Weighing passengers is commonplace in helicopter sightseeing and low capacity charter, but is it ever justified in airlines?
Hawaiian Airlines will continue its practice of weighing passengers on the Honolulu to Pago Pago flight after a challenge was dismissed.
Last year the airline conducted a six-month voluntary survey on its Hawaii to Western Samoa route after flight data analysis found aircraft on the route were burning more fuel than predicted, which could not be explained by headwinds or diversions. The survey found passengers and their carry-on bags were on average 14 kg heavier than anticipated.
As a result, passengers on flights between Hawaii and the US territory are now weighed and allocated seats. The airline says this is for safety and efficiency. Complaints to the US Department of Transport that the policy is discriminatory have been rejected.
Hawaiian Airlines flies its service to Pago Pago in American Samoa, using a Boeing 767-300, configured for 264 passengers.
The policy makes Hawaiian the third airline to weigh its passengers. Samoa Air, which operates Cessna 172s and formerly flew Britten-Norman Islanders, began weigh-ins in 2013. Samoa Air’s slogan is ‘where you pay by weight’. The other airline, Uzbekistan Airways, which operates a fleet comprising mostly western jets, began the practice in 2015.