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Airlines To Start Weighing Passengers To Ensure Planes Not Too Heavy To Fly
Nothing is more embarrassing than being weighed randomly. But, according to an outdated Federal Aviation Authority rule, US-based airlines may soon need to start sticking scales at boarding gates.
The FAA requires carriers to calculate an aircraft’s weight and balance, and that number has to be within allowable limits for the plane. The measures currently being used to gather this data are outdated, so randomly weighing passengers at their gate or having them fill out a questionnaire before boarding could be implemented sooner, rather than later.
If a passenger is asked to step on a scale at the gate, the actual number will be hidden from view of others. International airlines already have similar measures in place, so this would only be new to carriers across the US. However, if the gate agent feels that the person did not accurately report their weight (as in listing a lower weight), they can correct the passenger’s form by adding 10 pounds to the original number listed.
According to View From The Wing, Air Insight reviews 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 The FAA took public comment on their draft guidance last spring, and we’re reaching the point where final FAA action should take place.
The FAA says that surveys should be done at airports representing at least 15% of an airline’s daily departures in the secure area of the airport (to ensure that connecting passengers are included) and should select passengers at random. This is voluntary and passengers have to be allowed to opt out, with airlines then selecting another passenger at random and not the person who is next in line.
Luckily, the US program would be voluntary, and it would not have any major bearing on the customer boarding the flight. After all, it could be worse. Samoa Airlines made the news for allegedly charging its passengers based on how much they weighed. How rude?!
There is no official date for the weight program, but it is said to come very soon.