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Air New Zealand to Trial Weighing Passengers Before Boarding

The voluntary trial will take place at Auckland Airport this June as part of a survey to determine the average weight of international flights

by Fergus Cole

May 30, 2023

Photo: Air New Zealand, Airbus A320 tails. Courtesy of Douglas Bagg / Unsplash

International passengers flying with Air New Zealand this summer may be asked to step onto the weighing scales before boarding their flight as part of an ‘essential’ passenger survey.

The New Zealand flag carrier is conducting a widescale customer survey between May 29 and July 2, 2023, in which it will ask more than 10,000 international passengers if they would like to be weighed before stepping on the plane.

While it won’t be mandatory—and all the results will be strictly confidential—the survey will provide vital information to the airline regarding the average weight of its international flights so that it can make them as safe and efficient as possible.

“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 at Air New Zealand. “For customers, crew, and cabin bags, we use average weights, which we get from doing this survey.”

Photo: Courtesy of Jacques Le Gall / Unsplash

This is not the first time that Air New Zealand has conducted a survey of this kind, with New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority requiring national airlines to provide information on the average weight of their flights every five years. The carrier carried out a similar survey on domestic flights in 2021.

That survey also hit the headlines, with local TV personality Hilary Barry taking to Twitter to voice her concerns over the ’embarrassing’ ordeal. However, Air New Zealand responded to her tweet: “It’s a regulatory requirement to calculate the average weight of our passengers, crew, and baggage every five years. All data is anonymous, so there is no need to feel embarrassed! Taking part isn’t compulsory, but we appreciate our customers helping out.”

Passengers who are fine with participating in the average weight survey can expect to step on the weighing scales before entering the gate lounge on selected international flights out of Auckland International Airport (AKL) this June. A separate weighing scale will also be provided for passengers’ carry-on baggage.

Photo: Courtesy of Yousef Alfuhigi / Unsplash

Alastair James also reassured passengers that all the data collected would be anonymous and that their weight won’t be displayed anywhere.

“We know stepping on the scales can be daunting,” he said. “We want to reassure our customers there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight – not even us! It’s completely anonymous. It’s simple, it’s voluntary, and by weighing in, you’ll be helping us to fly you safely and efficiently, every time.”