Airline passengers may be required to step on the scale at the airport or share how much they weigh before boarding a flight, a new report suggests. Data airlines use to measure passenger weight to ensure safety onboard planes may be outdated as the obesity rate in the U.S. increases.
Now, air carriers may have to update average passenger weight, according to the airline blog View from the Wing, citing a circular advisory sent out by the Federal Aviation Administration. Under the new pending requirements, reviewed by airline industry publication AirInsightGroup, airlines would be mandated to take surveys to set “standard average passenger weights” for crew members, baggage and passengers through random sampling and call on passengers to participate.
Once they’ve chosen a traveler, an operator may “determine the actual weight of passengers” by having them step “on a scale before boarding the aircraft,” per the guidelines transcribed by AirInsight.
If that’s not an option, they’re urged to ask each passenger their weight, while making sure to add 10 pounds to account for clothing.
They even have a contingency plan for when operators suspect flyers are miscalculating their heft. In that case, crew members should “make a reasonable estimate about the passenger’s actual weight and add 10 pounds,” per the document.
They stipulate that “the scale readout should remain hidden from public view” while “an operator should ensure that any passenger weight data collected remains confidential.” Chalk one up for bedside manner.
Thankfully, travelers have the option of declining “to participate in any passenger or bag weight survey,” per the guidelines.
“The FAA issued an Advisory Circular in May 2019 that stressed the importance that airline weight and balance programs accurately reflect current passenger weights,” the FAA said in a statement to The Post. “Operators are evaluating their programs to comply with this guidance. While weighing customers at the gate is an option, most operators will likely rely on updated methods for estimating passenger weights.”
The FAA has promised to keep individual’s weight private, even if they have to mount scales at departure gates.