Air New Zealand to Weigh Passengers Before Flights

    Air New Zealand to Weigh Passengers Before Flights
    Last updated Jun 02, 2023
    Image credit: Unsplash


    • On Monday, Air New Zealand began asking passengers to weigh themselves before boarding international flights departing from Auckland International Airport, as part of a monthlong trial to improve fuel efficiency.[1]
    • More than 10K travelers are expected to voluntarily step onto the scales in contribution to anonymous data collection that will run through July 2.[2]
    • This comes as a result of a request from New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority, with the airline stating that the survey will help gather data on the weight load and distribution for planes.[3]
    • Under the watchdog's rules, since 2004, airlines have been able to accept a standard weight set by the authority — 86 kg (190 pounds) for people 13 and over with carry-on luggage — or carry out surveys to estimate a passenger's weight.[4]
    • New Zealand's latest national health survey indicates that both adult and childhood obesity rates have increased 3% in a single year, to 34% and 13%, respectively.[4]
    • The US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also require airlines to conduct periodic weight surveys, with the weight of over 4K passengers being collected last year to update mass and balance calculations as part of an EASA survey.[5]


    Narrative A

    Air New Zealand's voluntary weight survey is crucial to the enhancement of safety and efficiency, as well as to the reduction the environmental impact of flights, as it will enable airlines to minimize fuel consumption and emissions. Even though this is relatively rare in many parts of the world, several Pacific airlines are already gathering data for weight and balance calculations.

    Narrative B

    While the airline may indeed be carrying out this survey due to safety concerns, the decision to ask passengers to weigh themselves in public places is likely to further promote weight discrimination. This new measure will make the sometimes very stressful experience of air travel even tougher, especially for people with body image issues and eating disorders.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 21% chance that the CDC will adopt a Health at Every Size approach towards addressing obesity before 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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