Remove your shoes. Take your keys out of your pocket. Step on the scale?
That’s right: New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority is asking that its national airline weigh passengers departing on international flights from Auckland International Airport through July 2, 2023.
The program, which Air New Zealand calls a passenger weight survey, is a way to gather data on the weight load and distribution for planes, the airline said.
“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.”
Still, weight is a personal thing that not everyone wishes to disclose. In order to protect individuals’ privacy, the airline says it has made the data anonymous.
Travelers will be asked to stand on a digital scale when they check in for their flight. The information about their weight is then submitted to the survey but will not be viewable on the agent’s screen.
They will also place their luggage on another identical scale for separate weighing.
“We know stepping on the scales can be daunting. We want to reassure our customers there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight, not even us,” James said.
This isn’t the first time that Air NZ has asked passengers to step on the scales before boarding their flights. Domestic passengers took part in a survey in 2021, but the one for international travelers was delayed due to the pandemic.
Among the people who may be asked to take part in the survey are those traveling on the direct flight from Auckland to New York City’s JFK Airport.
The 17-hour flagship route was launched last fall as a lynchpin of Air NZ’s post-pandemic strategy. It’s also one of the longest flights in the world.