A Finnish airline has caused controversy after announcing plans to start weighing passengers with their carry-on luggage to better estimate the weight of a plane before takeoff.
Finnair’s policy went viral on social media and sparked fierce debate after the company began “metering” passengers departing Helsinki on Monday.
Some social media users joked that “even the airline’s name is against overweight people,” but others expressed concern about the impact on those who struggle with their weight or people with eating disorders such as anorexia.
Finnair, which offers cheap flights to the United Kingdom from and to Finland, highlighted in a statement that airlines calculate the weight of the plane, its interior and the passengers on board to balance the flight and ensure safe transit.
So far, more than 500 passengers have voluntarily participated in the weigh-ins, a Finnair spokesperson said Wednesday.
Finnair’s policy has gone viral on social media and sparked fierce debate after the company began “metering” passengers departing Helsinki on Monday.
Finnair, which serves the United Kingdom with cheap flights to and from Finland, highlighted in a statement that airlines calculate the weight of the plane, its interior and the passengers on board to balance the flight.
The policy has had a mixed reception online, with one social media user writing: “It’s Finnair, not Fatair!”
A second added: ‘It’s about time. People weigh more than their suitcases. I thought the announcer said Thinair.
Another said: ‘I’m (definitely) not a skinny woman and I agree with Finnair on this. This is not about quick embarrassment, but about ensuring the safety of passengers.
“I’ll tell you, I’d rather joke about my weight than have something go wrong with my weight distribution and I end up dead.”
Other social media users said the practice should be “standard on all airlines” and praised the decision.
But some customers have raised concerns about privacy, data collection and the psychological impact on passengers.
One Twitter user said: “Flying already costs an arm and a leg, what’s next?”
A second added: “Seems like a massive invasion (no pun intended) of privacy to me.” My mother was bulimic and obsessed with weight. Except when she was pregnant, I have never weighed myself since, nor have my siblings.
Another furious user said: ‘Is Finnair going to start weighing their passengers? Have I read that correctly? I’m completely shocked! And disgusted.’
Until now, many airlines use the average weights provided by aviation authorities (supposed to be 88 kg) or collect their own data.
Finnair stated that any weight data collected is linked to passengers, adding: “Only the customer service agent working at the measurement point can see the total weight, so you can participate in the study with peace of mind.”
The plan is voluntary, meaning those who do not wish to be weighed will not be required to do so.
Communications director Päivyt Tallqvist said The Huffington Post that Finns tend to carry much more weight on the plane in the colder months, as they come prepared with thick, heavy coats.
“This is part of having a very strong safety culture in our organization,” Tallqvist said.
‘We want to see if the data we use for calculations is accurate. We use them for every flight and they are important for the performance of the aircraft.
“When you explain this (to passengers), they understand.”
Finnair is not the first airline to take the initiative and measure passenger weight themselves.
In August last year, Korea’s largest airline, Korean Air, announced that it would begin weighing passengers at Gimpo Airport on domestic routes and at Incheon Airport on international flights for a short period until September.
The company said the move was aimed at reducing fuel waste and helping more accurately estimate the plane’s weight.
It is unclear whether other airlines have similar plans to weigh their passengers.