person holding smartphone riding airplane
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Everyone has experienced having their luggage weighed when checking into an airport. The “crouch of shame,” which is the posture used when searching through a bag for anything heavy after learning that it is only a few ounces overweight, is another term that most of us are familiar with.However, some daring travelers are increasingly agreeing to weigh themselves before boarding the aircraft.Volunteers are being weighed at the departure gate in a trial conducted by European carrier Finnair at its hub at Helsinki Airport. This allows the airline to improve its predictions of aircraft weight before takeoff. Passengers are also being weighed alongside their carry-on luggage, which is a horrible prospect for anyone who has ever attempted to casually get an overweight cabin bag onboard the aircraft. Fortunately, the weigh-ins are unrelated to specific reservations or passenger information, which is good news for those with heavy bags. Senior vice president of communications at Finnair, Päivyt Tallqvist, told BCE that everything is anonymous and that the only person who can see the weight is the gate crew member.800 volunteers have participated in the experiment by Thursday morning, according to Tallqvist, who also stated that the airline was “positively surprised by the number of volunteers.” The trial began on Monday. “Our social media channels and mobile app have been used to inform Finnair customers about this survey, and even before the equipment was set up, the first volunteers proactively asked to participate,” the spokesperson stated.For the winter, they intend to carry 1,200 passengers, and in the summer, even more.The airline is gathering information on average passenger weights and hand luggage weights, according to Tallqvist, “for the purpose of aircraft balance and performance calculations that are needed for the safe operation of flights.” Before every takeoff, airlines determine the weight of the aircraft, including the center of gravity and the weight of all passengers, cargo, luggage, and onboard amenities like water tanks and catering. The amount of luggage that can fit in the hold, the number of passengers who can board, and the places where people can sit all depend on the weight and trim of the aircraft. Every aircraft you fly has a maximum weight that must be met for safe takeoff.

Tallqvist stated, “Although airlines are aware of the weight of every other component, the weight of passengers and their carry-on luggage is determined using average weights verified by the Civil Aviation Authority.”

Airlines can use their own average passenger weights as long as they are approved by the regulators, although they typically use the ones supplied by the European Aviation Safety Authority. Finnair has been using its own metrics since 2018, but the refresh was necessary because these need to be updated every five years.

In 2023, Korean Air carried out an independent weighing program, while Air New Zealand also carried out a weight audit the previous year.Given that passengers typically wear thicker coats and heavier clothes during the chilly winters in Finland, Finnair is gathering statistics for both the summer and winter seasons. The summer readings will be taken in April and May, and the winter readings will be finished in February.

According to the statement, the airline will use the readings to determine an average weight and will forward the information to the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency for validation. From 2025 to 2030, the weights will be utilized in loading calculations.The head of Finnair’s ground operations, Satu Munnukka, reassured anxious travelers in a statement that “the collected data is not linked in any way to the customer’s personal data,” despite the fact that many travelers would want to keep their weight a secret.

Munnukka continued, saying, “We don’t ask for the name or booking number, for example, but we do record the overall weight and customer’s background information together with their carry-on luggage. “You can participate in the study with peace of mind because only the customer service representative working at the measuring site can see the total weight.”

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