Super Sized Passengers?

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The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered commuter airlines to start weighing passengers. The FAA fears that the small planes are overloaded. The current assumption is that passengers weigh, on average, 180 pounds.

Airlines can either weigh passengers or ask them how much they weigh. But in a nod to human nature, they must add 10 pounds to any response they get.

NEXT: State of Crisis

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  1. Weight on ID: My weight and height are on my driver’s license, however, where I live in Iowa, the information gets there by the license bureau employee asking “How tall are you? Uh-huh, and how much do you weigh?”
    Now, presumably, if I gave an answer that was off by 100 pounds or 12 inches, I would be disbelieved, but no one has ever weighed me or measured my height for the info on my license.

  2. New York’s license does not have your weight. Of course, we can hope that the national ID card we will eventually get will feature our accurate weight, subject to yearly revision to account for dieting, or (more likely) binging.

  3. 10 pounds isn’t enough.

    Many (most?) people weigh themselves wearing little or nothing, and your clothes alone can add 5 to 10 or more pounds.

  4. I guess I will be traveling without my wife then…

  5. My weight is on my ID. Can’t they just use that? Or don’t they trust the ID in the first place?

  6. The 180-pound assumption includes baggage (carry-on and checked), and is an average across all travellers (men, women, and children). Across a large number of passengers (i.e. 250 passengers stuffed into a B747 or a B777), the assumption holds pretty well, and even if it didn’t, those birds have enough lift to safely handle it anyway. Across 15 passengers stuffed into a little Beech plane, on the other hand, the average weight assumption can break down simply because (in statistician-speak) the sample size is not large enough.

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