Picture Credit: Canva
Remove your shoes, take your keys out of your pocket and… step on the scale? That's the new routine passengers departing from Auckland International Airport in New Zealand will experience, as the country's national airline, Air New Zealand, has launched a passenger weight survey. While this may seem like an intrusive measure, it is actually a necessary step to ensure safe and efficient flight operations.
Air New Zealand has always been meticulous about weighing everything that goes on their aircraft, including cargo, meals, and luggage. However, when it comes to determining the weight of passengers, crew, and cabin bags, the airline has relied on average weights. This passenger weight survey aims to gather more accurate data, allowing for a better understanding of the weight load and distribution on the planes.
Alastair James, the airline's load control improvement specialist, reassures passengers that their privacy will be protected. The data collected during the survey will be anonymized and not accessible to the check-in agents or displayed anywhere. Passengers will be asked to step on a digital scale during the check-in process, with the information then submitted to the survey. Additionally, their luggage will be weighed on a separate scale.
While some may find the idea of stepping on scales daunting, Air New Zealand emphasises that this survey is exclusively for operational purposes and passenger safety. By participating in the survey, passengers are contributing to ensuring that flights are flown safely and efficiently, including the flagship route from Auckland to New York City's JFK Airport, one of the longest flights in the world.
Air New Zealand Surveys
It's important to note that this is not the first time Air New Zealand has conducted such surveys. In 2021, domestic passengers were asked to participate, but due to the pandemic, the international survey was delayed. Now, with international travel resuming, Air New Zealand aims to include over 10,000 customers travelling on its international network in this month-long survey.
The requirement for the passenger weight survey stems from the regulations set by New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority. Pilots need accurate information on the weight and balance of the aircraft before take-off to ensure safe and efficient operations. With this data, the airline can make more precise calculations for fuel consumption, balance the aircraft's weight distribution, and enhance overall flight safety.
Air New Zealand understands the concerns passengers may have regarding privacy and the visibility of their weight information. By emphasising the anonymity of the data and the absence of visible displays, the airline hopes to alleviate any worries. The survey is completely voluntary, and passengers are encouraged to participate to support safe and efficient travel.
So, the next time you find yourself at Auckland International Airport, don't be surprised if the airline kindly asks you to step on the scale. Remember, it's not about personal judgement or scrutiny, but rather about creating a safer and more efficient travel experience for everyone on board.