Airlines Could Start Weighing Passengers: Here’s What to Know

by Quentin Blount

Don’t be surprised if you are asked to step on a scale the next time you plan on boarding an airplane. As waistlines across America increase in size, the Federal Aviation Administration is asking airlines to conduct surveys about the weight of their passengers.

The FAA is in the process of making sure that airlines have new information when it comes to “passenger pounds.” Every three years the agency suggests that air carriers take a look at average passenger weight and baggage. The requirement helps to maintain the overall safety and security of everyone on planes for years to come.

And while being asked to weigh in at the airport does sound a little invasive, Professor Ed Coleman with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University says that it is simply standard procedure.

“What they do is, every so often the airlines are required to sample size the people getting on the airplane,” Coleman told Channel 9 News. “Figure out how much they weigh. Figure out what they’re carrying on.”

So, the FAA wants to make sure that airlines have new numbers when it comes to “passenger pounds.”

But according to the guidance, you don’t necessarily have to weigh in. If a passenger does not wish to participate, the airline is supposed to ask another traveler at random.

“They actually are going to put you on a scale for certain flights,” he said. “But what they will do is it will be behind a curtain. So, nobody will actually be able to see the weight.”

Airlines Need to Set ‘Standard Average Passenger Weights’ Every Three Years

There is no question that the average adult’s weight is constantly changing. And for this reason, the FAA has to keep a close eye on the average passenger weight across America. Professor Ed Coleman says that it wasn’t all that long ago they had to raise up the average weight.

“The average passenger weight was in the 170 range for a long time,” Coleman said. “Then they raised it up to the 190 range.”

Channel 9 News also spoke to Doctor Donese Worden, a member of the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association. She says that this news should be eye-opening for U.S. citizens in regards to their health.

“The FAA has to continually do these surveys to see just how much the obesity rate is increasing in America,” she explained. “This is just another reminder to us. When 40 percent of American adults are overweight and 20 percent of children, we’ve got a real problem.”

As of right now, however, it is not clear when these surveys will be conducted.