Finnair is Asking Passengers to Voluntarily Weigh Themselves before Boarding Flights

Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva via AP, File
Passenger planes of the Finnish national airline company Finnair stand on the tarmac at Helsinki international airport, Helsinki on Nov. 16, 2009.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Almost everything that gets onto a commercial plane — fuel, checked-in baggage, cargo and meals — is weighed. For passengers and their cabin bags, most airlines use average data.

But Finland’s national carrier Finnair said Friday that it started asking passengers this week voluntarily and anonymously hop onto a scale with their hand luggage at the country’s main airport in Helsinki, the airline said Friday. The aim is to get their own figures.

“We will need data for both winter season and for summer season — in winter season people typically have heavier clothing, which impacts weights,” Finnair spokeswoman Päivyt Tallqvist told The Associated Press, adding that the survey would last until May.

Passengers boarding onto European and long-haul flights won’t be “penalized for their weight,” and “the numbers are kept discreet, away from prying eyes,” she added.

So far, about 800 people have joined the survey, and those who agree to take part receive a small gift — a reflective baggage tag, Tallqvist said.

Airlines can either use official data by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, known as EASA, or do their own standard weights measurements, Tallqvist said. Finnair has chosen the latter, but safety authorities require that the survey is renewed every five years. The last time Finnair weighed passengers was in 2018.

In June, New Zealand’s national airline also weighed passengers before boarding.

The weight figures will be sent to the Finnish transport and communications agency later this year and will be used for balancing aircraft and loading calculations for the period running from 2025 until 2030.

“We hope to have a good sample of volunteers, both business and leisure travelers, also this time, so that we can get the most accurate information possible for important balance calculations,” Satu Munnukka, head of ground processes at Finnair, said in a statement.