Airports Weighing ‘Certain’ Passengers Isn’t Just Triggering, It’s Wrong

It was recently announced that U.S. airlines may begin to weigh certain passengers at the gate when traveling.

While the reason behind this proposed practice was said to be because the “obesity rates” in the U.S. are outdated and airplane weight limits may need to be updated based on the current weight of passengers, a second reason has been revealed. Some professionals are saying that current “obesity rates” are outdated in the U.S. and weighing passengers at the airport would help them to update “obesity rates” and monitor the “obesity crisis.” An outdated term that encourages fatphobia and extends discrimination based on size in the public space.

Weight has become such a stigmatized subject in the U.S., and many people would prefer to keep their weight private due to further fatphobia and discrimination . For those in the eating disorder community, publicly identifying an individual’s weight is even more concerning. Those in recovery often opt out of knowing their weight or are not allowed by physicians to view their weight due to how triggering knowing one’s weight can be, as well as how this practice may contribute to a possible relapse. For many individuals in the eating disorder community, monitoring one’s weight is an eating disorder behavior, and recovery often incorporates separating one’s self value from their weight. Weight is also an outdated way of measuring a person’s health and utilizing the weights of passengers to measure a supposed “obesity crisis” further extends fatphobia and encourages discrimination — which goes against the Health at Every Size approach and puts the mental health of passengers with body image concerns at risk.

It has been said that airlines can also choose which passengers to weigh at the gate, and choosing specific passengers based on their appearance is targeted discrimination.

Unfortunately, there are many more situations in which plus-sized individuals experience fat and discrimination apart from the few that I have mentioned.

While I understand that airlines have weight requirements and restrictions for their various aircraft carriers, there are less shaming and safer ways to identify the approximate weight of passengers that doesn’t require picking and choosing certain individuals based on their size to weigh in the public space. Weight should not be a public issue like it currently is, and I truly hope that the Health at Every Size approach will be considered in all areas at some point in the future. The mental, and physical health of our population depends on it.

Originally published at



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ashley Nestler, MSW

Ashley Nestler, MSW

Mental Health Specialist, Author, Empowerment Coach, and Bibliotherapist. Creator of The Ignite and Rise Academy and Releasing the Phoenix