Travel News

Could US Airlines Start Weighing Passengers?


Troy Warren #travel-all


Once again the idea of weighing passengers as they board an airplane is being batted around

According to a great article by Gary Leff on the blog “A View From The Wing,” airline figures on weight could be outdated as America as a country gets fatter and fatter, which in turn could throw off a plane’s true weight and balance.

The federal government wants airlines to find out how much fatter their passengers have gotten, at least for smaller aircraft.

U.S. airlines may need to start weighing passengers in order to comply with FAA rules. For safety reasons, carriers need to calculate an aircraft’s weight and balance, and it has to be within allowable limits for the plane.

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.

Air Insight magazine reviewed the details of new documentation requirements for aircraft weight and balance contained in ‘Advisory Circular 120-27F’ that are pending. The FAA took public comment on their draft guidance last spring, and we’re reaching the point where final FAA action should take place.

Passengers will be selected at random but can opt-out of the voluntary exercise if they so choose.

This would be at least the third time in the last six years that airlines have considered the weight issue, first in 2015 and again in 2019.