New Zealand's national airline has begun weighing passengers on international flights, in addition to their luggage, claiming that appearances are not the reason.
Air New Zealand has been asking overseas travelers if they were willing to be weighed at the airport ahead of their departure, as part of a project to evaluate the average onboard weight of passengers and suitcases.
The unusual practice was in accordance with New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority procedures that demand a one in five- year assessment which would provide data to enable airlines to optimize their calculations of weight on different flights, a factor that has direct implications for fuel consumption.
The airline says weight measurements would only be taken for passengers on international flights taking off from New Zealand and would include only those willing to participate, who would be asked to get on a scale at the airport, before completing their check-in process.
The results would be anonymously kept on the computer along with data on luggage weight and the airline plans to collect the information from 10,000 people before they are done.
The last time such a census was undertaken in 2021, it included only passengers on domestic flights.
Hilary Barry, one such passenger then wrote on Twitter: "OMG Air NZ announces to everyone in the terminal it’s conducting a survey to weigh both passengers and hand luggage today. That won’t be embarrassing AT ALL."
Although her post was made with humor, the company chose to respond.
"It’s a regulatory requirement to calculate the average weight of our passengers, crew and baggage every 5 years. All data is anonymous, so no need to feel embarrassed! Taking part isn’t compulsory, but we really appreciate our customers helping out."
"No worries - I was happy to do it - and also grateful the digital display wasn’t visible," Barry wrote back.