New Zealand airline rolls out controversial new plan to weigh passengers before flights. Here’s why

By Mason Berlinka

Published Jun 1, 2023 at 12:29 PM

Reading time: 1 minute

In a move that no doubt will surprise anyone reading, Air New Zealand is asking to weigh passengers before they board their international flights. I personally never thought I’d have to endure the anxiety of the bathroom scale before a holiday, but the airline claims to have a good reason behind the highly triggering plan.

Air New Zealand is hoping to collect 10,000 passengers’ weight data for a survey spanning the month of July 2023. The data will give the pilots a better understanding of the weight and balance of their planes for future take offs.

Interestingly, the move comes amid new rules from New Zealand’s industry watchdog, the Civil Aviation Authority, who have provided airlines with two options for meeting the new safety requirements. They can either accept a standard weight limit set by the authority or, such as in the case of Air New Zealand, they can periodically collect data to ensure they are meeting the balance and weight safety requirements of their average passengers.

The news quickly began to trend online, as fears were sparked that the move would lead to understandable uncomfortability among passengers, as well as posing a serious risk to those struggling with eating disorders and body dysmorphia. For many of us, the prospect of being weighed is a very triggering situation to be in.

The airline hoped to reassure passengers by promising that no indication of their weight would be shown to other passengers, and that there would be no visible display of the number anywhere. The data would also remain anonymous—even to staff and airline crew.

A statement from Air New Zealand read: “I’’s simple, it’s voluntary, and by weighing in, you’ll be helping us to fly you safely and efficiently, every time.”

The airline is aware of how touchy a subject the nature of body weight can be and so it’s done its best to mitigate the worry. For some, the fact that the weighing is optional and completely hidden would definitely be a big reassurance.

However, for many the very nature of just being asked will be enough to trigger a number of hidden disorders and anxieties.

The move to weigh passengers is frustratingly unnecessary when Air New Zealand has the option of moving forward with a standard weight limit, an option that most other airlines have opted for in the wake of this new regulation.

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