IT flaw that assigned every ‘Miss’ a child’s weight onboard Tui plane causes ‘serious incident’

Cathy Adams
·1-min read
Arriving soon: a Tui Boeing 737 Max (Tui)
Arriving soon: a Tui Boeing 737 Max (Tui)

An IT error that categorised women as children caused a “serious incident” onboard a Tui plane.

The incident occurred on a Tui flight from Birmingham airport to Palma in Mallorca on 29 July 2020, with 187 passengers and six crew onboard.

An investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) found that the new IT reservation system was classifying female adult passengers who checked in with the title “Miss” as children.

The system then allocated these passengers a child’s standard weight of 35kg, as opposed to 69kg for adult women.

As a result, 38 women were checked wrongly as children on the load sheet; and it meant the plane take-off weight was registered as being approximately 1,244kg less than it actually was.

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Flight crew need to ensure they know the correct weight of the plane for take-off, as it is used to calculate things like fuel burn and how high the aircraft can fly.

The reservation system had recently been upgraded, said the AAIB, while operations were suspended last spring due to travel restrictions.

The investigations body said the error was due to a “simple flaw” in the IT system: the upgrade was carried out in another country, where “Miss” is used for a child, and “Ms” for an adult woman.

The AAIB, labelling the incident “serious”, said Tui had introduced a daily check to make sure adult women were referred to as Ms on all travel documents.

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