Earlier I wrote about the story that Hawaiian Airlines was supposedly weighing passengers traveling on their flight between Honolulu and Pago Pago in American Samoa. It was being claimed that this was due to the weight & balance issues caused by passengers on the route being heavier than average. Some passengers didn’t like the concept, and some have even filed complaints with the Department of Transportation, claiming this is a bogus practice from Hawaiian Airlines.
Well, a Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson has reached out to provide the following explanation of what has been going on with their Pago Pago flight, and it’s an interesting read. Here’s the statement, in its entirety:
We will not be weighing passengers at any point during the check-in or boarding process.
This action resulted from the recognition that over time our fuel burn on Pago Pago (PPG) flights was consistently much higher than projected, indicating that our weight assumptions were inaccurate. We review weights on any flight within our route network that demonstrates such a discrepancy. For example, we surveyed our Japan and Korea flights in 2015 and our new Narita flight earlier this year.
Since fuel consumption can change due to a multitude of factors like wind, fuel policy changes, flight routing, etc., we perform a process of elimination to eliminate all other factors before we conclude that the assumed passenger weight is not representative of the actual passenger weight for a particular route. That triggers a passenger weight survey to establish a new “standard” passenger weight for that route only.
Using FAA protocols, a survey was conducted on all of our PPG flights during a six-month period beginning in February. During this timeframe only, all passengers along with their carryon luggage to be weighed. The survey results confirmed that our aircraft cabin weight was heavier than projected. This requires us to manage the distribution of weight across each row in our cabin and we have elected to do so by making sure that one seat in each row is either empty or occupied by a traveler under the age of 13.
The decision to assign seats at the airport was made because that is the most efficient way to manage weight distribution. This allows us to make sure that families with children are seated together, for example, and it minimizes the confusion created by changing pre-selected seats.
We conducted our first flight under the weight distribution guidelines this week and were able to accommodate all passengers and accommodate all parties traveling together.
Interesting stuff, and seems like a very fair explanation!