Finland's Finnair is hoping to get at least 150 passengers on every flight to volunteer to be weighed along with their luggage. While it may sound unusual, there's logic behind the move: The airline wants a more accurate metric for determining aircraft weight and balance, which can in turn make operations more efficient.
58% of the adult population in Finland are overweight, according to the World Health Organisation – and the rapid rise in weight is affecting the balance of their planes. Finnair currently balances their planes based on eight-year-old estimates from the European Aviation Safety Agency. Since those were brought out, the average Finnish woman has put on 11lbs and the average Finnish man has put on 2lb. So they want to weigh up to 150 passengers before getting on planes to get a better idea of how much their average customer weighs.
Päivyt Tallqvist, communications director at Finnair told Sun Online Travel: "Finnair is conducting a study to determine whether we have accurate data on passenger standard weights. "We want to ensure we have the best possible data in use in aircraft performance and loading calculations." They added: "The weighing is purely voluntary and anonymous, and only the customer service agent sees the weighing result."
Passengers' weights can also change by season, especially in a country with such extreme temperatures as Finland.
“Loads are different in the summer, for example, when people don't have their winter jackets and shoes and other paraphernalia,” Päivyt Tallqvist, told YLE News. “There is also a considerable seasonal difference in hand luggage weight for business and leisure travelers.”
Finnair is analyzing the results of this week’s test and will weigh about 2,000 more passengers on a voluntary basis during winter and spring, Tallqvist added. Along with weight, the airline will gather information about the passenger’s age, travel purpose, gender, passenger class and checked-in luggage.