Finnair, Finlands national airline is asking travellers at Helsinki airport to step on the scales before departure.

Stepping onto scales can be stressful at the best of times. Imagine having to step on the scales at the airline gate before boarding your flight?

Yet Finnair is asking passengers waiting to board their flight at Finland’s Helsinki Airport (HEL) to step on the scales voluntarily to have their weight recorded.

It’s a subject that has been mooted for years and often met with displeasure. Korean Airlines wanted to do it last year at Seoul, South Korea’s Gimpo International Airport (GMP) but dropped the idea, apparently, due to the intense backlash.

Air New Zealand did it for 5 weeks as part of a customer weight survey for passengers departing from Auckland Airport (AK) on international flights

Finnair has reported that 800 passengers have voluntarily weighed themselves, while others were reluctant due to “body shaming” concerns and even expressed worries about potential financial penalties.

To assuage worries Finnair released a statement saying:

“We know stepping on the scales can be daunting. We want to reassure our customers that there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight, not even us.

Why weigh passengers at all?

It’s all about how much things weigh, from checked-in luggage to carry-on bags. This data helps ascertain weight and balance, elements that are vital for keeping the aircraft safe and running efficiently; in particular not exceeding the Maximum Takeoff Mass, a figure supplied by the airplane’s manufacturer.

It also helps to decide on the fuel to be used and the distance the flight can cover. Finnair will use the data it collects for ascertaining balance and loading calculations for flights taking off between 2025 and 2030.

Satu Munnukka, head of ground processes at Finnair, said:

“We record the total weight and background information of the customer and their carry-on baggage, but we do not ask for the name or booking number, for example.

“Only the customer service agent working at the measuring point can see the total weight, so you can participate in the study with peace of mind.

“We hope to have a good sample of volunteers, both business and leisure travellers, also this time, so that we can get the most accurate information possible for important balance calculations.”

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