Airline to Weigh Passengers with Carry-On Before Boarding

One European airline is taking a controversial approach to ensure its flights have not exceeded the maximum allowed weight.

Finnair, which is based out of Finland, announced this week that it would begin weighing passengers and their carry-on luggage in a trial run from now through May for passengers departing from the Helsinki Airport in an attempt to recalculate weight capacities for flights.

Passengers can opt-in to be weighed in a “voluntary and anonymous” matter, noting that the airline will not collect or share any passenger’s personal data nor ask for the name or ticket number of the passengers that volunteer to hit the scale.

Related: Finnair Asks Passengers to Be Weighed Before Flying

“We weigh volunteer customers together with their carry-on baggage. In the measurement, we do not ask for personal data, but the total weight of the customer and carry-on baggage, the customer’s age, gender, and travel class are recorded in the database,” said Satu Munnukka, Head of Ground Processes at Finnair, in a company release. “No information is collected that would allow participants to be identified.”

The airline said that the area where customers are to be weighed will rotate during different departure gates in Helsinki and explained that it would deliver the average weight calculated to Traficom (The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency) during July and September of this year and use the results to help calculate appropriate aircraft balance for 2025 through 2030.

The airline first opened a voluntary weighing trial period in 2017, the last time that Finnair was required to report updated data about the average weight of its passengers and their carry-on luggage to the Civil Aviation Authority, which the airline must do every five years.

Finnair isn’t the first international airline to make such a decision.

In August 2023, Korean Air began anonymously weighing passengers in a trial period to collect plane weight data, giving passengers who did not wish to be weighed the option to decline the request by telling an airline staff member.

Air New Zealand did the same from May 2023 through July 2023 on long-haul international routes (including those headed to New York) leaving from Auckland International Airport.

“We know stepping on the scales can be daunting. We want to reassure our customers there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight, not even us,” said Alastair James, Air New Zealand’s load control improvement specialist, in a release at the time.

Related: One Airline Wants to Know How Much You Weigh. Can You Opt Out?

According to a review of standard passenger weight by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency in 2023, the average European male passenger weighed about 181.2 pounds while the average European woman weighed around 148.8 pounds. The study also found that male passengers on average take more carry-on luggage than their female counterparts.

Finnair did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur’s request for comment.

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