A video captured at an undisclosed airport has ignited a wave of anger among viewers, which showcases a passenger standing on the luggage scale fully exposed for everyone to see, leading many to question airline policies and raising concerns about their commitment to maintaining humane standards.
Safety vs Human Dignity
It is not uncommon for airlines to implement strict policies for passengers, even if they may not be well-received, in order to ensure safety onboard. However, the question of where the line should be drawn between "safety" and humane treatment is a subject of ongoing debate.
This discussion was recently reignited by a viral video showcasing a woman being weighed like baggage on a scale in front of the “whole airport” before being allowed to board the aircraft.
Verifying Passenger Weight
One traveler recounted that as part of “safety measures,” all passengers were required to inform the airline crew of their weight. However, when the workers suspected one passenger was lying about her weight, they insisted on her standing on a scale to make sure that was her actual weight.
Earlier this year, TikToker Lillian (@lilwessel) posted a photo on the platform showcasing the unnamed woman being weighed.
The short clip, which initially surfaced in March but has since been removed, went viral on TikTok and sparked anger among viewers. Many speculated whether the airline was involved in discriminatory practices against plus-size passengers.
Lillian wrote in the caption, “The whole airport trying to mind their own business as a woman is asked to step on the baggage scale because she claimed she was 130lbs. It’s a tiny plane so they needed our weight to take off for safety reasons.”
The video has sparked significant outrage among online viewers, with many individuals expressing their strong disapproval of the depicted incident in the comment section. “Why are people so mean?” one viewer questioned, while another wrote, “That's not OK.”
Another commenter shared their personal experience, stating that they had encountered a similar situation and admitted that they had never been “so embarrassed” in their whole life.
Another individual in the comment section expressed their sentiment, writing, "I'd cry."
Safety Comes First
On the other hand, several commenters came to the defense of the airline, with one person remarking, “Nah because why would she lie and risk all our lives including hers?”
Another commenter emphasized the importance of weight and balance on small airplanes, stressing, “It's not personal... It's life or death.”
Body-Positive Advocates Call for Change
This incident takes place amidst a wave of body-positive influencers attacking the airlines for failing to accommodate plus-sized travelers. Notably, a plus-size TikToker who posts on TikTok as Big Curvy Olivia gained viral attention by advocating for wider plane aisles to cater to larger passengers, denouncing the current configuration as "discrimination."
Olivia shared a video on her now-unavailable account that showcases her challenges while navigating a United Airlines aircraft. The footage shows her having to turn sideways so she could maneuver past the rows of seats.
“Honestly, it’s discrimination that they can’t build wider aisles in airplanes 2023,” she expressed in her video.
Potential Cut In Profits
After these incidents involving plus-size travelers, the body-positivity advocates faced severe backlash online, with critics advising them against flying altogether. Some went as far as suggesting that wider aisles would decrease the number of seats, potentially impacting profits in order to accommodate the "supersized."
Ensuring Safety in the Skies
Although it may not be favored by some passengers who prefer to keep their weight private, many airlines have already introduced weight checks for passengers on smaller aircraft as a means to maintain appropriate balance and comply with safe weight limits.
The Federal Aviation Administration advisory stated in 2021 that airlines might soon implement a policy where individuals of larger proportions could be requested to undergo a weight assessment or disclose their weight before being allowed to board the airplane.
Weight Assessments for Passengers of Larger Proportions
The purpose of such a policy was to gather updated data on the average weight of passengers since the current data reportedly fails to capture the actual obesity rates in the United States.
This would help maintain compliance with the permissible weight limits of aircraft, particularly smaller ones.
As stated by AirInsight, once a traveler has been selected, an operator may proceed to "determine the actual weight of passengers" by instructing them to step “on a scale before boarding the aircraft.”
However, to protect the privacy of passengers, it is specified that the readout on the scale should be kept “hidden from public view.”
Rethinking Weighing Practices
The regulatory agency reversed its decision only recently, stating that although weighing passengers was still a possibility, the majority of airlines would resort to other methods to calculate passengers’ weights. These other measures included making “a reasonable estimate about the passenger’s actual weight and adding 10 pounds.”
Ensuring Both Privacy & Safety
In 2015, Uzbekistan Airways, primarily operating flights between Asia and Europe, made an announcement stating their intention to weigh passengers as a measure to “ensure flight safety.”
The airline assured passengers of the “full confidentiality of the results,” as stated in a statement released at the time.
In the Skies, Safety Reigns Supreme
What are your thoughts? Do you believe that weighing individuals before allowing them to board is inconsistent with human dignity? Alternatively, do you think that no one should have the right to weigh someone else, even under the guise of safety measures? Or perhaps you take a more nuanced stance, suggesting that it could be acceptable for airlines to weigh passengers in a private setting with the assurance that the data remains confidential?
Regardless of your stance on the matter, it is mostly agreed upon that when it comes to traveling by plane, ensuring safety takes precedence above all else. After all, a single mistake has the potential to be catastrophic in the air.
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Sylvia Silverstone is a passionate writer who loves to share her knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including beauty, life hacks, entertainment, health, news, and money. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Sylvia's engaging writing style keeps readers coming back for more.