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An Airline Is Making Passengers Step On A Scale - But It's Not Why You Think

RAF Fairford

A Finnish airline is asking passengers step on a scale before boarding their plane, but not in an effort to fat-shame its patrons.

Finnair has weighed over 180 customers to check the accuracy on its estimates used to calculate total weight, fuel, and safety, BBC News reports.

With a target of 2,000 passengers, the voluntary practice at Helsinki airport is meant to be used in research to "streamline" fuel estimations, thus improving the company's environmental impact.

Communications director at Finnar, Päivyt Tallqvist said, "Airlines know what the aircraft weighs, what the check-in luggage weighs, but not what passengers weigh."

“This is part of having a very strong safety culture in our organization,” Tallqvist said. “We want to see if the data we’re using for calculations is accurate. We use them for every flight, and they’re important for the aircraft’s performance. When you explain this to [passengers], they understand.”

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) states the average weight of men in Europe is 185.5 lbs, and 145 lbs for women.

This is in contrast to the United States where men weigh an average of 195.7 lbs and women an average woman of 168.5 lbs.

However, EASA explained their research takes into account nervous variables which greatly influence airlines. For example, men travelling first class tend to weigh more than those in economy, while the opposite for women is true. Hand luggage weighs significantly less in the summer months, and men tend to pack heavier parcels compared to women.

While this is a relatively new survey, Finnair wasn't the first airline to carry out this practice.

Last October, Hawaiin Airlines conducted a similar six-month survey with a less than satisfying result.

A Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman said, "Over time our fuel burn on Pago Pago flights was consistently much higher than projected, indicating that our weight assumptions were inaccurate."

In 2013, Samoa Air became the first national carrier to charge passengers based on their weight.

The former airline was allowed to charge its occupants for their ticket based on each kilogram they weighed. The passengers were then assigned seats to ensure an equal amount of weight was distributed around the cabin.

After Finnair finishes retrieving the data from its winter survey, the airline will resume the practice in the summer, as the change in temperature and lighter clothing will produce different results.

Would you go on a scale at the airport?

Maya has been working at Shared for 10 Months. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com