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Airline asks passengers to step on the scale before boarding

Aircraft have a maximum weight for a safe takeoff, and while some weights on planes are known, passenger and luggage weight vary.
Airline asks passengers to step on the scale before boarding
Posted at 8:28 AM, Feb 09, 2024

A Finnish airline is asking passengers to voluntarily step on the scale before getting on select flights to help the airline balance its planes. 

Finnair said it is collecting data this month, as well as in April and May, by asking passengers to step on a scale with their carry-on baggage. The data is only being collected for passengers departing Helsinki Airport. 

The airline says that aircraft have a maximum weight for a safe takeoff. While the airline generally knows the weight of water tanks, fuel, cargo and other items, the weight of passengers and their carry-ons are unknown. 

Finnair says it isn't collecting personal information tied to passengers' weight. 

“We record the total weight and background information of the customer and their carry-on baggage, but we do not ask for the name or booking number, for example. Only the customer service agent working at the measuring point can see the total weight, so you can participate in the study with peace of mind," Satu Munnukka, head of ground processes at Finnair, said.

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The airline says it will use this data to calculate balancing and loading weights for 2025 through 2030. 

This isn't the first time the airline has done this. In 2018, the airline used a similar process to help it determine how to balance its planes from 2020-2025. 

“In the previous measurements five years ago, a good number of volunteers wanted to participate in the weighing, and we hope to have a good sample of volunteers, both business and leisure travellers, also this time, so that we can get the most accurate information possible for important balance calculations,” Munnukka added.

Finnair is not the only airline to weigh passengers. New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority asked Air New Zealand passengers leaving Auckland for international flights to weigh themselves last year. Like Finnair's data collection, passengers were not required to participate in the survey.

"We weigh everything that goes on the aircraft — from the cargo to the meals onboard, to the luggage in the hold," said Air New Zealand load control improvement specialist Alastair James. "For customers, crew and cabin bags, we use average weights, which we get from doing this survey."


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