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Finnair trials passenger weigh-in for flight safety

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Would you be willing to get weighed alongside your luggage? More airlines are trialling passenger weigh-ins before departure

Finnair passengers flying via Helsinki airport may pass up having the country’s hefty traditional rice pasty breakfast – Karjalanpiirakka – before checking in, if the latest travel news goes viral. That’s because the airline has begun a trial programme where passengers are voluntarily weighed at the departure gate. This eyebrow-raising initiative (while not the first) aims to gather more accurate data on passenger weight, leading to better weight distribution calculations for safer and more efficient flights, CNN has reported.

Currently, airlines rely on estimated average weights for passengers and their luggage. However, Finnair argues that actual data can provide a more precise picture, especially with passenger demographics becoming increasingly diverse. Korean Air conducted its own weighing programme in 2023, while Air New Zealand also did a weight survey in 2023.

Currently running at Helsinki Airport, passengers are invited to step onto a discreet scale before boarding. Participation is entirely voluntary and anonymous, with Finnair assuring that no personal data is collected or linked to individual passengers. Only the person at the check-in gate will see your weight it seems.

The initiative has garnered mixed reactions. Some passengers appreciate the focus on safety and efficiency, while others express concerns about privacy and potential discrimination. Some passengers may feel the concept intrusive and worry about the potential for misuse of the data in the future.

Could we see people start to break a sweat before they go on the scales for fear they will have to awkwardly step aside to reconfigure their luggage to accommodate the appropriate weight? Fellow passengers will also be tense, curious to know if was it the luggage or the person who tipped the scales.

The trial, running throughout February and April-May, will collect data from thousands of passengers across various routes, it has been reported. Based on the results, Finnair will decide whether to implement the practice more widely.

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