It’s not just our bags that are going to be weighed in the airport now, airlines are weighing passengers too.
Finnair (a Finnish airline) is trialling weighing travellers flying from Helsinki and began taking people’s weight on Monday February 5.
It’s also not the only airline to be recording its passengers’ weight before a flight.
The obviously controversial policy may have you worried your rights as a passenger are evaporating into *Fin air* (get it), don’t stress because that’s definitely not the case.
Airlines need to work out the weight of the plane, its interior and its passengers before take-off to ensure the flight is balanced and improve safety, and instead of relying on aviation averages, some airlines are choosing to collect their own data.
It could prove a particular point of contention for those who identify as plus size travellers, who already experience enough adversity when flying without the added stress of being publicly weighed. It could also be triggering for those on the opposite end of the spectrum who are severely underweight.
Kirsty Leanne, 30, from Shropshire is a member of the plus size community and has first-hand experience of the poor treatment people who are heavier can experience.
She was recently on a flight to Spain where a woman was unhappy being seated next to her. Kirsty found the experience ‘awkward’ but wasn’t surprised, as she’d been fat-shamed on holiday in the past.
Kirsty said: ‘Travel is not one size fits all and I want to show people that they shouldn’t feel scared to get out there and live their lives. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel the way I have done, now that I know how incredible exploring can be.‘
But, with airlines now weighing their passengers, yet another hurdle has been put in place for travellers, so which airlines have rolled out this controversial policy and what can you expect…
Finnair are trialling weighing passengers as well as their luggage and introduced the policy on Monday February 5.
This is not compulsory to board the plane, you will be able to fly without being weighed.
If you’re flying with the airline and are happy to be weighed, you will be weighed in all your clothes while holding your carry-on luggage.
The Finnair staff are the only people who will see this measurement and it’s a combined measurement of your bags and yourself – so they won’t actually see how much you weigh specifically.
Your weight is recorded but not attributed to you specifically.
A spokesperson for the airline said: ‘This is to ensure the data used for flight planning and aircraft balance calculations is accurate, allowing for a safe take-off.
‘We want to reassure customers that participation is optional, and all data collected is anonymous and will not be linked to customers’ personal profiles.’
Korean Air began weighing passengers at Gimpo Airport on domestic routes in August 2023 and at Incheon Airport on international flights last September.
This was for a limited time only and passengers could opt out of being weighed if they wished – they just had to inform a member of staff.
Basically, you don’t need to be worried about being weighed on Korean Air because they aren’t doing it anymore.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand began weighing passengers in June 2023 before their flights.
Again, don’t panic, because this policy was only in place for one month last year where more than 10,000 passengers were weighed.
The airline carried out the month-long survey to ensure ‘the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft,’ as part of a requirement from the country’s Civil Aviation Authority.
This is the same reasoning used by Finnair and Korean Air.
The last time Air New Zealand weighed its passengers was in 2021, and the airline was looking to update its figures when international travel resumed post-pandemic.
Back in 2016 Hawaiian Airlines weighed passengers at check-in to determine their seat allocation.
This was done to ‘manage weight across the cabin’ and ensure it’s distributed evenly.
It was reported Hawaiian Airlines now no longer allows any passengers to pre-select seats on flights between Pago Pago and Honolulu and weights everyone getting on board.
It’s unclear if this policy is still in place and the airline has been contacted for clarification.
In short, you have nothing to worry about, as you do not have to be weighed when stepping on a big commercial flight.
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