Airline Weight & Balance

Hey Pilots,

I was just having some discussion with a couple fellow pilots in the CFI program, and weight & balance for the airliners was brought up.

Just wondering if you would be able to give an overall synopsis on how they come up with a weight and balance for each flight? We realize the check in bags are weighed, but how do they come up with a single persons weight with carry on’s and etc. Do they just have averages they use or is there a definite process?

Thanks in advance and Safe flying.


At my airline, we use average weights. Our manual actually specified that 5lbs is added during winter months, too :grin:

Individual passenger weights would be entered if say there was a flight with a football team on board.



As Tory said (and every airline I know) uses average weights for pax and carry-on bags. Some do winter/summer weights but not all. There are also exceptions made for sports teams and the military as they tend to carry more.

Interesting note at Hawaiian a few years ago we had to increase the average pax weight on our flights to Samoa as the average Samoan is larger than average. Did not bode well with the press.




We use standard weights for people and bags. We used to do summer and winter weights, but gave that up a few years ago. One interesting thing to note is that in the rare cases that an Airbus is weight restricted, one of the ways to help alleviate that is to put as many bags as possible in the overhead compartments as those bags count as part of the standard passenger weight, whereas if were check the bag it all of a sudden is its own bag and counts against the total weight.