AirAsia in Thailand asks passengers to weigh themselves before boarding, latest airline to do so

AirAsia said the aim is to obtain updated information for flight safety.

Daniel Seow | October 20, 2023, 12:47 PM


WhatsappThose of us who travel are used to getting our baggage weighed at the airport.

But what about weighing yourself before boarding the plane?

Air Asia Thailand initiative

While odd, this would have been a common scene at AirAsia boarding gates in Bangkok's Don Mueang International Airport over the past week.

The Malaysia-based budget carrier announced in a recent Facebook post that these measures had been implemented from Oct. 16-20 at the airport.


Weighing with Care

The initiative is called "Weighing with Care", and would be implemented for "some flights", according to AirAsia's post.

Passengers on these flights would be asked to weigh themselves along with their cabin luggage at designated weighing points before boarding the aircraft.

The post also indicated that this is on a voluntary basis, and that passengers would be asked if they are willing to participate.

The accompanying pictures show passengers queuing up at a boarding gate for the weigh-in, under the supervision of AirAsia staff.

Image from Fly AirAsia on Facebook.

They place their belongings on the weighing scale before getting on it themselves.

Passengers weigh their check-in baggage and themselves on the same scale before boarding. Image from Fly AirAsia on Facebook.

AirAsia added in its post that the aim of this measure is to obtain updated information on the average weight of passengers.

It would be used in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, to improve the airline's service efficiency and conform to safety standards.

The carrier also assured passengers that their information would be kept strictly confidential, in line with Thailand's Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA).

The post then concluded by calling on passengers to not panic and cooperate voluntarily with their staff.

Many online users reacted to the announcement with amusement, and joked about their fear of weighing themselves.

Not the first airline to do so

AirAsia isn't the first airline to carry out such pre-flight procedures.

Last month, Bangkok Airways announced that they would be conducting a "Passenger Weighing Survey 2023" until the end of October.

Air New Zealand and Korean Air also carried out similar programs earlier in the year, according to CNN.

However, the Korean airline stated that passengers who are uncomfortable to do so can opt out by informing a staff member, according to Korea Joogang Daily.

They also emphasised that the data would be "collated anonymously for survey purposes" and "doesn't mean overweight passengers will need to pay more".

Air New Zealand also reassured its customers that there would be "no visible display anywhere" so "no one can see your weight", according to the CNN report.

Is it reasonable to weigh passengers?

Putting aside the sensitive issue of getting weighed in public, there are advantages to doing so.

Passenger weight and its distribution are key factors both in ensuring aircraft stability and in determining the amount of fuel required for the journey, aviation news platform Simply Flying reported.

One difficulty in using past weight estimates is changing weight trends.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) weighed passengers in 2008 and 2009, and found that average passenger weight had increased by three to five kilograms, according to CNBC.

A follow-up study in 2022 showed a slight increase in mean weight, and the agency concluded that they would consider repeating the survey in five years' time.

Accurate weight estimates can also result in significant fuel savings.

The Korea Times reported that aircraft typically carry more fuel than necessary, so accurate passenger weight estimates could reduce additional fuel consumption, leading to huge potential savings annually.

When weight data is inaccurate, this can have very real consequences too.

For instance, some airlines have had to ground aircraft that are overweight, and carriers might face fines from civil aviation agencies due to faulty results, reported TIME.

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Top image from Fly AirAsia / Facebook.