US airlines may start weighing passengers

·2 min read
<p>Passengers waiting in line for an American Airlines flight </p> (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/Shutterstock)

Passengers waiting in line for an American Airlines flight

(Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/Shutterstock)

Airline passengers in the United States may be weighed at boarding gates, according to a report.

Aircraft are required to ensure a safe weight before taking off and factor in averages for passengers and crew, as well as cargo and fuel.

According to a circular advisory from the Federal Aviation Administration in recent days, airlines could be asked to start updating average airline passenger weight to account for increases in the average weight of American adults.

An airline blog, View from the Wing, wrote that “the FAA realises that passenger weight can vary by route and airlines may want to document this difference.”

“Standard weights may not be appropriate for smaller planes, with smaller sample size and greater likelihood of variance from average.”

The weighing of passengers, according to the FAA, would set "standard average passenger weights" for crew members, baggage and passengers every 36 months.

AirInsight, also reporting on the FAA advisory, added that surveying would be random and voluntary, with passengers able to refuse.

"Regardless of the sampling method used, an operator has the option of surveying each passenger and bag aboard the aircraft and should give a passenger the right to decline to participate in any passenger or weight survey," the FFA advisory wrote.

“If a passenger declines to participate, the operator should select the next passenger based on the operator’s random selection method rather than select the next passenger in a line.”

Average weights for male adults will be increased to 190 lbs in the summer and 195 lbs in the winter – up 12 per cent from 170 lbs and 175 lbs, according to AirInsight’s analysis.

A further increase is also coming for female passengers, from 145 lbs to 179 lbs in the summer and from 150 lbs to 184 lbs in the winter.

According to the US National Center for Health Statistics, 42 per cent of adults above 20 years of age are obese — increasing from 30 per cent in 2000.

Airline travel in the Covid pandemic caused a collapse in passengers numbers and carbon emissions, with Carbon Monitor reporting a 48 per cent drop in emissions on figures from 2019. Although the industry is beginning to restart, especially in the US.

It is unclear when weighing airline passengers could begin.

The Independent has approached the FAA for comment.

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