Hawaiian Airlines Will No Longer Weigh Passengers at Check-in for American Samoa Flight

A few days ago, I wrote about Hawaiian’s policy on their flights form Honolulu to Pago Pago, American Samoa. The flight is the only one in Hawaiian’s system that does not allow seat selection at online check-in, and Hawaiian also weighed passengers at check-in before assigning them a seat. This drew some complaints, and two passengers filed a report with the US Department of Transportation.

Hawaiian later reached out to Ben at One Mile at a Time, after he covered of the story. The airline cites explained their practice, citing weight and balance as the reason.

A Hawaiian 767. Photo by Dylan Ashe, used with permission. The same type of plane for the American Samoa route, where Hawaiian weigh passengers at check-in.

A Hawaiian 767. Photo by Dylan Ashe, used with permission.

Hawaiian has now told Pacific Business News that the US DOT concluded their investigation, and deemed the policy of not allowing seat selection as “not discriminatory.” Apparently, over a 6-month period, Hawaiian found that passengers on the route weighed about 33 pounds more than the FAA average. On a Boeing 767, this represents over 230 pounds per row. As a result, they had to make adjustments to make sure the weight distribute fulfills Boeing’s specifications.

According to Radio New Zealand, the airline will no longer weigh passengers at check-in. However, they will not bring back pre-selection of seats, because they have to ensure that each row will have a child or an empty seat. Jon Snook, COO of Hawaiian Airlines, said that excess weight in one row will “exceed the ultimate loading limit of the floor on that aircraft.” This could be problematic if the plane does a hard landing.

Comments

  1. Safety is paramount. All.we are asking is that safety measures be applied equally across all HAL segments. The distances traveled by HA flights 465 and 466 (HNL-PPG & PPG-HNL) are comparable to any of its HNL to westcoast flights. Yet a one-way ticket on a PPG flight is more than double what a traveler to the west coast would ever pay. Yet the quality of services offered to PPG customers continue to decline. The planes assigned to fly the PPG route are usually the oldest model 767 the carrier has in rotation. HAL could look at having one of its newer, higher capacity models service this route; but the carrier’s “take it or leave attitude” because of its current monopoly appears to keep them from doing right by these premium paying customers.
    HAL’s approach to this could have been more transparent and safety-focused from the beginning. Assessments across at least 3 routes with similar conditions (distance, aircraft type, max. capacity/ payload, etc.) should be conducted. Prior to and during implementation, passengers should be made.aware that these efforts are purely safety-driven. Results, along with likely HAL policy changes should be made available for public comment. Affected passengers should be encouraged to offer possible solutions. Finally, HAL needs to demonstrate to AĹL affected travelers that their input matters because their travel dollars matter.

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