The airline is going to weigh passengers before boarding the plane


More than 10,000 travellers will kick off their summer vacations by jumping on the scales. Through July 2, Air New Zealand is conducting a survey to measure the average weight of passengers and their baggage on international flights out of Auckland International Airport.

The airline describes the weigh-in an “essential” initiative, noting that the country’s civil aviation authority requires weight surveys to be performed every five years to reassess the weight load and distribution for flights.

“We weigh everything that goes on the aircraft – from the cargo to the meals onboard, to the luggage in the hold,” said Alastair James, load control improvement specialist for Air New Zealand. “For customers, crew and cabin bags, we use average weights, which we get from doing this survey.”

At check-in, travellers are asked to stand on a digital scale. Their baggage is placed on a different scale. The data is submitted to the survey anonymously and is hidden from check-in agents.

Rest assured, participating in the survey is voluntary and discreet. “We know stepping on the scales can be daunting,” said Mr. James. “We want to reassure our customers there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight – not even us.”

“The scales do not display the weight as this is fed directly into a computer and recorded anonymously along with thousands of other passengers,” according to a statement from the airline. “This will not delay flights and takes place before the gate to board your aircraft.”

Air New Zealand has conducted these passenger weight surveys for years. In 2021, the airline ran a similar for domestic passengers but the international version of the survey was delayed by the pandemic.

In 2003, a survey of 15,000 people by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) found the average weight of passengers and their carry-on baggage was 85.4 kilograms — about 188 pounds. Based on those findings, the CAA was able to determine a “standard weight” and calculate how many passengers a large plane can carry.

Last year, Air New Zealand resumed direct flights between Auckland and Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The carrier also launched a new nonstop route between Auckland and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The new route’s launch was originally announced in 2019 but delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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