Weighing passengers? Wichita travelers react to FAA consideration


WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – What would you do if an airline wanted to weigh you before you could board a plane? The FAA is considering it. While it seems like a very personal request, officials said there’s a good reason to do so.

Asking how much someone weighs is a touchy subject. Travelers at the airport on Wednesday said they think asking people to step on a scale won’t go over well.

“I think it could be offensive to people,” said Sherry Clem, who arrived in Wichita Wednesday.

“It’s a slippery slope. I mean it’s gonna get some push back I’m sure,” said Sandy Hamon, who also flew in Wichita Wednesday.

Sandy Hamon and her husband John were a little surprised to hear that airlines may consider weighing some passengers. They say it could lead to additional fees.

“I can understand them wanting to know about the weight of the plane ,but I think this is the beginning of them wanting to charge by pound,” said John Hamon.

Dr. Dean Headley has spent the last 31 years co-authoring airline quality ratings and said flyers should not take this personally.

“It’s not personal hopefully it will be a random selection and you can opt-out and say you don’t want to participate,” said Dr. Headley.

Dr. Headley said it’s important for airplanes to have a good estimate of how much weight is on board, and after the pandemic, the average weight for Americans has gone up.

“Would you like to be on an airplane flying from Wichita to Cincinnati, and they get about halfway there and say, Oops, we missed our weight and balance estimates, we’re going to run out of fuel, I don’t think people want to do that,” said Dr. Headley.

Extra pounds on Americans means more weight on planes. Dr. Headley said getting a better estimate will make flights safer.

“The FAA has a safety responsibility, and this is part of that safety responsibility to say, Are we calculating accurately what our new weight gain is,” said Dr. Headley.

As for when this could begin, Dr. Headley said maybe this summer, as traveling continues to pick back up nationwide. Other countries like New Zealand and Australia have already been weighing flyers.

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