‘Middle seat is the hardest’:
Japan‘s flagship airline had to make last-minute changes to deal with an overweight problem — not luggage, but groups of passengers who were sumo wrestlers.
Japan Airlines (JAL) knew two of its planes carrying wrestlers bound for a sports festival on the southern island of Amami Oshima were at risk of being overweight. Two groups of a total of 27 athletes were scheduled to take off on October 12 on different flights, one from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) and the other from the smaller Osaka Itami Airport (ITM). There are many airports, mostly domestic airports.
An airline spokesman told CNN that sumo wrestlers weigh an average of 120 kilograms (264 pounds), much higher than the average passenger weight of 70 kilograms (154 pounds), raising questions about the small planes’ fuel capacity on domestic flights a year. Japan. Concerns. Since it is difficult for large planes to take off and land at Amami (ASJ) Regional Airport, the flagship decided to move 14 wrestlers from Haneda Airport, which is closer to Tokyo.
The three high school sumo wrestlers, who weigh 140, 130 and 110 kg (308, 268 and 242 pounds), told CNN affiliate Asahi Television they sat next to each other on a flight back to Haneda from Fukuoka on Oct. 15. “I think the middle seat is the hardest,” said a student from a mountainous area in Gunma Prefecture.
“I joked that maybe I was worried about my weight, but it actually became an issue. Although we were a little tired, we received a lot of support,” said a representative of the Gunma wrestlers in a TV Asahi report.
Sumo has no weight or class restrictions, but the ancient Japanese sport has always been dominated by larger athletes. Young aspiring sumo wrestlers, some of whom have started practicing the sport as early as five years old, train in designated sumo stables (beya), where they sleep, eat and train together almost every day.
Travelers in Japan generally don’t need to be weighed before flying, but many of the country’s airlines make data collection mandatory. Earlier this year, Korean Air weighed passengers and their luggage as part of regular security checks. Air New Zealand has similar arrangements for passengers traveling on some of its international routes, such as the ultra long-haul route between Auckland and New York.