Consumer Alert: Fat and flying? The FAA wants to weigh Americans.
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In this consumer alert I’m taking a look at pounds, planes and preparing to fly. The FAA wants airlines to get your weight before you fly. Why? It’s because Americans are getting fatter, and the FAA hasn’t adjusted its weight and balance calculations for aircraft for decades. And estimating the weight that plane is carrying is essential to keeping us all safe.
I get it. But can you imagine it? In addition to all the other hassles of screening like removing your shoes, your belt, your liquids, you’d also have to step on a scale. It’s already done in other countries.
In Somoa where 58% of women are obese, passengers weigh in. And New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority mandates weight checks every five years.
Getting better weight estimates is especially important in smaller aircraft. So exactly how would that work here in America? The FAA says passengers should be picked at random and it should be done in a secure area of the airport. The FAA also says it should be voluntary so you can opt-out. And if scales are at the gate, your weight should be out of public view. The FAA recommends weight reviews be done every 36 months.
I’m closely following this. When and how airlines begin to implement these recommendations, I’ll certainly let you know.
Speaking of flying, if you’re booking summer travel, you should know that most of those pandemic perks are gone. When flying fear kept most of us on the ground, airlines threw out change fees and other small print annoyances. Now most airlines have brought those fees are back. There are only two airlines that fly out of the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International airport without change fees. Jet Blue flies from Rochester to New York City. There are no change fees for those flights through the end of this month. And Southwest Airlines has never had change fees. So now that all the rules are back, we have to keep up with them to maximize our travel buck.
The Points Guy tracks any changes immediately as they’re made. Click here for a list of each airline’s rules.
And that’s your consumer alert.