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Is your checked bag under 23 kg? Perfect. Now we’ll weigh you, sir. Passenger weighing is currently a reality for one major European airline.
Finnair hopes to weigh 100 to 150 passengers per flight. The goal of the program is to determine average flight loads more accurately, not to charge passengers based on weight. Up until now, Finnair has been using the European Safety Agency Average for male and female weights, but now the airline wants to get a more accurate estimate from their own data. They need a good sample size to ensure the accuracy.
Have no fear. All weighing is voluntary. There is no extra charge for being above the average weight (and no “skinny discount”, either).
Weighing passengers is not a new thing
There are other airlines who currently weigh, or have weighed, passengers. Typically, it has been for weight and safety reasons.
For their Honolulu-Pago Pago route, Hawaiian Airlines weighs passengers. The airline won this right last year, and it has been highly controversial. While passengers are not charged based on weight, Hawaiian determined it to be operationally necessary to weigh passengers in order to distribute weight evenly within an aircraft. It should be noted that Samoa has one of the highest obesity rates in the world.
Air Samoa itself does charge passengers by the kilo, something that is obviously a hot-button issue. Samoa Air expects the industry to head this direction. Quoting the head of the airline, “people generally are bigger, wider and taller than they were 50 years ago. The industry will start looking at this.”
Wait…then why are seats and seat pitch constantly shrinking?
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