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.
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.