Weighing Airline Passengers

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Airlines sometimes weigh passengers, so they can update average weight figures.

In New Zealand “A customer and crew weight survey is completed every five years to meet regulatory requirements.”  This is currently happening in New Zealand.

Qantas was doing this on some flights a few years ago.

Hawaiian Airlines began weighing passengers on some flights from 2016, to make sure the weight was evenly distributed in the cabin.

The risk is that an overweight plane may not take off correctly. The consequences of this could be devastating.

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In March 2009 an Airbus aircraft took off from Melbourne Airport.

During the takeoff, the aircraft’s tail made contact with the runway surface, and the aircraft did not begin to climb….

The investigation determined that the pre-flight take-off performance calculations were based on an incorrect take-off weight.


In 2020, 38 passengers from Birmingham to Majorca were incorrectly classified as children, causing an underestimation of the takeoff weight of the aircraft by almost 1,200kgs, and insufficient thrust was then used by the aircraft’s engines on take off.

The airline underwent a serious incident investigation from the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

What is the average weight of an airline passenger.

European Aviation Safety Agency:

  • 84.6kg Male
  • 66.6kg Female
  • 30.7kg Children aged 2-12.

USA Federal Aviation Administration:

  • 90.7kg Male in summer.
  • 93.0kg Male in winter.
  • 81.2kg Female in summer.
  • 83.5kg Female in winter.
  • 37.2kgs Children 2-12 in summer.
  • 39.5kgs Children 2-12 in winter.

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