Air New Zealand Is Weighing Passengers Before Boarding

But it’s not as daunting as it sounds

Young female airline check-in assistant putting luggage on the scales at check-in counter in airport
Passengers in Auckland will be standing on these scales, too
Getty Images

We’re all used to throwing our checked luggage on a scale and silently praying that the weight is within the airline’s limits (and maybe splaying out our belongings for all to see if it’s necessary to adjust the weight in said bag). But it’s quite likely that you’ve never had to step on that scale yourself. That’s about to change for travelers flying Air New Zealand this summer, as they’ll be weighing passengers departing on international flights from Auckland International Airport until July 2, 2023.

But don’t fret — the airline agents aren’t going to turn you away, no matter what the scale says. The program, implemented by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority, is simply a “passenger weight survey,” a method for collecting data on the weight load and distribution for planes.

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

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James also wants to reassure passengers that their weight data will be anonymous. When travelers check-in for their flight, they’ll step on a digital scale, and their weight info is immediately submitted to the survey. So apparently the agent won’t even be able to see the data on their screen. Passengers will then put their luggage on a different scale to gather that weight data.

This isn’t even the first time that Air New Zealand has gathered data in this way. Domestic travelers had to take part in the survey in 2021, but the international traveler survey was delayed because of the pandemic. If you’re flying direct from Auckland to New York JFK — which at 17 hours is one of the longest flights in the world — in the next month, your weight will likely be part of the survey. But all you really need to worry about is stuffing that suitcase shut if you bought too many souvenirs.


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