EASA review of standard passenger weights in 2022 shows no significant change

The Agency conducted a survey to obtain actual data on the average mass of passengers and luggage on domestic, international, and intercontinental flights. 

This follows a previous Pan-European study on the standard mass of passengers and baggage conducted by EASA in 2008, building on work started by the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA). The study aimed to review the mass of passengers, hand baggage, and checked baggage used to for aircraft mass and balance calculations. The 2008 study indicated that the standard masses of male and female passengers and the checked baggage were higher than the initial figures. The study recommended conducting a new survey in 10 years’ time as the average mass of the European population was expected to increase. 

For this reason, in 2021 EASA contracted Lufthansa Consulting to conduct a field survey and obtain the average weight of passengers, the weight of hand luggage and the weight of checked luggage at six airports, representing different regions in Europe: ATH (Athens Eleftherios Venizelos, Greece), BRU (Brussels, Belgium), CPH (Copenhagen-Kastrup, Denmark), MXP (Milan Malpensa, Italy), MUC (Munich Franz Josef Strauß, Germany), SOF (Sofia, Bulgaria). 

The survey was conducted in person at the selected airports. To collect the highest amount of data the fieldworkers were close to the boarding points and locations with a constant flow of passengers. It should be noted that participation in the survey was exclusively voluntary.
In total 4,164 passengers were surveyed with their hand luggage and 1,998,070 checked luggage data sets were obtained from the airport luggage handling systems. The sampling was conducted during the winter season and the summer season of 2022.
Despite the expectation when launching the survey, mean masses of passengers did not significantly change from the previous study from 2008-9, both for male and female passengers. 

The results can be summarised below:

  • No significant weight gain or loss observed for passengers in general. 
  • Male passengers have a mean weight of 82.2 kg, which is 14.7 kg more than the average female passenger (67.5 kg).
  • Male passengers take more carry-on luggage with them than female passengers. Business passengers take more than leisure travellers. Medium and long-haul passengers take more than short-haul passengers.
  • The average weight of checked luggage, which is always limited by the luggage policies of the airlines, was 0.8kg less than stated in the 2008-9 study and averaged 16 kg. 

The 2021-22 survey concludes that the mean value of all passengers is 76.3 kg. The carry-on weight is on average 7.7 kg. So, the mean passenger weight for adults plus the carry-on luggage is 84.0 kg. As the current regulation indicates 84.0 kg the Agency will not consider its update at this stage. However, to measure possible long-term effects of COVID and other contingent factors like the war in Ukraine and the shift to remote working the Agency considers repeating the survey in 5 years’ time.