Woman Forced To Get On Scale At Airport Check-In: Staff Didn’t Believe She Was Just 130 Pounds

Passengers have gotten heavier over the years and now airlines have to carry more fuel in order to fly some trips as a result. Old assumptions about how much a plane is going to weigh, based on number of passengers, have gone out the window. But usually it’s the assumptions that get updated – rather than actually weighing each passenger before a flight.

A passenger posted a short video to TikTok, since-deleted, showing a woman standing on a baggage scale at a check-in counter,

The whole airport trying to mind their own business as a woman is asked to step on a BAGGAGE SCALE because she claimed she was 130 lbs.

It’s a tiny plane so they needed our weight to take off for safety reasons.

How much passengers weigh can matter!

While it’s foreign to the U.S. flying experience, weighing passengers isn’t all that uncommon abroad. Air New Zealand weighed passengers two years ago to validate assumptions about average weight. Europe’s safety agency weighed passengers, too, and found passenger weights had been steady over the past 14 years.

Samoa Air reportedly charged passengers based on their weight, like the unmemorable chain restaurant I went to as a kid which ran a promotion charging children by their weight for meals. And in 2015 Uzbekistan Airways announced they would require all passengers to weigh in prior to boarding for safety even though airlines the world over maintain excellent safety records without the practice.

I’ve even had to get on the scale myself. When I first flew Maldivian from Male on my first visit to the Maldives in 2012 I had to get on the scale at check-in. So did my wife, and – it appeared – every other foreigner. Maldivians did not seem to be asked to weigh in.

On subsequent trips each year since the practice appeared to be abandoned. I was never asked to weigh in again, although Maldivian’s website says that the policy is still in place.

Q – Why do I get weighed at Check-in?

Ans – All passengers are weighed at check-in for safety requirements of our Dash-8 200 aircrafts.

Small variance can matter on small planes, and while one passenger’s weight may not make a material difference the weight of all passengers can. And when there are just a few passengers, they may not conform to averages. At least that’s the concern which does pop up from time to time.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. No friggin way that passenger is 130lbs. Maybe if she’s 4’-0”.

    Small planes are very sensitive to weight. That’s just physics.

  2. Some airlines recommend that all passengers pee and poop before they are weighed to help insure the aircraft is below maximum take-off weight and allow more revenue-generating cargo to be loaded for transport.

  3. When I visit South Africa I am routinely weighed, as are all other pax, when boarding CRJs. Some S African men are quite large, burly. When a flight has only a few pax we have been distributed in seats throughout the aircraft for weight and balance issues. I’ve noticed this happens most when I fly from JNB to UPN (Uppington), which is in the Kalahari desert. There are frequent, fast changes in weather systems in that area, as well as upper level duststorm patterns and unstable air, so weight and balance is an issue.

  4. What an excellent example of where we are today socially. The woman has no problem telling a big lie about her weight … even tho it’s of vital importance on a small plane. She doesn’t care if her extra 70 pounds affects the plane’s operability. It’s all about her. Delighted to see the agents hold her feet to the fire.

  5. Don’t be shocked if the next step will be charging by the pound for tickets – which I would like to see implemented. When I fly I hate when some lard bucket sits next to me and their obese self spills over into my paid for seating space.

  6. Start charging by the pound. Time to give the average obese American a reason to start to get healthier.

  7. Apparently, she was weighting along with her 26″ luggage.

    Therefore, it’s adjustable that airline was doing this for safety concerns.

  8. I recognize this counter/location… this is the Cape Air gate on A concourse at Nashville. They are flying 9-seaters to Marion and Owensboro from there. They asked my weight and believed what I had to say a couple weeks ago… they do weigh all bags though. And it is in their right to weigh people who don’t provide a believable weight. It is actually in FAA Advisory Circular AC 120-27F on aircraft weight and balance. Cape Air because of the nature of aircraft has chosen to go with actual weights versus average weights.

  9. Been out of the industry for a few years but the standard for figuring weight and balance on the mainline was 160-170 depending on the season. This included carry on. At 150 with carry on I exceeded it. Luckily, the aircraft manufactuers add for not normal weights and Americans all mostly over weight. They did figure different for military and sports teams.

  10. I used to flay small single engine planes. I had to get everyone’s weight, and if anyone was reluctant, I pointed out what would happen on rotation with an aft CG. Once my wife and I were on CD a United 737 IAD-SFO, light load, and we were asked to sit in the back due to weight and balance issues. We were each offered our own row. No free drink though even though we were downgraded from Economy Plus. (We did eventually get our upgrade charge back.)

  11. Didn’t a Hawaiian airline weigh (and charge) passengers for inter-island travel (again on small planes) not so long ago? Might incentivize better health on average?

  12. If she’s 3 feet tall, maybe it’s true… hoping Southwest and Delta don’t follow this trend

  13. @David R. Miller My! Your empathy is showing! You really know how to put yourself in another person’s place. It could be you one day that is the so called “lard bucket”. Maybe then you will enjoy paying by the pound. With the prices that are already charged who knows? Maybe by the pound will be cheaper.

  14. Carol Lewis – The only “place” I can put myself in is the one I presently occupy. I am 75 years old, 5 foot 10, 165 pounds. I have never allowed myself to get fat – therefore my “girth” does not infringe upon others no matter which seat I occupy on an airplane. When I purchase a ticket to fly, my ticket is for one seat and the space for that seat. That space is mine for the duration of the flight to use and I do not like for someone to “share” that space just because they have allowed themselves to become overly large/obese. I, for one, decided that I wanted to live a long life and have maintained my body all of my life. Save your concern for those who have decided, for whatever reason, to allow themselves to get grossly overweight and /or obese.

  15. @David R. Miller My ! My! What an arrogant and self righteous attitude. You give senior citizens a bad name. Consider yourself fortunate at your age especially to have a good weight that is in proportion to your height. I do have concern-not just for people with weight issues. It never hurts to have concern for our fellow human beings. And even the overweight are that. I don’t imagine anyone chooses to be overweight. There can be medical issues and/or addictions. Something could still happen to sabotage your “perfect” weight situation. So don’t take it for granted. Appreciate it. And the next time you see an overweight person remember: But for the grace of God it would be you instead of them. Bon appetit.

  16. Carol Lewis- Arrogant?? Are you serious? People make choices when they wake up, throughout the day, day in, day out, week in, week out, year in year out – their whole lives. Don’t give me the crap about the obese – they made their choices when they over eat and you expect me and everyone else to have to deal with the results of their choices. Granted, there are some who have medical issues – but NO ONE gets obese if they put the fork down. You can not gain weight unless you eat more than you burn – and that is a fact. If YOU want to make excuses for their choices, that is your right. When flying I am not ever going to be happy having an overly large/obese person “sharing” my paid for seat space – and no one else should have to either. As far as my personal size goes, I will never end up obese – for I know when to put the fork down.

  17. @David R. Miller. Sometimes especially dealing with an addiction people always have a choice but they may feel like they don’t. The weight sneaks up on them and then it can be devastating to lose 100 pounds. It’s always easier to lose 10 instead of a 100. Unfortunately overeating is different from other addictions. The cigarette smoker has one thing to give up. The alcoholic has one thing to give up. You can’t totally give up food or you die. I wasn’t kidding about arrogance. That’s how you come across. However they got in this situation you can still have empathy for them. As I said before putting the fork down has worked for you so far but it may not in the future. If the overweight bother you that much maybe you shouldn’t fly. Stay at home or fly a private plane.

  18. Carol – Keep making excuses – it won’t change the reality. Bottom line 1) I, or any other person, pay for a seat. The seat and it’s area is mine – not someone else’s. 2). When an overly large/obese person infringes upon my paid for seat area, I should not and WILL not accept that. 3) Their personal issues with their size should not become MY issue. I will fly whenever I wish – maybe you should have a talk with the overly large/obese person and tell THEM that they should NOT fly.

  19. @David R. Miller. You call them excuses. I call them reasons. You definitely have your rights but when you’re out in public in this world you can expect some inconvenience sometimes. You can expect all kinds of people. You can expect rudeness occasionally. You can expect the one track mind. The close minded. There will be a place and time that will be perfect but not now. Not here. In Heaven there will be big buffets. No calories though. Everyone’s weight and height will be in proportion. In that place and time weight won’t be an issue. I imagine you will be dealing with this situation as long as you travel as the overweight have every right to travel too.

  20. Carol Lewis – I have heard all I care to hear from you. My hope for you is that from this moment on, every time you fly that there be at least one if not two over sized/obese people sitting next to you on every flight – then you will have ample opportunities to practice what you preach.

  21. Carol Lewis-a new name for hypocrite. Says she has “concern” but apparently not for David. Or anyone she disagrees with.
    Her true colors have come out and she is “arrogant and self righteous” and gives seniors a bad name (her words).

  22. Soooooo, is there a point to this story, other than the pax is unrealistic about her weight? No comments about how she responded. A little anger and unhappiness would be expected. Did she make a scene, or handle it like a trooper? I think ee all would like yo hear a story where someone doesn’t freak out?

  23. Not sure what type of aircraft the PAX was to board, but I don’t find it all that absurd, especially if a turbo prop. Years ago, a group of us in the back of an ATR 42 were requested to move forward to balance out the plane.
    As for the USA, the fanny of many an Americans is a bit plump based on all that Super Sized junk food. And don’t forget all that carry on luggage. It does make a difference!!

  24. @Exit Row Seat – Being that is Cape Air at Nashville, it would be a Technam P2012 (9 pax). They sometimes use a Cessna 402 as back-up.

  25. I have been that person in the middle of 2 extremely large people on a 14 hr flight from Miami to Paris, so much so that the flight attendant did not see me & I was not offered a beverage or food the first go round! It was horribly uncomfortable as I weigh/weigh 105 lbs. The flight was full & I could not even move. Even worse,:they both had crank up the air & were both sweating all over me, talk about uncomfortable! I did feel bad for both of them, but I was positively trapped & miserable the whole flight. My friends I was traveling with had to wait at the apartment we had rented for me to shower before we could start our “vacation”. Thank God the one friend gave us all Tylenol PM so we would awaken bright eyed & bushy tailed to start our exploration! 4 of the 5 of us had never been to Paris before & we were anxious to get started. On the way home they chipped in to get me into “priority seating” (this was in 1999 so I don’t remember what it was called back then) so I wouldn’t be miserable again! Plus, of course, that flight wasn’t over-booked but it was definitely a rough start to the vacation we had planned 9 mos ahead of time!

  26. @Gary I do wish you wouldn’t repost this cr*p even if it generates posts. If one wanted a poster child for why social media has completely lobotomized several generations, this is it.
    If you don’t understand weight and balance in smaller aircraft STFU please.
    This lady, who clearly doesn’t understand that black entitlement doesn’t work outside the USA, should learn that if you are going to lie about your weight, at least make it believable.
    That said, I find the vituperative comments about overweight folk here disturbing. Apparently it’s OK, although if they were translated to a religious or racial focus, they would be unacceptable.

  27. Woofie – vituperative? Get back with us after you have spent 3+ hours next to a space hogging, sweating obese passenger – now that is “disturbing”….

  28. @James. I’ll talk to David about my concern or lack of it for him as the case may be. Meanwhile speaking of hypocrites be sure that your life is in order before you label and judge me.

  29. @David R. Miller. Believe me I have heard plenty from you too. I have never been in that situation. I have two possibilities for you: 1. Even though you say your weight is good , lose some anyway. That way they won’t be encroaching so much on your space. 2. Sit by the window or aisle and have a travel companion with you. That way the companion will get it or it will be the companion squashing you. Maybe you won’t mind that so much. If neither of these work talk to the airline. I usually travel with my sons. I don’t mind them being in my personal space. One time I encountered this but not on a plane. At our state fair a woman was leaning all over me. A stranger. To this day I don’t why. Maybe drunk or high. She wasn’t obese but I didn’t like it. So I have thought of how you might feel and I do care if you are made uncomfortable. After all you are human too. Aren’t you? Maybe we will both get to encounter this situation in the future and see how we deal with it. It would be interesting. In your situation though I hope there are two already overweight people (one on each side of you) that just ate pinto beans, onions and garlic. Happy travels! 🙂

  30. Ah, the blindness of people like Carol Lewis.
    If you can talk to David however you want to then you don’t believe in manners and decorum. Why would anyone believe you are not a jerk, as you make yourself out to be? I doubt you are polite in person. And you have shown yourself to be judgmental, vitriolic, and full of hatred by how you think you can belittle others.
    Maybe you should hold yourself to your own standards. Though I suspect that is too tall an order for you, because all you can do is peck away at a keyboard and not actually contribute anything useful to the world.

  31. Carol Lewis, it ain’t about fat-shaming…It’s about safety. Folks lying about anything when aircraft safety is an issue is unacceptable. If you have rechargeable lithium batteries in your checked luggage you shouldn’t lie about it. They can cause fires in the cargo hold and take down the aircraft. If the aircraft performance, or even the ability to get off the ground, is dependent on an accurate gross weight for passengers, cargo, & fuel you need to tell the truth. A talented singer named Allyah, along with a plane full of friends, crashed in the Bahamas due to overloading the plane. Everyone died.

  32. I say, charge everyone by weight. This resolves the problem with really really big people complaining about discrimination. If you take up more space, you’ll be charged like everyone else.
    Additionally most women would pay less so consider it compensation for historic injustices or whatever.

  33. big win for David R. miller and James. David all your doing is stating facts and bloody Carol Lewis is just spreading her woke feminist garbage which i find hard to believe that any one could be stupid enough to believe any of this but here we listing to fricking Carol. Big ups to James for absolutely clowning her.

  34. @Mitchell. I can totally understand how it would be uncomfortable to sit by a stranger sweating and/or stinking and squashing you to pieces. I feel bad if anyone is uncomfortable no matter what is said to the contrary about me. I could probably tolerate certain family members crushing me. I think my words maybe weren’t the best to describe how I feel and David R. Miller and James (2 clowns were quick to berate me.) Now I see a 3rd clown has joined in. All I tried to say is maybe you should think of the heavy person too instead of just yourselves. I would be willing to bet there is a thin person inside them wanting to come out. I imagine they are unhappy. And yes maybe they brought it on themselves. A lot of us bring issues on ourselves. That doesn’t mean we can’t put ourselves in their place. It doesn’t cost anything to care about your fellow humans. What makes you think I’m a feminist? What makes you think period? All of you can take your supposed big win and stick it. I can think of a couple of places. If the 3 of you are too ignorant to even slightly open your minds and understand then what more can be said? I’m throwing my pearls before uncaring, ignorant swine and it’s time to stop.

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