Air New Zealand asks passengers travelling internationally to be weighed before flying

Passengers will be weighed before boarding certain Air New Zealand flights this summer

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Air New Zealand passengers will be asked to stand on a scale and be weighed before boarding certain flights this summer.

The information will then be used to calculate the average passenger weights as part of a project to help the airline gather data on the weight load and distribution for planes.

Those who choose to take part in the voluntary scheme will be asked to step onto a digital scale when they check in for their flight. Their weight will then be submitted without being visible to the checking agent. Passengers will also be asked to place their bags on another identical scale to be weighed separately.

Air New Zealand passengers will be asked to be weighed ahead of boarding international flights (Photo: Getty Images)Air New Zealand passengers will be asked to be weighed ahead of boarding international flights (Photo: Getty Images)
Air New Zealand passengers will be asked to be weighed ahead of boarding international flights (Photo: Getty Images)

The scheme will run for just over a month on certain Air New Zealand flights departing from Auckland International Airport, beginning this week until 2 July 2023.

Air New Zealand said it needed at least 10,000 passengers to participate in the scheme and the survey was a requirement by the nation’s industry watchdog, the Civil Aviation Authority.

Under the authority’s rules, airlines have various options to estimate passenger weight. One is to periodically carry out surveys like Air New Zealand is doing to establish an average weight, while another is to accept a standard weight set by the watchdog.

Currently, the authority’s designated weight for people aged 13 and over is 190lbs (13.57 stone), which includes carry-on luggage. The authority last changed the average passenger weight in 2004, increasing it from 170lbs (12.14 stone).

But health statistics show New Zealanders are becoming heavier, with the latest national health survey putting the adult obesity rate at 34% - up from 31% a year earlier. Meanwhile, childhood obesity rates increased to 13% - up from 10% a year earlier.

Alastair James, Air New Zealand’s load control improvement specialist, said that the weighing is voluntary and passenger weights would not be displayed for others to see.

He said in a statement: “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.”

Air New Zealand has previously asked passengers to be weighed before boarding flights back in 2021, but this only applied to domestic passengers, with the Covid pandemic forcing the international survey to be delayed.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FFA), weighing passengers and their luggage before boarding flights could help to ensure an aircraft is not overloaded.