Too Heavy For That Flight? Airline Starts Weighing Passengers Before Boarding

May 30, 2023
2 mins read
Too Heavy For That Flight? Airline Starts Weighing Passengers Before Boarding

Anyone who has ever booked the lowest possible airplane fare knows just how much of a struggle baggage weight can be.

One extra pound from an impulse souvenir and you’re often left either paying a $100 extra for “overweight luggage” or scrambling to rearrange your bags while a crowd of other people waiting to check in impatiently gathers behind you.

DON’T MISS: Your Chances Of An Airline Losing Your Bag Are Very High

Subject to strict overall weight limits themselves, smaller budget airlines will make passengers weigh every item of a carry-on while full-service operators will generally let travelers get away with moving a few items into a carry-on to make sure to get the checked luggage within range.

Too Heavy For That Flight? Airline Starts Weighing Passengers Before Boarding

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Why This Airline Started Asking Passengers to Step on the Scale

While there are multiple memes and TikTok videos about frustrated passengers putting multiple items of clothing on themselves right at the counter, weighing the passengers themselves has up until now largely been a joke and industry taboo due to the ethics around such a practice — until, this week, Air New Zealand  (ANZFF) – Get Free Report announced that it would start doing just that as part of a pilot program requested by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Dubbed the “International Passenger Weight Survey,” the program will ask travelers traveling out of New Zealand through the Auckland airport to step on a scale and weigh themselves along with any carry-on baggage.

“For safety reasons we need to know the weight of all items onboard the aircraft,” Air New Zealand announced in a new ravel alert page on its website. “The scales do not display the weight as this is fed directly into a computer and recorded anonymously along with thousands of other passengers.”

Entirely voluntary, it is meant to give both the airline and industry watchdogs an approximation of how much weight is aboard the flight overall. Such numbers are currently largely estimated by the industry since passengers themselves are not weighed but may differ country to country due to fluctuating carry-on vs. checked baggage rules.

The Key Details Here Are ‘Voluntary’ And ‘Anonymous’

Designed to be done every couple of years to gather data on passenger weight, the latest survey will run from May and until July 2, 2023. Air New Zealand had already conducted a similar survey in 2021 among passengers whose travel was disrupted due to the pandemic.

Those who do choose to participate will not even learn their weight themselves as the scale will submit it to a data file and not display it to either the passenger or the check-in agent.

That said, the announcement that Air New Zealand would be weighing customers has generated a fair bit of outrage, misunderstanding over who would be weighed and how as well as online trolls.

Samoa Air, a local Polynesian airline that launched in 2012, actually did try to charge higher prices to customers with higher body weight while calling it the “fairest way of travelling.” It asked passengers to pay their airfare for international flights by multiplying each kilogram of their body weight by $2.40 in the local Samoan currency.

“When the initial shock has worn off, there’s been nothing but support,” the airline’s chief executive Chris Langton told Reuters. The airline actually went defunct just a year after launching.

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