10th May 2019
FONT SIZE: A+ A-
Passengers to be weighed to cut fuel costs and reduce emissions
Passengers to be weighed to cut fuel costs and reduce emissions

Passengers may soon be weighed before boarding on long flights in order to reduce fuel costs and cut emissions.

Currently, planes are fuelled based on assumed weights of 88kg per passenger. Airlines currently load about one per cent more fuel than they need and burn between 0.3 and 0.5 per cent more fuel in carrying the extra load made up of this surplus of fuel.

A proposal by British company Fuel Matrix suggests that passengers be individually weighed at check-in so ground crew can more correctly estimate the fuel required for a flight. These accurate measurements for fuel requirements could reduce costs for the airline and help lower emissions.

“The aircraft dispatcher and captain can then work together to calculate the exact ‘zero-fuel weight’ of the aircraft (the weight of the plane itself plus all cargo and passengers) and load the appropriate amount of fuel,” chief operating officer of Fuel Matrix Nick Brasier told The Independent.

“We’re not suggesting people should stand on the scales, but airports could fit ‘pressure pads’ in the bag-drop area in front of each screen.

“After the bag has been checked in, the system can ask, ‘Are you standing on the pressure pad?’

“If the passenger taps ‘Yes’, then the weight can be recorded and passed confidentially to the airline,” said Mr Brasier.

Passengers who like to choose their own seats at check-in may not want to read on, as Fuel Matrix suggests that further savings could be made by airlines allocating passengers in the optimum seats to ensure an aircraft’s proper balance.

According to Travel Weekly, Fuel Matrix is talking with several international long-haul airlines about deploying this system.

Do you think this is a good idea?

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Big Al
    11th May 2019
    7:19am
    Silliest idea I've heard of .. its like only filling the petrol tank with just enough fuel to get to the destination, then encountering a head wind and running out of petrol a few klms b4 ..
    There'll b some airlines who might abuse this technology.
    Hopefully I find out which airlines are planning to adopt this, so I dont book with them .. I might have to take the initial flight, but once they ask me to ensure Im on the pad, I'll know what thry r up to .. naturally I'll stand on the pad, but never fly with them again .. and use socisl media to let all othets know
    MICK
    11th May 2019
    11:10am
    You're not too far wrong. Headwinds are planned for but arriving with half the fuel unused is not because it costs to transport every kg of mass and fuel weighs around a 800 kg per cubic metre. That's like 9 passengers weighing 88 kg each for every cubic metre of fuel.
    If you have issues with weighing passengers then spare a thought for what your mass inflicts on passengers sitting next to you in what are often tight seats. Maybe ask anybody who's been through this to appreciate its not all about you.
    By all means fly China Air etc. Your call.
    Jim
    11th May 2019
    7:35am
    Strangely this is not a new idea, I remember travelling from Sydney to Perth in 1984, we were flying on the red eye with east west airlines, after our bags were weighed we were also weighed much to the hilarity of our friends who had taken us to the airport.
    Bushbaby
    11th May 2019
    8:28am
    This was common practice at one time with the very small aircraft that flew between small communities in the outback. The pilot weighed everyone on portable scales (like the common bathroom scales) and allocated all the seating to distribute the weight as evenly as possible around the plane. I have no idea if its still done.
    ozirules
    11th May 2019
    10:58am
    took a helicopter flight over an Alaskan glacier and they did weigh each passenger and seat them to suit the aircraft's balance. No one objected as it was either weigh in or dont fly.
    MICK
    11th May 2019
    11:11am
    The smaller the plane the more critical the calculations. Getting it wrong can and has been the making of a crash.
    TREBOR
    12th May 2019
    1:05pm
    Remember the DC-8 charter filled with 101 Airborne blokes that crashed in Newfoundland or something - on takeoff.. didn't allow for the added weight of all that equipment and big fit men.
    casper dude
    11th May 2019
    8:48am
    I'm all for weighing passengers. Our luggage is weighed so why not us. It makes sense. I find it very irritating the rules as they are. I'm glad to hear the airlines are taking emissions and costs into consideration and hopefully lower air fare costs. Another thing I would like the airlines to seriously consider is improving their air conditioning. Get more fresh air into the cabins rather than recycling it. I know that costs too but the number of usually fit and healthy people I know who return from air travel with nasty bugs, including myself, is quite amazing even after taking all necessary precautions of wiping down tray table, hand controller, arm rests etc. I witness the hygiene behaviour of some passengers and it's not pretty.
    ardnher
    11th May 2019
    9:04am
    no problem with that at all...normally I only take around 12kg of luggage and would still be under the amount they currently average out per customer
    greygeek
    12th May 2019
    7:19pm
    once the airlines banned smoking, the fresh air intake frequency was greatly reduced as it was considered no longer necessary to refresh the air often due to the absence of smoke.
    This is common knowledge and I believe it to be the reason so many people contract "bugs" aboard flights.
    80 plus
    11th May 2019
    9:32am
    if each passenger was allowed to weigh 130kilos including the cabin and check luggage that would be a much fairer system, IE overweight means less baggage.
    MICK
    11th May 2019
    11:13am
    The issue is total payload mass AND how this weight is distributed around the centre of mass for the plane. Its technical but it is important to get it right.
    Mandy
    13th May 2019
    9:09am
    I remember seeing a cartoon showing a little person being charged for overweight baggage while the huge person behind him is saying I've only got this carry on bag.
    ardnher
    14th May 2019
    10:38am
    yes it seems unfair to me
    Strummer
    11th May 2019
    9:33am
    My son-in-law is a long-haul pilot with Qantas and says that a more accurate assessment of total cargo weight is long overdue.
    Strummer
    11th May 2019
    9:33am
    My son-in-law is a long-haul pilot with Qantas and says that a more accurate assessment of total cargo weight is long overdue.
    MICK
    11th May 2019
    11:13am
    YES.
    SFR
    11th May 2019
    9:44am
    So 88kg per passenger + 30kg check in + 7kg carry on = 128kg per passenger. We should have to stand on the weight pad with all luggage and if total weight is more than 128kgs then excess baggage charges apply. Passengsers should also be made to pay for 2 seats if they can't sit in one seat without overflow. Benefit for oversized passengers is then they can have a total combined weight of 256kgs.
    TREBOR
    11th May 2019
    10:06am
    Hmm - the ex was seated next to a rather large Mediterraneo, who took up half of her seat as well as his own... as if by some right... she was not happy....
    MICK
    11th May 2019
    11:15am
    The luggage ends up in a different place to the passengers. Passengers SHOULD be weighed and if they don't like it then they might like to catch a train or a boat. This is not about self image and all about safety. Fat people need to get that!
    Knows-a-lot
    11th May 2019
    12:04pm
    I'm 6' 6", not obese, but weigh around 125kg. Why should naturally large men be discriminated against and have to pay more?
    MICK
    11th May 2019
    1:51pm
    We're talking about fat people whose fat hangs over the seats and pushed average people out of theirs. long has its own disadvantages (for you). Get a bulkhead seat!

    The discussion about 2 seats or extra wide seats is about allowing others to not be squeezed. You should not turn this into a 'discrimination' discussion. It isn't.
    McGroger
    11th May 2019
    2:04pm
    What about a combination of weight and BMI? Say a BMI of 27, which is midway between “overweight” (above 25) and “obese” (above 30). This would still discriminate against people who were overweight through no fault of their own, but perhaps they could carry something from their medico certifying that.

    As a nation we’re all too fat, anyway, so I think something like this to make us just a little more conscious of the fact could only be a good thing.

    And sorry to rain on your parade, K-a-L, but as a rule of thumb anyone your height weighing 118 kg or more is technically “obese”; even at 100 kg you would would classed as “overweight”. Check out any of the many calculators online.
    Jimmy
    11th May 2019
    6:29pm
    I would be happy to buy the seat next to me but that is not an option when booking on line. If anyone knows how to do it, please let me know.
    MICK
    12th May 2019
    10:58am
    Ring the airline and tell then what you want to do. They'd jump at you paying for a second seat as no extra food needed and no extra weight.
    The problem is do you buy left and right seats? This is the only way to ensure those next to you were not disadvantaged. Of course there are special (larger) seats for obese people but you have to do this through the call centre and ask for these seats, which are a limited number so get in early.
    Hope that helps.
    abundanced
    11th May 2019
    9:58am
    That’s one way to get a nation to slim down and yet another way to rip Australians off !
    TREBOR
    11th May 2019
    10:02am
    Weight distribution - no more nose high or low takeoffs... put all the 'thin-ness challenged' passengers over the wings for balance...

    They still have to carry an extra quota of fuel, just in case...
    TREBOR
    11th May 2019
    10:09am
    'Good morning, this is your captain - all passengers will note that under your seats we no longer have life jackets, but instead a can of spare fuel. Should we require extra, please assist your cabin attendant by immediately vacating your seat until the fuel canister is removed... we hope you all enjoy your flight with Backyard Airlines..."

    I once read a book about 'Tooey' Spaatz, the US Army Air Corps guy - and he 'pioneered' mid-air refueling by climbing out on the wing with a can of petrol.... hmmm .... got more on himself than in the tank, but it worked...
    ozirules
    11th May 2019
    11:01am
    how dumb was that. He was carrying the extra fuel anyway so why not just plumb it into the engine feed line. Maybe it was April 1st
    MICK
    11th May 2019
    11:16am
    Actually TREBOR you need to put all the fat folks over the wing rather than the thin ones.
    TREBOR
    12th May 2019
    1:08pm
    'thin-ness challenged' = fat .... if you're a rake you're obesity-challenged...

    Is it exomorph and endomorph challenged?

    I'm about 6' and 88 kg - look fit as hell - but they say I'm overweight...
    MICK
    11th May 2019
    11:02am
    Its a no brainer to weigh passengers, partly for pilot calculations and partly to decide where to place obese passengers who should never be permitted to sit next to an ordinary traveller. Been there done that.
    Of course there'll be an uproar from fat travellers who have rights. What else is new.
    SFR
    11th May 2019
    1:37pm
    Average & slender people have rights as well, the right to have the seat & arm rest we paid for. The obese have rights, the right to buy a double seat ticket or catch the boat.
    MICK
    11th May 2019
    1:48pm
    Well written. Sadly the politically correct world we live in may say just the opposite....until people go through the experience themselves.
    Susanb
    11th May 2019
    11:07am
    Great idea. Anything at all that can reduce emissions is a good idea. Let’s hurry up and do it for every aircraft
    TinTin
    11th May 2019
    11:22am
    yep I think it's a great idea and they should go the extra mile by charging less for people under 88k and more for people over that weight which is what they do with baggage that's over weight. come on folks barrage my comment with disgust ha ha.
    double j
    11th May 2019
    11:34am
    Weight is. Important when flying ! I did hang gliding in Rio and they had to match the hang glider to my weight. That was about the only safety precaution!!!
    Knows-a-lot
    11th May 2019
    12:00pm
    Sounds like a step towards making the porkers pay more.
    sunnyOz
    11th May 2019
    12:12pm
    The day after a recent flight I ended up in hospital. The reason - due to hugely obese passenger sitting next to me, half way over my seat, meaning I had to sit half side ways, all scrunched, for over 2 hours. Complaint to hostess ignored. Complaint to airline....all I got was 'thank you for your feedback'. If there had been an emergency, neither of us would make it.
    Bodo
    12th May 2019
    11:10am
    hi sunnyOz, sorry to hear that. I assume the arm rest was in the down position and that passenger was flowing over the top of it. Because if he has to have the arm rest in an up position, you have valid grounds for complaint and immediate action. (maybe that airline couldn't care anyway - take a photo and put it on social media. The damage would ensure the airline rethinks their practice)
    gerry
    11th May 2019
    12:22pm
    flying is absolutely gross

    There are 47,000 planes in the air 24/7...... only the fat people are objecting ha ha
    1 Answer. According to Boeing (via airliners.net), it takes 53 minutes to load 55,800 US gallons with two fuel trucks operating at 35 psi delivery pressure. The total fuel capacity of the 787-8 is 33,340 US gal, so fueling from empty to full should take about 31.6 minutes with two trucks.Jun 17, 2015
    TREBOR
    12th May 2019
    1:09pm
    Well - often the absolutely gross are flying.... *snuckles*
    gerry
    11th May 2019
    12:22pm
    flying is absolutely gross

    There are 47,000 planes in the air 24/7...... only the fat people are objecting ha ha
    1 Answer. According to Boeing (via airliners.net), it takes 53 minutes to load 55,800 US gallons with two fuel trucks operating at 35 psi delivery pressure. The total fuel capacity of the 787-8 is 33,340 US gal, so fueling from empty to full should take about 31.6 minutes with two trucks.Jun 17, 2015
    hyacinth
    11th May 2019
    12:59pm
    Yes I do agree with it. If it helps to lower emissions and conserve fuel then I am all for it; It will also encourage people to eat sensibly and watch their weight'
    hyacinth
    11th May 2019
    12:59pm
    Yes I do agree with it. If it helps to lower emissions and conserve fuel then I am all for it; It will also encourage people to eat sensibly and watch their weight'
    Fisherman
    11th May 2019
    2:12pm
    After flying to and from the south pacific islands for the past 3 years, I noticed the airlines cater for the larger bodies by using more robust seating and increasing the average body weight to 100kgs. As most of these flights are over water, the aircraft carry a full complement of life rafts and use ETOPS (The ICAO coined the acronym for Extended Twin Operations for twin-engine aircraft operation further than one hour from a diversion airport at the one-engine inoperative cruise speed, over water or remote lands, on routes previously restricted to three- and four-engine aircraft - wiki). I have flown with Fiji Airlines on the Nadi-Hong Kong flight several times and I appreciate the fact that they cater for the communities they serve. With the obesity epidemic everywhere, it makes sense to consider future options for all airlines.
    Fisherman
    11th May 2019
    2:28pm
    PS ETOPS is known in the Aviation Industry as "Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim"
    Jimmy
    11th May 2019
    6:26pm
    I would love to buy two adjoining seats but that option is not offered when buying seats on line. If anyone can tell me how to do it, I'd be happy to oblige.
    Jimmy
    11th May 2019
    6:34pm
    How does this average out with children, light weight people and people with little or no luggage, or planes which don't have a full load of passengers? I can imagine airlines making a killing, charging people by weight but the total weight of all the passengers and their luggage is under their maximum calculations. Do people charged extra for their personal weight get the fee refunded if their luggage is lighter?
    Londoner
    12th May 2019
    5:24am
    I take it that this laughable 'proposal' would only apply to Economy Class passengers or those intending to fly with a budget airline. I'm sure that anyone flying in Premium Economy Class and above would give a two-word reply to any suggestion that they must be weighed, the second of which would be 'off'.
    Over the last decade airfares, in general, have reduced due to various reasons, one of which is to the detriment to the Economy (or Cattle Class as I call them) passenger who seem content to suffer being treated badly in order to save themselves a few dollars/pounds/whatever currency they paid the ticket price with.
    Generally, airlines are in business to make money and will try whatever they think they can get away with, and so it must be up to the customer to make it clear what they are prepared to accept.
    pedro the swift
    12th May 2019
    10:37am
    My issue with this would be the airlines using total weights to reduce fuel loaded to minimum.Tough luck if there is a need for a diversion or strong headwinds etc. makes running out of fuel a distinct possibility!
    Lookfar
    12th May 2019
    7:38pm
    How much weight you carry is usually associated with how much food you eat, - you eat more you pay more, your clothes may cost more, your shoes will wear out more quickly, doesn't seem unfair, - you like to go to concerts every night, you have to pay more than someone watching them from home on the TV, - lots of choices in life, usually one choice will cost more than another, how can you possible complain? - You are short so never picked for basket ball team, - who you gunna sue? you are too big for the standard coffin, is that the undertaker's fault? you need glasses from day one, just where does it stop? easier to have every individual different person pay their own way and cut their budget accordingly.
    Aussie focussed
    12th May 2019
    9:09pm
    Do it! Why do I a 65KG passenger get charged the same as an obese or donut munching person who has the same carryon as me?!!! Weigh the combined person and baggage and charge accordingly ... user pays should apply
    Londoner
    12th May 2019
    10:46pm
    You clearly didn't think that idea through, did you?
    Aircraft make money when they're flying. not sitting on the ground going nowhere, so with your idea, everyone, and that could mean 300 plus passengers, would arrive at the airport to be weighed, then to be charged (who knows what) and once done and the passengers seat details passed to the aircraft so that the seats can be adjusted to fit the passengers weight (it's only right that large people travel in comfort as they have paid to do so, with your seat possibly being made smaller because you're lighter) followed by the captain calling up for the fuel truck(s) once he has all the weights he needs to have the correct amount of fuel loaded to enable the aircraft to safely reach its intended destination.
    Do you have any idea how long that would take, how many staff would be needed or even an idea of the cost?
    And once in the air how do you think the 'trolley dollies' could carry out their duties with the aisles blocked with adjusted seats?
    You would have been better off suggesting that every aircraft be loaded and weighed at the 'gate' to get an exact figure - lol
    Infinityoz
    12th May 2019
    11:23pm
    They do weigh passengers on small aircraft - we all got weighed before boarding the plane from Savusavu to Nadi. No problem with that, but don't think it's practical for big planes on long international trips. Checkin is slow enough as it is, with usually huge lines snaking through the ropes waiting for the bags to be weighed and sent off.
    POLLIE BACKFLIP
    13th May 2019
    3:32pm
    I totally agree. It is just following on from the user pays concept. Larger vehicles on our roads pay larger costs, so why should it not apply to the human race?? Let's face it, no other initiative so far seems to be having a positive effect on Australia's obesity problem.
    Londoner
    13th May 2019
    5:15pm
    There is no follow on from the user pays concept. It's a stupid idea. How you can try and connect the weight of a person with the running costs of a truck beggars belief.
    On the basis you're suggesting everyone would have to pay varying prices to travel on, say, a bus or on a train or for a seat in a cafe or restaurant etc. In fact everywhere outside of their own home.
    You can only try and educate people about how their lifestyle could be affecting their health. Some people have no control over their size.
    The problem with weight and size on aircraft is caused by the greed of the airlines, more so in Australia because you overpay for your flight tickets, or maybe it's down to the passenger who flies in Economy where they are so obsessed with wanting to travel for a pittance they are seemingly prepared to put up with anything (I've flown with Jetstar, by accident, and have seen how their passengers are treated) yet still whine because their decision leaves them travelling like cattle.
    ardnher
    14th May 2019
    10:41am
    not a bad idea at all....we are getting fatter in this country and people now see it as the "norm"!! doctors are not allowe to tell someone they are overweight in case it causes the patient stress!!!!!
    Virginia
    13th May 2019
    4:17pm
    Great idea then they will charge for overweight people who flow over to other peoples seats. And I wouldn't be charged so much for 1 kg over in my hand luggage when I only weigh 65 kgs
    Dermot
    19th May 2019
    1:06am
    Yes - weigh everyone, and also weigh and measure hand luggage, because people bring oversized and overweight bags on board.
    Jimmy
    19th May 2019
    7:09pm
    Even if large people pay more, will they increase the size of the seats so large people don't take up more than their allotted room? If not, why make them pay more?


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles