This airline is weighing passengers before they fly, but it’s not what you think

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Air New Zealand is currently making news thanks to a new practice that may surprise or outrage travelers: weighing international passengers before their flights. However, contrary to what some headlines may suggest, it’s not quite as bad as you think.

In short, yes, Air New Zealand is weighing some international passengers before they fly, but it’s entirely optional. It has nothing to do with body-shaming or judging passengers in any way. Passenger weighing is actually part of a voluntary survey aimed at improving operational efficiency and safety.

Between May 29 and July 2, Air New Zealand will invite more than 10,000 international travelers flying from Auckland International Airport (AKL) to participate in the weight survey. The program, which has been mandated by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority, is an essential step in gathering data on weight load and distribution for accurate calculations related to the safe and efficient operation of its aircraft.

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If you’re flying with Air New Zealand at any point soon on an international flight, you may be asked to step on a digital scale, alongside your bags, during check-in. Weighings occur at designated weigh-in stations at the entrance to gate lounges.

This weighing process is entirely anonymous, with no visible display of individual weights, so even the people manning the scales will not see the results of any weigh-ins.

Again, and as confirmed by Air New Zealand, participation in the survey is completely optional. Passengers retain full control over whether they wish to contribute their weight data.

“We weigh everything that goes on the aircraft — from the cargo to the meals onboard, to the luggage in the hold,” Alastair James, the airline’s load control improvement specialist, said in a statement. “For customers, crew and cabin bags, we use average weights, which we get from doing this survey.”

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Should you opt in to the survey, the data captured will be used to refine weight and balance calculations on Air New Zealand’s aircraft.

This is not the first time the airline has conducted weight surveys to improve its flight optimizations. Domestic passengers were also asked to get involved back in 2021; the international rollout of the survey was, however, delayed due to the pandemic.

Bottom line

Headlines are circulating the internet saying that Air New Zealand is weighing its international passengers before flights. This is true, but it’s also a little misleading and sounds much worse than it really is.

Travelers flying with the airline will not be forced onto the scales, and the weighing is entirely optional. Should you agree to be weighed along with your luggage, the airline will keep your data entirely anonymous, and it’ll be used to improve efficiency and aircraft optimization.