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Increase In Obesity And Airline Performance  
User currently offlinequestions From Australia, joined Sep 2011, 874 posts, RR: 1
Posted (2 years 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3526 times:

How has the increase in obesity rates, especially in the western world, impacted airlines' operational performance?

Passengers are getting larger. Has this impacted take-off weight? What is the impact on fuel consumption? Does cargo take a hit to reduce weight? Are there other impacts? Or are there no material impacts?

(Note: this thread is not about passenger comfort, making "passengers of size" pay for two seats, etc)

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineFlyDeltaJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1945 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 3358 times:
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Quoting questions (Thread starter):
How has the increase in obesity rates, especially in the western world, impacted airlines' operational performance?

As far as I know for UA and DL the standard passenger weight which is used to calculate weight and balance has not changed. Not to be funny but bigger passengers means bigger clothes, this can be why bags seem so much heavier now.

The only valid opinions are those based in facts
User currently offlineshufflemoomin From Denmark, joined Jun 2010, 480 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3215 times:

I guess that's a good point. What is the weight that airlines currently use as an "average weight" for passengers?

User currently offlinedoug_Or From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3454 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3199 times:

Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 2):
What is the weight that airlines currently use as an "average weight" for passengers?

Varies by airline, but they have changed over the years. This is why 80s era turbo props (EMB-120, SAAB 340, and DASH-8-100) are generally weight restricted to less passengers than they have seats.

When in doubt, one B pump off
User currently offlineRubberJungle From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3129 times:

Standard weights have been adjusted in the past.

EASA commissioned a survey on passenger weights in 2008, to check whether the standards used in safety regulations should be updated. The report concluded that the standard mass should be 88kg.

If you want to read the document, the link is below. Summary on pages 13-14:


User currently offlinetraindoc From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 367 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 2754 times:

Gives new meaning to ATC calls, "Delta 123 heavy"' etc.   

User currently offlineMasseyBrown From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 5642 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2716 times:

I'd guess obesity increases boarding times and probably debarking times as well. The tubs just aren't as light on their feet as the rest of the crowd.

I love long German words like 'Freundschaftsbezeigungen'.
User currently offlineCaspian27 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 384 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 2503 times:

Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 2):
What is the weight that airlines currently use as an "average weight" for passengers?

195 lbs for adults in winter, 190 lbs for summer. 87 lbs for children in winter, 82 lbs in summer.

Meanwhile, somewhere 35,000 ft above your head...
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9899 posts, RR: 52
Reply 8, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2317 times:

The FAA published revised guidelines for average passenger weights in 2004. They increased average passenger weights.


This was in response to the Air Midwest US Airways Express Crash in Charlotte in 2003 when the airplane was overloaded and a maintenance problem reduced elevator authority. When the average weight went up, it hurt airline operations since they had to reduce the payload available for fuel and cargo. Transcon routes became more difficult. This especially hurt airlines operating 737NGs and A320s on US transcon routes. Smaller airplanes were also affected since the new numbers made it almost impossible to dispatch an EMB 120 or Saab 340 with all their seats occupied.

If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 26196 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (2 years 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2237 times:

Quoting questions (Thread starter):
Are there other impacts?

Probably means more wear and tear on seats. I'm surprised the armrests don't break off when some passengers much wider than 17 inches squeeze themselves into the seat and sometimes have to go sideways to fit down the aisle.

Another poential impact may involve safety, as very large passengers can't move as fast during an evacuation and may block other passengers where even a few seconds can make a difference (e.g. fire).

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