Would You Be Willing to Step on a Scale before Your Next Flight?
I'm old enough to remember a time when there were virtually no security checks at the airport, no limitations on who could go all the way to the gate, and when the only 'screening' question before you got on board was whether you wanted to be seated in the smoking or non-smoking section of the aircraft.
As the world has become a much more dangerous place, we now encounter a host of checks well before we're on board the plane and the number of those has increased further in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But long before there was coronavirus in America, there was another major health issue - obesity. And now that might be playing a role in how you travel in the future.
AirInsight.com is reporting on a new document put out earlier this month by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that deals with weight and balance aboard airplanes.
The one section of the 58-page circular that caught the eye of the people at the website was the FAA's desire to collect 'information on the use of average estimated weight programs for passengers and baggage'.
It's all about making sure planes aren't attempting to take off when they are overloaded.
It's a real concern with more than 60 million Americans now considered obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. And with winter less than six months away, the FAA is asking airlines to update and increase their standard average passenger weight numbers by 12 percent, from 175 pounds last winter to 195 pounds in 2021.
In order to do this accurately, the FAA is imploring the airlines to begin instituting surveys to help establish weights for the crew, luggage, and yes even passengers. This means you might be asked to step on a scale before you board your next flight.
So just how is this going to work?
The FAA is giving the airlines a couple of options: random sampling and elective participation.
Either way, passengers will be assured that their information will remain confidential and that they will have the right to refuse the screening - for now.
You think things are already tense at airports, just wait until they roll this beauty out.