Passengers traveling internationally on Air New Zealand may choose to be weighed at the airport during the month of June.
Accurate weight information is imperative for a safe flight, with pretty much everything being factored in included (but not limited to) the weight of baggage, crew members, food and drinks, and most importantly, the passengers. Knowing an aircraft’s takeoff weight is important for both fuel planning, as well as positioning of passengers and cargo to keep the airplane’s center of gravity within safe operating limits.
Given that airlines do not weigh passengers before flights, carriers have to use assumed weights for men, women, children and toddlers. However with dietary habits changing over the years, those estimates tend to become inaccurate, potentially leading to large deviations between estimated and actual combined passenger weights.
As a result, Air New Zealand is conducting a survey of the course of June to gather updated data about average weights of its international travelers. The carrier expects to weigh around 10,000 passengers during the time period, and has said that weighing in is completely optional.
Air New Zealand Load Control Improvement Specialist Alastair James said:
“We weigh everything that goes on the aircraft – from the cargo to the meals onboard, to the luggage in the hold. For customers, crew and cabin bags, we use average weights, which we get from doing this survey.
“We know stepping on the scales can be daunting. We want to reassure our customers there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight – not even us! It’s completely anonymous.
“It’s simple, it’s voluntary, and by weighing in, you’ll be helping us to fly you safely and efficiently, every time.”
This isn’t the first time Air New Zealand has done this, most recently completing a domestic weight survey in April 2021. It is understood that the Civil Aviation Authority Of New Zealand requires a survey to be carried out every five years in order to keep data averages in check. As mentioned above, customers are not mandated to weigh in, and even if they do, nether the customer nor staff members can see the weight.
The topic of air travel and weight has sparked a lot of debate lately. On one hand, some travelers say that plus-sized passengers should be penalized if they can’t fit in their seat without affecting those next to them. On the other, some plus-sized passengers are asking for airlines to make concessions and exceptions, including ideas like making seats wider or allowing them to use two seats instead of one.
With that in mind, should airlines consider offering incentives or penalties depending on your weight? Let us know in the poll below.
[Featured Photo: Bidgee/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0 AU)]