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Weigh to go: Airline asks passengers to step on the scales before flight to slim down fuel costs

Air New Zealand announced it will weigh some international passengers before they board flights this summer in an effort to gauge average passenger weight and improve fuel efficiency. 

The passenger airline will ask more than 10,000 customers between May 29 and July 2 to hop on a scale at the gates of certain flights departing from the Auckland International Airport, according to a press release from the airline. 

Passengers’ weights will be anonymously recorded and won’t be seen by airline staff or fellow passengers, the airline said. The weight survey will be carried out on a voluntary basis. 

“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! It’s completely anonymous,​” Air New Zealand load control improvement specialist Alastair James said in a press release on the announcement. 

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line of passengers at Auckland Airport

Passengers queue to change their flights at the Air New Zealand ticket counter at the Auckland Domestic Airport. (Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Air New Zealand previously weighed passengers flying domestically in 2021, according to James. The new survey is being carried out now that the pandemic has ended and travelers are flying more frequently. The data collected will be used to improve fuel efficiency for the airline’s fleet of planes, the BBC reported. 

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welcome sign in Auckland Airport

The arrivals area at Auckland International Airport on April 13, 2022, in New Zealand. (Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

“We weigh everything that goes on the aircraft – from the cargo to the meals onboard, to the luggage in the hold.​ For customers, crew and cabin bags, we use average weights, which we get from doing this survey,” James added in the press release. 

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Air New Zealand jet on tarmac

An Air New Zealand plane at Los Angeles International Airport on Jan. 11, 2023. (Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images)

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Another airline, Finland-based company Finnair, began weighing passengers on a voluntary basis in 2017 to better gauge overall weight on planes. The airline had been using weight estimates from the European Aviation Safety Agency, but wanted more accurate and up-to-date figures.

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