(CMR) Airlines could soon start weighing passengers before they board flights in an effort to collect new data to measure passenger weight to ensure safety on board.
A new report suggests that the data airlines now use to measure passenger weight may be outdated as the obesity rate in the US increases.
For safety reasons, carriers need to calculate an aircraft’s weight and balance, and it has to be within allowable limits for the plane, View From the Wing explained. The Federal Aviation Administration wants airlines to find out how much fatter their passengers have gotten, particularly for smaller aircraft.
Under the new requirements, airlines would be mandated to take surveys to set “standard average passenger weights” for crew members, baggage and passengers through random sampling and call on passengers to participate. However, passengers should be given the option to decline to participate.
According to View From the Wing, airlines can use standard weights published by the CDC for larger aircraft, with variance for winter and summer based on greater weight assumptions for clothing in the winter. However, smaller aircraft are to use this new survey to determine actual passenger and bag weights and to determine whether aircraft up to 70 seats should be considered small or large for this exercise.
The weight of an average adult passenger and carry-on bag will be increased to 190 pounds in the summer and 195 pounds in the winter – that’s up 12% from 170 pounds and 175 pounds, AirInsightGroup noted of the new FAA standards. Airlines would have to increase the average weight for female passengers and carry-ons from 145 pounds to 179 pounds in the summer and from 150 pounds to 184 pounds in the winter, according to the standards, while the weight for males with carry-ons will go up from 185 pounds in the summer to 200 pounds and from 190 pounds to 205 pounds in the winter.
The FAA realizes that passenger weight can vary by route and airlines may want to document this difference. Standard weights may not be appropriate for smaller planes, with smaller sample size and greater likelihood of variance from average.