This airline is weighing passengers. Here's why

Air travelers may be used to weighing checked baggage before boarding a flight, but what about stepping on the scale themselves?

Air New Zealand is asking over 10,000 passengers flying on its international network to participate in a passenger weight survey between May 29 and July 2. The survey is both “essential to the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft” and required by the Civil Aviation Authority, the airline said in a media advisory.

“We weigh everything that goes on the aircraft – from the cargo to the meals onboard, to the luggage in the hold,” Air New Zealand Load Control Improvement Specialist Alastair James said in the advisory. “For customers, crew and cabin bags, we use average weights, which we get from doing this survey.”

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The airline previously weighed customers on its domestic network in 2021. The lighter an airplane is, “the less work the engines have to do, the less fuel it uses, and the farther it can fly,” according to the National Air and Space Museum.

The airline is conducting the survey at the gate lounge entrance for some of its flights leaving from Auckland International Airport. Participation is optional, and the data is anonymous. James also noted there is no visible display, and no others nearby can see participants’ weight.

“It’s simple, it’s voluntary, and by weighing in, you’ll be helping us to fly you safely and efficiently, every time,” he said.

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Here's why Air New Zealand is weighing passengers