American airline wins right to weigh passengers to prevent crash landings
An American airline will begin to weigh its passengers to save fuel after it discovered its average passenger and carry-on luggage was heavier than expected.
Hawaiian Airlines will force people to step on the scales if they want to fly the 2,600-mile route between Honolulu and American Samoa, and they will not be able to pre-book seats.
Instead, they will be assigned seats when they check in to make sure weight is evenly distributed around the plane.
Some passengers said the policy was discriminatory as it only affects people flying on one route, from Honolulu to Pago Pago, with most passengers being of Samoan descent. Samoans have among the highest rates of obesity in the world.
Six complaints have been filed with the US Department of Transportation since 29 September, as reported by the Economist.
The department ruled in favour of the new policy, with airline officials claiming an even distribution of weight could prevent a crash landing. The airline will try to keep at least one seat open per row or place children in those seats.
Hawaiian Airlines said it had conducted a voluntary, six-month passenger weight surveys on other flight routes, but had scrapped seat pre-selection only on the American Samoa route because the others showed no evidence of excess weight, as reported by theAssociated Press.
They had also ruled out other possible causes of fuel-loss, such as strong winds, adding that the policy was similar to that already applied with checked and carry-on luggage.
Hawaiians Airlines is not the first passenger carrier to make the move. It follows Samoa Air starting to weigh passengers in 2013.
Uzbekistan Airways also began weighing passengers in 2015.