Airplane takes off a ton heavier than expected after computer error weighs adults as well as children
A flight from the UK to Spain took off unexpectedly weighing more than a tonne after a software error classified female passengers titled “Miss” as children. This led the flight’s loading form to estimate the weight of 38 female passengers at 38 kg or 77 pounds each, the standard weight for children, rather than 69 kg or 152 pounds, the standard weight used for female adults.
The error is classified as a ‘serious incidentBy the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), it did not affect the safety of the flight. Despite a discrepancy of 1,244 kg (2,743 lb) between the expected and actual mass of the aircraft, the thrust used by the pilot on takeoff was only “marginally less” than necessary. “This meant that the safe operation of the aircraft was not compromised,” the AAIB concluded.
The flaw was introduced in the software after the flight operator suspended operations for several months due to COVID-19 restrictions. During this time it has upgraded its IT systems, but in the country where the software was programmed, the honorific “Miss” is used for children, while “Ms” is used for female adults. The error struck two more flights of the same operator on the same day, July 21, 2020, before being corrected.
According to a report by the Press Association, the flight was operated by the Anglo-German company Tui. In a statement, the company said, “The health and safety of our customers and crew is always our primary concern. After this isolated incident, we corrected a malfunction found in our IT system. As stated in the report, safe flight operations were not compromised. “