Airlines can weigh passengers and have had the option for years

As more people get back on the plane, a blog post about airlines that potentially weigh passengers has caught the attention of netizens on social media.

TSA (Transportation Security Administration) data indicates 1.85 million travelers passed a security checkpoint on Sunday, May 16, the most in a day so far in 2021.

As people get back on the plane, a May 13 blog post titled “US Airlines May Start Weighing Passengers at the Boarding Gate,” drew the attention of people on social networks, and cited by many media.

THE QUESTION

Could US airlines start weighing passengers?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

Yes, U.S. airlines could start weighing passengers, but it has been an option for years, according to an FAA spokeswoman and an airline representative.

WHAT WE FOUND

A message titled “US Airlines can start weighing passengers at the gate»Was published on May 13, 2021 on the blog« View from the Wing ». The message deals with the importance of calculating the weight and balance of an aircraft. The author quotes an AirInsight Group article which shows a FAA Advisory Circular, published in 2019, indicates that operators can ask passengers to participate in a weight survey, in which passengers can refuse to participate.

“Regardless of the sampling method used, an operator has the ability to monitor every passenger and bag on board the aircraft and should give a passenger the right to refuse to participate in any passenger weight survey or baggage, ”reads the 2019 notice.“ If a passenger refuses to participate, the operator should select the next passenger based on the operator’s random selection method rather than selecting the next passenger. ‘a line. If a passenger refuses to participate, an operator should not attempt to estimate what data to include in the survey. “

In an emailed statement to VERIFY, the FAA said weighing passengers at the boarding gate was an option, but it does not expect airlines to put it into practice.

“The FAA issued a Circular advisory in May 2019, this underscored the importance that airlines’ weight and balance programs faithfully reflect the current weight of passengers, ”the statement said. “Operators are evaluating their programs to comply with these guidelines. While weighing customers at the boarding gate is an option, most operators will likely rely on updated methods to estimate passenger weights. “

The option to weigh passengers is part of the FAA mass and balance guidelines, which recommend, as a safety measure, that operators periodically estimate the weight of the aircraft, including the weight of passengers and baggage.

In a statement, American Airlines said it is sticking to other methods of estimating passenger weights.

“As we do today, Americans [Airlines] plans to continue using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data to determine the exact standard average passenger weight, ”American Airlines said. “We will continue to assess the average passenger weight for each flight we operate and adjust as necessary.”

Southwest Airlines says it will also continue to use CDC weight data.

“All airlines periodically submit mass and balance data to the FAA,” the airline told VERIFY. “The FAA allows airlines to choose between submitting weights that the individual air carrier collects or using standard CDC weights. Southwest uses CDC weights. “

United and Delta Airlines have deferred their comments to the FAA.

An FAA spokeswoman and an airline representative told VERIFY that weighing passengers has been an option for U.S. airlines for years.

A previous FAA advisory circular from 2005 almost has the exact wording of the 2019 circular.

“Regardless of the sampling method used, an operator has the ability to monitor every passenger and bag on board the aircraft and should always give a passenger the right to refuse to participate in any passenger weight survey. or baggage “, 2005 consultations. “If a passenger refuses to participate, the operator should select the next passenger based on the operator’s random selection method rather than selecting the next passenger in a row. If a passenger refuses to participate, an operator should not attempt to estimate what data to include in the survey. “

More from VERIFY: Yes, the environment on the plane is the reason the food is not so good, even if it is not only because of our senses.

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About Geraldine Higgins

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