Air New Zealand has been forced to explain its decision to start weighing passengers and their hand luggage before they board their flights after some customers were taken by surprise by the policy.
With some passengers worried that stepping on the scales could prove embarrassing, the Kiwi flag carrier was quick to point out that it must carry out a ‘weigh week’ once every five years to meet regulatory requirements set by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The designated ‘weigh week’ is designed to determine the average weight of customers and crew and the process got started at Auckland airport on Wednesday. More customers at other airports across Air New Zealand’s network will be asked to step on the scales as the ‘weigh week’ continues.
“In order to fly safely and efficiently, we need to calculate the weight, balance and fuel requirements of each and every flight ahead of take-off,” explained Air New Zealand’s chief safety officer David Morgan.
“To do this, we need to know the average weight of our passengers, crew and cabin baggage,” Morgan continued.
“All data is collected anonymously and results cannot be seen by the data collection team or other customers.
One passenger who had taken part in the survey asked to be told his weight but found out that the airline was so conscious about protecting customer data that staff conducting the weigh-ins couldn’t actually see the data.
In 2003, a weight survey of 15,000 passengers conducted by the CAA found the average weight of each passenger and their carry-on baggage was 85.4kg.
In the last few weeks, safety investigators in the United Kingdom concluded that a TUI plane too off at the wrong weight because female passengers who used the title ‘Ms’ were wrongly classified as girls by a glitchy computer system. The airline has since taken action to prevent a similar problem in the future.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.