Air passengers in the US may face random weigh-ins

PHOTO: Deposit Photos

Aviation authorities in the US say passengers may be selected for random weight checks as part of the check-in process. Flight passengers could be asked to step on the scales, as the Federal Aviation Authority updates obesity figures that can affect aircraft weight considerations prior to take-off.

While this is routine practice with small commuter aircraft, it is not currently standard procedure for passengers flying on mainstream carriers. Larger airlines rely on more complex factors that take into account passengers, crew, catering supplies, fuel, and cargo. TTR Weekly reports that the FAA is working on an update to passenger weight data, in order to confirm a more accurate average based on the obesity crisis in the US.

The FAA says airlines may be required to update their average passenger weight to allow for today’s increase in the average American’s weight. According to a report in the AirInsight blog, weighing passengers would enable a new average to be determined.

“The weighing of passengers, according to the FAA, would set ‘standard average passenger weights’ for crew members, baggage, and passengers every 36 months.”

However, it’s understood weight checks will be voluntary and any passenger who does not wish to participate can decline. In this event, the airline would need to select another passenger.

In the US, airlines currently calculate take-off weight based on an average male weight of 88 kilograms during the summer and 88.5 in winter, when heavier clothing is factored into the equation. Female passengers are accorded an average weight of 81 kilograms in summer and 83.5 in winter.

A survey carried out by the International Civil Aviation Organisation has concluded that an average of 100 kilograms for a passenger, plus his or her checked luggage, is the figure that best reflects today’s air travellers.


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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.


  1. They do not need that. All they need is fixed armrests.
    If the passenger cannot fit in the seat, they should buy larger business class or first class seats.
    In addition, the air hostesses should be obliged to slim down, especially in the US.
    An air hostess needs to be able squeeze past another air hostess in the passageway.
    However American air hostesses have the feminist card and are impossible to fire. Consequently they have become sour faced bossy matrons who would be fired working in MacDonalds – on the their first day.
    Although their weight would qualify them to work in MacDonalds.

  2. Odd why the FAA would do this. Surely there are more suitable research centre who could provide the FAA with the data they need. I’ve always thought that scales should be built in to the floor at airline check in. That way you have a combined body and baggage allowance before you pay more. As someone with a perfect BMI of 21.7, I’m frequently pissed off when I’m challenged over my carry on being 2kg over when I’m stood next to some Lard arse who weights 120kg but has a 7kg carry on and goes unchallenged. ??

  3. This is what happens when you create bizarre realities where terms like “fat shaming” are spoken in a unironic manner. Embracing obesity is insane and anyone responsible should face consequences.

  4. People have been concerned about the standard weights used for pax for a long time now.
    It’s obvious to all that people have been getting bigger and thailand is no exception.
    It’s fairly common to see a load of lardy ass fat boys and obese heffers boarding any flight in thailand nowadays and it’s not just the falangs either.
    You just have to take a look at the pictures of the prominent democracy protestors pictures pre custody to get an idea of the shape of many young thai nationals nowadays.
    If the aircraft is departing with a high load factor,it’s hot and the airfield is at high elevation there is a chance the aircraft may be over maximum take off weight authorized and it is a threat to flight safety particularly in the event of an engine failure after V1 .
    It would be far better to weigh every pax complete with luggage at check-in and charge them by the kilo.
    If the pax don’t like it they could always stay out of makky’ds and kfc for a week or two before boarding and be rewarded with a cheaper ticket for their efforts.

  5. “… a perfect BMI of 21.7 …”

    Perfect for what?

    BMI is an outdated scale that an increasing number of countries and health professionals have abandoned in favour of far simpler and more effective measures.

    Based on their BMI the British Lions would all be too “fat” to get into the British Army, but they’re the “perfect” balance of speed, strength and stamina for the military. Hardly rational or scientific.

  6. I am American and yes, we are not the land of the free, rather we are the land of the fat.
    Particularly striking about this report is what little weight difference there is between American men and women; explains why so many men vacation in places like Thailand. Lol.

  7. @simon small brain (aka Lord Haw Haw). You clearly don’t understand BMI if you quote rugby players. Those guys are designed specifically for the sport they play. I suppose you will be telling me Sumo wrestlers are also fit and healthy people ??. Don’t be ashamed Lord Haw Haw. After your daily 3 large Changs I assume your BMI will be around 30-35. Even if it was 21.7 you’d still be fit for nothing. Keep trying though won’t you ??

  8. @Nigel. BMI is not a perfect measure, though it would be perfectly adequate for the vast majority of air travellers. Obviously athletes like Tom Brady or Usain Bolt wouldn’t fit in to that category. I guess however it’s only an argumentative jackass like @Simon Small (Issan John) who is too dumb to spot that. You have to wonder what has happens to that guy in his life to make him that way. So sad …..

  9. Unfortunately every country is becoming fat – even Thailand. KFC, Swensons, potato chips, etc. – none of that is needed in a person’s diet. The crap I see some people buying at 7-eleven blows my mind.

  10. An FAA spokesperson said weighing individual passengers was merely an option, not a mandate. “The FAA issued an Advisory Circular in May 2019 that stressed the importance that airline weight and balance programs accurately reflect current passenger weights.”

    The Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t believe airlines will resort to weighing passengers prior to flights, saying a guidance it issued two years ago regarding weight and balance on planes inexplicably blew up into a global story. AIRLINES & AIRPORTS RICH THOMASELLI MAY 19, 2021

    Not real news.

  11. Bring It On. Sick of getting Lard Arses sprawling All Over My Seat. Bring Back Mandatory Armrests. If They Carnt Shoe Horn into a Standard Seat , Slam them in the Cargo Hold in a cage. The Cold Will Stop Them Farting Also.

  12. Traveling on flights probably a couple hundred times in my lifetime, I have sat next to people that can kick start a 747.

    If a person exceeds the width of an airline seat, that person should be required to purchase an additional ticket to accommodate his/her fat az

  13. “Obviously athletes like Tom Brady or Usain Bolt wouldn’t fit in to that category”

    Actually they would – wrong sort of athletes.

    Given the choice of ignorant and uninformed I’m happy to go for the latter.

  14. As an average-sized person obviously I’m not a fan of being over-taken and/or squeezed to death by an obese or over-sized person. However, Fat-Shaming is not the answer. Perhaps a more reasonable, simplistic? approach is the airlines should offer/supply various sized seats. Their antiquated “one-size-fits-all” offering is obsolete, way past the expired date. Nobody expects a child to wear adult clothes nor an adult to wear child clothing. Different sizes for all. Why do children or tiny little old ladies need to sit in the average sized adult seats? Why do larger or super-sized adults need be shoe-horned into average sized seats? If airlines were to offer a variety of 5 various seat sizes ranging super small to super large the end result is an average size seat, right? Point being small medium large seats at the end of the day would be no cost difference to the airline, as long as they still charge the same for the various sized seats. Problem solved?

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