What Is Your Average Flight Weight? Airline to Weigh Passengers + Bags

I have a packing problem. I always overpack. Well, some of it has to do with my body size and my ability to sweat at the drop of a hat. Bigger boys wear bigger clothes and ones that sweat need to pack more changes of clothes. But I also overpack because I just may not know what I will want to wear. Options are good to have.

And I go through the process of weighing myself on the bathroom scale and then weighing myself and the luggage in-hand and then do the math to figure out if I have met the standards of whichever airline I am taking off on next. Sometimes I’ll add more or will just say, “No, that’s a good amount to be under so I can bring back some things and dirty clothes weigh more than clean clothes.”

But soon, someone else is going to jump into the game of weighing passengers and their luggage.  Airlines already weigh your bags, but one is going to take it one stem further and start weighing the people, too.


Through July 2, Air New Zealand will be conducting a survey to measure the average weight of passengers and their baggage on international flights out of Auckland International Airport.

Image from pexels

Why are they doing this? Well, it’s actually the law. New Zealand’s civil aviation authority requires weight surveys to be performed every five years to reassess the weight load and distribution for flights.

“We weigh everything that goes on the aircraft – from the cargo to the meals onboard, to the luggage in the hold,” said Alastair James, load control improvement specialist for Air New Zealand. “For customers, crew and cabin bags, we use average weights, which we get from doing this survey.” – Forbes.com


I know when I get up to the ticket counter, I’m always curious as to how close my home scale is to the airport scale. I watch those numbers dance around and the number finally rolls to a halt. It’s not like I added or subtracted anything, but the weight is usually a little different than my home calculations, and not in my favor. But I guess if you get used that much every day, you’d be a little off, too. 

The screen showing my baggage weight is usually off to the side for all not to see how well or poorly I packed. How will these scales for human be in New Zealand for these international flights? Supposedly, the scale measuring passengers will be a no-show scale, where the passengers nor the Air New Zealand employees will see how much they clock in at for pre-boarding weight.

At check-in, travelers are asked to stand on a digital scale. Their baggage is placed on a different scale. The data is submitted to the survey anonymously and is hidden from check-in agents.

“We know stepping on the scales can be daunting,” said Mr. James. “We want to reassure our customers there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight – not even us.”

“This will not delay flights and takes place before the gate to board your aircraft.”

So is this a new policy?  Not at all. Air New Zealand ran a similar weigh-in during 2021 for domestic passengers but held off on the international weight survey since COVID travel internationally was very off during the pandemic.


And there were previous tests before that as well. The average weight of people plus baggage back in 2003 was 188 pounds.  From that survey of 15,000 people, New Zealand Airlines moved forward with their calculations of a “standard weight” of passengers plus bags to figure out how many people could fit on this plane or that.

Image from Pexels

So, yeah, that 188. Let’s put that in perspective for that just ain’t gonna do. I clock in at 240 myself, and then my computer bag alone is 15 pounds, plus 1 bag or 2 and a carry on, that’s 40 and them maybe 35 more and/or then the carry on at 25. So me + 1 bag + computer, that would be 295, heck, let’s say 300. I really don’t think those numbers will work for America. And do we pack more or less for international?  We’re usually staying longer than a domestic journey.

Hopefully my 300 would be averaged out with the twink that packs just thongs and sarongs. And it’s also good to know that the scale data is hidden from everyone’s view.  And Air New Zealand also states that the weigh in of the passengers is voluntary.

One of the “no-show” scales that Air New Zealand is using for its study. (Image from Air New Zealand)

Source: Forbes.com

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