TUI airline mis-classifies women as children
Occurred: July 2020
A software upgrade by TUI Airways which classified female passengers whose title was 'Miss' as children led to a 'serious incident' on a Birmingham-Majorca flight in July 2020.
The mis-classification meant that the average weight of these female passengers used for take-off calculations for the Boeing 737 jet was 1,244 kg lighter than it actually was, potentially having an impact on take-off thrust.
An investigation (pdf) into the incident by the UK government’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the problem occurred after the flight reservation sheet had been updated while the airline was grounded due to COVID-19.
According to the BBC, safety officials said the problem was that the software had been programmed in a foreign country where 'Miss' is used to refer to children, and 'Ms' to adult women.
The flight proved safe and the fault identified in TUI's IT system was later corrected. TUI also introduced manual checks to ensure adult females were referred to as Ms on relevant documentation.