SINGAPORE, 20 May 2021: If travellers didn’t have enough
worries on their mind when flying, US aviation authorities are considering a
project that will randomly weigh passengers as they wait to check-in.

As reported by the UK’s independent newspaper, passengers
could be asked to step on the scales in a move federal aviation authority
update obesity figures that could be relevant to aircraft weight consideration
for a safe take-off.

It’s a common practice for tiny commuter aircraft to
routinely weigh passengers at the boarding gate under the scrutiny of the
pilot, but for mainstream airline operations, a more complicated calculation
takes into account passengers, crew, cargo, fuel and catering services.

Apparently, the FAA wants to update its passenger weight
data to develop a more accurate average based on the increase in obesity in the
US, blamed mostly on the massive intake of junk food.

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

“The weighing of passengers, according to the FAA, would set
“standard average passenger weights” for crew members, baggage and
passengers every 36 months”, a report in the AirInsight blog stated.

But the checks will be random and voluntary, with passengers
able to refuse the request to step on the scales that will be placed near the
check-in counter zone.

The FFA advisory of 9 May said passengers had the right to
decline, and airlines should use their commonsense and randomly select
another  passenger.

In the meantime, US airlines will calculate take-off weight
based on the average male adult weight of 190 lbs (88 kg) during the summer
timetable and 195 lbs (88.5 kg) in the winter, an increase of 20 and 25 Ibs on
earlier measures.

Female passengers now weigh in at 179 lbs (81 kg) in the
summer and 184 lbs (83.5) in the winter. Seasonal differences take into account
the extra weight of clothing. The calculations fall flat in Asia.

Surveys conducted by the International Civil Aviation
Organisation place the average passenger mass is 70 to 80 kg adopted by around
80% of airlines worldwide.  Average
baggage weight spans 10 to 20 kg for short-haul domestic and international
flights and  25 to 30 kg for long haul
international flights.

IATA, in one of its surveys, concluded that for statistical
purposes, an average mass of 100 kg for a passenger plus its checked baggage
better reflects today’s actual values.

(Source: Independent with additional input)