Why an Airline Is Asking to Weigh Passengers Before They Board

Nov 7, 2017 at 12:43 p.m. ET
Image: Steve Parsons - PA Images/Contributor/Getty Images

We're used to having to weigh our luggage and carry-on baggage before boarding a plane, but what about weighing ourselves? That's what one airline is requesting of passengers — in the name of safety, of course.

Since the beginning of November, Finnair — Finland's largest airline — has been asking passengers to step onto a scale before flights out of Helsinki-Vantaa airport. This is entirely voluntary, and all the passenger data will be kept anonymous, CNBC reports.

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So why ask someone to weigh in before a flight? The goal of Finnair's policy is to get data from around 2,000 passengers to update nearly decade-old data on customer weights in order to more accurately forecast how much fuel different flights require. This will continue through the spring of 2018, so the airline can include weights of passengers wearing heavy winter coats, as well as lighter spring attire.

"We have a strong safety culture at Finnair, and are also a very data-driven organization, so we want to ensure we have the best possible data in use in aircraft performance and loading calculations," a Finnair spokesperson tells CNBC.

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That's not a bad idea in theory, but will the type of people who agree to be weighed prior to a flight possibly skew the survey's results?

"That's a question a lot of people have asked," Päivyt Tallqvist, the communications at Finnair tells the BBC. But she doesn't think it will pose a problem.

"We found yesterday and today we had people of all shapes and sizes. We had Finnish and Asian customers, we had a variety of male and female and of different sizes," she adds.

But this isn't going to end in a plane ticket were passengers are charged by the pound, like Samoa Air's controversial 2013 ticketing policy. Tallqvist also assures those concerned that "this has nothing to do with ticket pricing or anything like that."

Getting on a scale is usually not someone's idea of a fun time, let alone something you want to do before heading on vacation, but if it improves safety and fuel efficiency — something that could potentially affect airfare costs — is it worth it?

Would you volunteer to step on a scale before a flight? Weigh in below.