Weigh to go! Airline requests personal info before flying

Airline to weight passengers before flight

How much do you weigh? Credit: pedalist/Shutterstock.com

Next month passengers boarding flights with one major operator will be asked to get weighed before they’re allowed to board, raising the question, will others follow suit?

Starting tomorrow, Air New Zealand will be conducting a test whereby passengers will be asked to step onto weighing scales before they board their plane, writes Metro, Wednesday, May 31.

The new rules will affect the estimated 10,000 people expected to fly with them in the month of June.

The idea of weighing passengers is something that the airline industry has avoided due to the taboo subject of people divulging such personal information.

So why start now? It appears that New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority has requested Air New Zealand to start gathering the information as part of a pilot program called the ‘International Passenger Weight Survey.’

The airlines’ official website gives further clarification on the scheme: ‘We are conducting a survey to measure the average weight of our passengers, including cabin baggage, on international flights.

‘For safety reasons we need to know the weight of all items onboard the aircraft. For passengers, crew and carry on bags, we use average weights that we get every five years through this survey.’

It went on to reassure travellers: ‘The scales do not display the weight as this is fed directly into a computer and recorded anonymously along with thousands of other passengers.

‘Participation is entirely voluntary and our staff will guide passengers through the weighing process. This will not delay flights and takes place before the gate to board your aircraft.

‘Thank you for contributing to the safe operation of our aircraft,’ the statement concluded.

At the moment most airlines use the ‘assumed mass’ method where each passenger is estimated to weigh 88 kg; or to be more specific 93 kg for men and 75 kg for women.

But from time to time, checks are taken to see if the average weight of passengers has changed. Air New Zealand actually recorded the weight of its customers in 2021, and it seems the figures are ready to be updated once more.

And knowing the weight of the aircraft is good for the environment too. If the actual weight is less than the assumed weight, less fuel is required.

It is claimed that airlines add an extra one per cent more fuel than they need. Hence, they burn up to 0.5 per cent more fuel just carrying the extra load.

Although that doesn’t sound like much of a reduction it is estimated that airlines spend around £160 billion on fuel every year, meaning potential savings could be up to £802 million.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.