Finnish flag carrier Finnair says it will start weighing passengers and their hand luggage in February, as well as in April and May, at its Helsinki hub, but the airline is keen to reassure customers that they don’t have anything to worry about.
In fact, the pre-boarding weigh-in will be completely voluntary and passengers who do opt into the survey won’t have their weights recorded against their booking information.
So why is Finnair asking passengers if they want to take part in this survey? The airline explains that it’s all about safety and will help the carrier improve its aircraft weight and balance calculations based on how much passengers actually weight.
Customer weigh-in’s are pretty rare across Europe and most airlines instead use standard weights defined by the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) but Finnair believes using real customer data is the optimal way to work out weight and balance calculations.
The last time Finnair conducted a passenger weigh-in was back in 2017 and 2018, and this process has to be repeated every five years to be approved by Finland’s civil aviation authority.
“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,” explained Satu Munnukka, Finnair’s head of ground operations.
Keen to reassure passengers, Munnukka continued: “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.”
Once Finnair has collected enough customer data, the numbers will be crunched by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency. The confirmed weights will then be used for aircraft weight and balance calculations up to 2030.
Finnair won’t say which flights will be targeted for weigh-in, but the airline said the team will rotate between both short-haul and long-haul flights during the survey period.
During the last weigh-in, Finnair says a good number of passengers came forward to volunteer, and the airline is hopeful it will get a good response on this occasion as well.
Another airline known for carrying out passenger weigh-ins is Air New Zealand, which is also required to conduct a similar survey every five years by the local civil aviation authority.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.