As if bag searches and body scanners aren't intrusive enough, Air New Zealand has now figured out another way to invade an airline passenger's privacy: having them step on a scale.
For the next month, as part of a so-called survey, New Zealand's largest airline will weigh passengers flying internationally from Auckland International Airport to certain airports, including New York City's JFK, on a digital scale as part of the checking-in process. Passengers' luggage will be weighed separately. If it's of any comfort, the airline says the dreaded number will not appear on the agent's screen or anywhere visible to passengers or airline workers, and that the data will remain anonymous.
The program, which Air New Zealand calls a passenger weight survey, is a way to gather data on the weight load and distribution for planes, the airline said.
"We weigh everything that goes on the aircraft – from the cargo to the meals onboard, to the luggage in the hold," Alastair James, the airline's load control improvement specialist said in a statement. "For customers, crew and cabin bags, we use average weights, which we get from doing this survey."
Still, weight is a personal thing that not everyone wishes to disclose. In order to protect individuals' privacy, the airline says it has made the data anonymous. …
"We know stepping on the scales can be daunting. We want to reassure our customers there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight, not even us," James said.
The program will run from May 29–July 2, and will affect about 10,000 passengers.