Airline plans to weigh passengers with carry-on luggage before take-off

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An airline has announced it is now weighing passengers along with their carry-on luggage before takeoff to have a better estimate of the plane’s weight. 

Finnish airline Finnair announced the move, which is voluntary and anonymous, on Monday, according to a press release. The data will be used to optimize the current aircraft balance calculations and the “weighment area” will rotate around flight departure gates in the Helsinki Airport. 

“We use the weighing data for the average calculations required for the safe operation of flights, and the collected data is not linked in any way to the customer’s personal data,” Satu Munnukka, Head of Ground Processes at Finnair, said in the press release. 

Finnair told Fox News Digital that since Monday, the airline has seen some 600 volunteers volunteer to participate, stating it is “great to see that our customers are interested in volunteering in this data collection.”

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“We weigh volunteer customers together with their carry-on baggage,” Munnukka said. “In the measurement, we do not ask for personal data, but the total weight of the customer and carry-on baggage, the customer’s age, gender and travel class are recorded in the database. No information is collected that would allow participants to be identified.”

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Munnukka stressed the consideration of passenger privacy, stating they do not ask for a passenger’s name or booking number when they record the total weight and background information of the customer and that only the customer service agent working at the measuring point can see the total weight. 

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Each aircraft has a set maximum weight, which includes the weight of the aircraft, fuel, checked baggage and cargo, onboard catering, water tanks and customers, that cannot be exceeded to ensure a safe take-off, according to the airline’s statement. Finnair has used average weights determined based on its own measurements since 2018, but authorities require the data be updated every five years, so the data collected in 2017 and 2018 must now be updated. 

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The weight of customers, along with their carry-on baggage, is calculated using average weights confirmed by the Civil Aviation Authority, but an alternative option is to use their own measurements, along with confirmation of their results by the authority, or use standard weights defined by the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA), according to the announcement.  

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The average weights calculated based on the measurements will be delivered to the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency between July and September 2024, which will then be used for aircraft balance and loading calculations between 2025–2030, the airline said in its statement. 

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