Air New Zealand to weigh international passengers as part of safety survey

An Air New Zealand plane takes off from Sydney, Australia.
(Image credit: Peter Parks / AFP via Getty Images)

While most people are probably used to weighing their luggage at the airport, international passengers on Air New Zealand will soon have to put something else on the scale — themselves.

New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced Tuesday that the country's national airline will be weighing international passengers departing from the capital city of Auckland from May 31 through July 2, 2023, CNN reported. The airline estimated that 10,000 people will be weighed during the program.

The initiative is part of an international weight survey to measure the average stress that passengers place on an aircraft, the CAA said, adding that it is essential to ensure "the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft." The survey is a CAA requirement in New Zealand, and is done every few years — Air New Zealand last studied the weights of passengers in 2021, though that survey focused on domestic flyers.

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"We weigh everything that goes on the aircraft — from the cargo to the meals onboard, to the luggage in the hold," Alastair James, Air New Zealand's load control improvement specialist said in a statement, per CNN. "For customers, crew, and cabin bags, we use average weights, which we get from doing this survey."

However, James added that the results of the survey will be completely anonymous in order to maintain passenger privacy. "We know stepping on the scales can be daunting. We want to reassure our customers there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight, not even us," he said.

When passengers step on the digital scale, Air New Zealand said, the results will be transmitted to the survey but will not be visible on any screen.

Weighing passengers can increase airline safety and cut potential environmental harm, The Independent reported, by calculating flight loads based on actual data instead of assumed passenger weights.

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Justin Klawans

Justin Klawans is a staff writer at The Week. Based in Chicago, he was previously a breaking news reporter for Newsweek, writing breaking news and features for verticals including politics, U.S. and global affairs, business, crime, sports, and more. His reporting has been cited on many online platforms, in addition to CBS' The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

He is also passionate about entertainment and sports news, and has covered film, television, and casting news as a freelancer for outlets like Collider and United Press International, as well as Chicago sports news for Fansided.