Airlines May Start Weighing Passengers Before They Board Flights

A controversial plan has been announced that would see airlines weighing passengers before they board planes. The initiative, which was recently outlined in a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advisory, would mean that plus-sized passengers would either have to provide their exact weight before flying or step on a scale while at the airport before they can fly.

  1. They claim it’s about data, not discrimination. Average passenger weights are way outdated, the FAA says, and don’t accurately reflect the fact that the majority of Americans are now heavy. Not only would weighing patients allow the agency to update these figures, the FAA claims, but it would also help to ensure that planes don’t exceed their weight limit, View from the Wing reports.
  2. The new mandates would be implemented at random. According to Fox, the new measures were reviewed by AirInsight Group, a major industry publication, and would mean that airlines have to provide information via completed surveys to establish “standard average passenger weights” not only for commercial flyers but crew members and baggage as well. This data would be requested at random.
  3. Imagine being singled out at the airport for this. The FAA says that they would “determine the actual weight of passengers” by having them step “on a scale before boarding the aircraft”… in front of a whole line of other passengers who want to board. If there is no scale available, airline employees would then ask the passenger for their exact weight and then add 10 pounds to account for clothing. This sounds like such a great idea… not!
  4. The FAA promises this wouldn’t be as humiliating as it sounds. They say that any airline weighing passenger should ensure that “the scale readout should remain hidden from public view” while “an operator should ensure that any passenger weight data collected remains confidential.” However, you apparently would have the choice to decline “to participate in any passenger or bag weight survey.” Well, that’s something, I guess.
  5. None of this is set in stone just yet. However, it is seriously being considered. “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.”
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill