Do I have to take off my shoes before getting on the scale? That's the question Air New Zealand passengers are now asking. The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand commissioned an investigation from the airline, aimed at collecting data on the load and weight distribution in the aircraft. Indeed, the on-board weights and their distribution within the aircraft are essential technical data, especially to ensure safety throughout the flight. "By weighing yourself, you will help us to fly you safely and efficiently every time," says the New Zealand company in a statement.
Instead of simply weighing their luggage, travelers are now asked to weigh themselves on a digital scale during check-in. Participation, based on volunteerism, remains discreet. "We know that stepping on the scale can be intimidating. We want to reassure our passengers that no data will be visible anywhere," said Alastair James, Air New Zealand's Load Control Improvement Specialist.
The data is anonymous, only accessible as part of the survey. However, this initiative is not a novelty since in 2021, the company weighed its passengers at the national level. What's new is that it is now focusing on passengers travelling abroad from Auckland, as the international investigation has been delayed due to the pandemic.
Air New Zealand, through this initiative, wants to calculate more accurately the average weight of a passenger: a survey was conducted in 2003 by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which revealed that the average weight of a passenger and his hand luggage was 85.4 kilograms, according to Forbes. "We weigh everything on the plane – from cargo to meals on board to checked baggage," James said.
The airline launched a 17-hour non-stop journey from Auckland Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport last fall. This journey, which is one of the longest in the world, should be included in the survey.