Airline plans to weigh passengers with carry-on luggage before take-off

Can’t wait to see the “if you don’t step on the scale, you don’t board” policy implemented in the US. The youtube videos will be hilarious.



They weigh trucks (even in motion) all the time. A weigh station could be built near the taxi runway if the airline is seriously concerned.



I’ve been weighed, when using small aircraft, island hopping in the Pacific… Can’t be too careful, no need to feed the sharks!


No, the weight is used to calculate fuel requirements in addition to takeoff distance. If you don’t have accurate weight you’d need to load a “worst case” amount of fuel. More fuel means you actually burn more of it because you need to haul around that extra fuel weight. In other words, $$$.


Finnair, ie Socialistical. Here in Shiny-land, the airlines would use it as a means to charge people another margin building fee.



How hard would it be to build load sensors into the landing gear suspension system? I’m sort of surprised that it isn’t already built in since the plane’s gross weight is a pretty important variable. The load sensors could also inform the crew about imbalances in the plane’s loading. I am not a pilot so maybe that isn’t important. I do know that it is with cargo ships. I found that out when I read The Box by Mark Levison.


That would leave the final fueling decision until after all passengers and cargo are loaded, so then the hazards of fueling with passengers aboard would be a liability if anything ever went badly… weight plates on checkin seems the simplest, still time to adjust for the load…


No interest in allowing for the extra complexity of load sensors as a point of failure on landing gear. (load path has to go through either a strain gage displacement linking with a spring load in the strut tubing or through a modular bolt on which must also be load bearing with similar mechanism included)

Applying strain gages to structural elements is not difficult. Maintaining them and applying the data that comes forth efficiently and without negligence is a much more administratively burdensome process.

Weigh scales dodge several problems, but support another:


FAA regulations for data collection, storage, use… etc.
FAA regulations for alteration to air frame and components
Airline compliance and internal ethics challenges

New issues:

Airports own the infrastructure. These have an entirely different investment and value proposition. Maintaining scales would be a capital investment of some magnitude and would result in significant fee increases to lease gates by the airlines.

These are in place in some locations, but by no means is this widespread or prolific enough to be supported as a standard. $$$$

And then there’s the issue of who is liable when calibration is off. -$$$$


Good point. I hadn’t thought about that.


More good points. Not only am I not a pilot; I’m not an engineer either. Scales right where the passenger drops of their luggage is beginning to sound much simpler.


I’ll admit that I’m not big on flying. Been 8 years since I’ve been on a plane. But as I recall, there’s already a scale there to weigh the checked baggage. Make them a bit easier for people to stand on, and you could get double duty out of them.

Or add a scale at the security checkpoint, where people are already lining up. Scan your ticket so they know what flight you’re on, step on a scale while holding your carry ons, then step forward to the security check itself. Forward the weights electronically to the right plane. If someone went un-weighed, they could still use an estimate. And if they were a no-show at the gate, you could easily subtract off that weight.


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Or, you could be sneaky. Put a cabin tag on each carry on bag, to identify the flight it’s on. Hand each customer a tag. Hide a scale in the luggage x-ray machine, and hide another scale in the metal detector the cattle are directed through. Scan each luggage/cattle tag just before they enter the devices that have the scales hidden inside. Then the cattle get their credit card bill, and find a weight fee has been added without them knowing it, because they didn’t read the disclosure in the microdot on the back of the ticket folder.



The last few times I’ve flow the TSA does not even want to look at your ticket…just your Real ID. Maybe they confirm a flight reservation with your name. This would also delay the TSA security line with people with many bags, kids, etc.

I would think you just do it during the typical mass confusion at the gate.
People are already standing around (or sitting) with plenty of time before boarding.
And even if it delays boarding by few seconds, per person, is is no big deal since they all line up in a crowd inside the tunnel to the plane anyway.

Plus this accounts for anything bought in a store to bring on the plane.


I would not want to fly on a plane where using a current average for the number of passengers who bought tickets wouldn’t be sufficient for weight calculations.

Obviously, there can be exceptions for very small aircraft, but a 147-passenger 737 should have a significant margin of safety that individual weights would make no difference to the amount of fuel loaded nor distribution of the seating.

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What we saw on a recent flight (737-800) SFO to Puerto Vallarta & return, was the carry-on baggage has boomed from earlier flights we’ve done to Europe, etc… Not only a loaded carry-ons, but a backpack as well… Overhead space was filled, several had to check theirs… delayed takeoff as the shuffled them into the hold…

There are already FAA rules that require the fuel to be the amount calculated to get to the destination, plus 30 minutes plus the amount to get to an alternative airport or something like that.


I’m not surprised, but that’s luggage/weight that would previously been checked if not for the cost factor. So, it’s probably not significant in terms of actual increase in weight.

Your luggage is still being inspected. The local news reported, a few weeks ago, that the TSA seized a record number of loaded guns last year. The mind boggles. What part of “you are not allowed to carry a loaded gun on an airliner” do people not understand?

Nationwide, TSA agents stopped 6,737 guns from getting through security and onboard planes. This was the highest total for a single year in the history of TSA. In 2022, there were 6,542 guns seized nationwide.

I have to admit being gobsmacked by this whole thing. Statistically if you get 100 humans in a room you can guess their weight within a few pounds using (accurate) averages and multiplication tables. If you have to get super accurate for some reason separate things into “men”, “women”, and “children”.

An empty 737 weighs about 90,000 pounds. If you’re over/under by a hundred pounds or two it’s really not going to make a difference in how much fuel to put on the plane.

Luggage? Big difference. There’s no way to accurately predict that except by weighing it, and stowing it appropriately. But humans? Not hard. (Yes, I know how important weight/balance is to an aircraft.) If things seem desperately out of true, the captain can walk down the aisle and ask people to reseat. I’ve seen it done, but only on flights that were small aircraft, less than half full, and where people were bunched together for whatever reason.

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A couple of years ago flew back from Ireland a man in the bulkhead I think it is called, he was close to 7 feet tall and a good weight. What do you do with someone legitimately large? His clothing must have taken up more room and weighted more. He could not sit anywhere else but first class on the entire plane.

Note by bulkhead I mean a front row in economy with legroom.