There has been a lot of discussion around the fact Air New Zealand are weighing passengers and their luggage for a five week period. Some people seem to be very reluctant and suspicious of this, but I think it’s fine if an airline wants to weigh you.

For one, I’m a pretty easy going person and the Kiwi airline has stated nobody sees the information at check-in. It’s all collected into a database for use later. That means it’s all appropriately confidential and there’ll be no fat shaming.

Why They Need To Weigh You

The main reason I’m so fine with them wanting to weigh you is because it’s for safety reasons. Having weight distributed incorrectly on an aircraft has caused more than one fatal accident.

Back in the day, the average weight per passenger was calculated at 100kg (220lbs for the Americans who continue to hold out and not switch to metric!). That figure is both the human being and their baggage, and takes into account children, those without bags and so on.

Air New Zealand is mandated to do it five year intervals partly because of where it operates. The Pacific islands have the highest percentage of overweight people their populations. The top 10 countries in the world for percentage of obese adults are Nauru (61%), Cook Islands (55.9%), Palau (55.3%), Marshall Islands (52.9%), Tuvalu (51.6%), Niue (50%), Tonga (48.2%), Samoa (47.3%), Kiribati (46%) and Micronesia (45.8).

Operationally it makes sense to be able to calculate the specific average to use based on the local passenger profile. For what it’s worth, the United States comes in at number 12 with 36.2% of adults being obese, according to the list. (Don’t snigger – Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK are not too far behind!).

Can It Really Bring Down A Plane?

There was an accident as recently as 2003 in the United States where all aboard Air Midwest Flight 5481 lost their lives due to the plane being overweight and that weight being improperly distributed on board.

They used to weigh you when you flew on the old Ansett Flying Boat Services – both you and your luggage for every single flight. Airline weight and balance can be precarious, even on modern aircraft. Ever been asked to wait on board while one end of the plane gets off first? I have, and that’s on the ground!

Overall Thoughts

Airlines are not asking to weigh you for fun. It’s for safety reasons and it’s a serious business. I personally would have absolutely no issue with this at all.

Unfortunately some people think it’s a game to try to get as much on board as possible, ramming their carry-on bag with loads of stuff so it’s overlimit, in order to avoid excess checked bag fees. Let’s just hope the airlines take this into account.

What do you think of airlines wanting to weigh you? Invasion of privacy or actually a really good thing? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Henry Deng on Unsplash.
Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 by Masakatsu Ukon via Wikimedia Commons.
Ansett Flying Boat by R.N. Smith via