SAN FRANCISCO, California: Under new federal guidelines, U.S. airlines could begin weighing passengers before boarding flights, reports airline blog View From The Wing.
“Americans are getting fatter, and the federal government wants airlines to find out how much fatter their passengers have gotten, at least for smaller aircraft,” according to View From The Wing.
Confirming this, Airline industry publication AirInsightGroup says that the new FAA rules order airlines to update “standard average passenger weights” for crews, bags, and passengers.
U.S. airlines will be required to update “standard average passenger weights” by undertaking surveys to establish weights for crew, bags, and passengers.
“Regardless of the sampling method used, an operator has the option of surveying each passenger and bag aboard the aircraft and should give a passenger the right to decline to participate in any passenger or bag weight survey. If a passenger declines to participate, the operator should select the next passenger based on the operator’s random selection method, rather than select the next passenger in a line. If a passenger declines to participate, an operator should not attempt to estimate data for inclusion in the survey,” noted an FAA report.
Airlines are also being asked to hide the weight read-out from general viewing to protect passenger privacy.
The expected results from weighing patients will be to set new FAA standards for an average adult passenger and carry-on bag weight. The new averages are expected to be 190 pounds in the summer and 195 pounds in the winter for male passengers. This will be a 12 percent increase from the current 170 pounds. This also includes 16 pounds for personal items, up from ten. Airlines anticipate increasing the average weight of female passengers and their carry-ons from 145 pounds to 179 pounds in summer, and from 150 pounds to 184 pounds in winter.
As the total weight on airlines increases due to the new passenger data, airlines might cut back on available seats to ensure planes do not carry too much weight, which could reduce airline profits.
Industry insiders explained that if a 180-seat aircraft is occupied by males, the new weight averages means the aircraft will see its weight increase by 3,600 pounds, which is the equivalent of 19 passengers at the new weights.
Without eliminating seats, the airline will see falling profit margins, making it possible that the number of passengers will be reduced and the remaining passengers will pay a higher ticket cost, say industry insiders.