Airlines are weighing passengers before they board

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
Photo credit: Getty

From Cosmopolitan UK

It's one thing weighing your luggage before you board a flight; but weighing your passengers? That's something else entirely.

Despite how shocking this sounds, several airlines have started habitually weighing passengers before they get on the flight. Last year, we reported on Hawaiin Airlines' new procedure which involved requesting overweight passengers to step on the scales prior to boarding so staff could assess where they're best seated in the aircraft.

The policy emerged publicly after two American Samoan businessmen complained to the US Transportation Department that Hawaiin Airlines had forced them to take to the scales prior to their flight from American Samoa to Honolulu.

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

The airline insisted the process was necessary because the Boeing 767 aircraft it used on that particular journey required an even distribution of weight. While the businessmen disputed this, questioning why this safety procedure would only have been implemented on one specific route, Hawaiian Airlines aren't the only airline to have introduced such a policy.

Scandinavian airline Finnair have announced their plans to begin weighing passengers before they board planes, stating that they believe it will help them to acquire data that can be used to improve the balance and operation of their aircrafts.

Currently, the airline relies on a European Avian Safety Association survey from 2009 to tell them how much the average passenger weighs and how much carry-on luggage each traveller typically brings, but because this information is likely to be out of date, Finnair wants to gather its own data.

The Helsinki Times reports scales will soon be placed at departure gates, but that it will be entirely voluntary whether passengers allow their bodies and their carry-on luggage to be weighed.

Photo credit: Getty

Samoa Air caused controversy back in 2013 with a similar issue when they introduced a charging system for passengers' body and luggage weight combined, requiring people to pay around 30 pence per kilogram of weight. You can probably imagine how that went down.

Samoa Air's cash-making plan aside, we can see the value in Finnair's body weight measuring policy. But considering how stressful the experience of flying already is for people who are overweight, it's arguable that if this kind of policy becomes increasingly widespread, it'll become just another reason for body-conscious people to dread getting on a plane.

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