Weighing passengers

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

At the airport in Helsinki, Finnair is reported as asking people to be weighed. This is not because passengers are about to be charged by weight though many might think so. After all, Samoa Air charges passengers by weight but with such an outcry when it was suggested by other airlines, any such suggestions were quietly forgotten.

What is behind Finnair’s action?

It is surveying 2,000 customers to see that the information it has been using to calculate the weight of an aircraft is accurate. Finnair knows the weight of a plane, the weight of the fuel and the weight of passenger luggage but not passengers themselves weigh. Weight calculations of passengers are based on figures issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency. The agency says that men weigh 84.6kgs, women 66.5kgs and children under 12 30.7kgs.

If the agency’s calculations are incorrect there is a chance that an aircraft could crash so the research is important. But finding 2,000 people who agree to be weighed and who are representative of those of us that fly might take a while. How many fat people wold agree to be weighed? Should you weigh people at different times of the day and different days of the week so that the list is as representative as possible? Do airline passengers vary depending on the season so that holidaymakers in summer are different to people flying in winter? Does it vary route by route? How will the airline know that it has an average of its passengers?

The answer is that it probably won’t but Finnair isn’t going to give up for want of trying. Its research will go through the winter and into next year.

It has been known for planes to crash because of inaccurate weight figures. Finnair has made a start. Would that all airlines follow their lead.

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