese, according to the CIA’s World Factbook.

However, those numbers are at least eight years old, and the actual percentage of obese adults in the country may in fact exceed 90 percent.

What do you think about this new seating policy? Let us know in the comments below.