'Humiliating': Fliers lash out at Finnair after airline starts weighing passengers

9 February 2024, 09:30

Finnair has said its weighing system is voluntary
Finnair has said its weighing system is voluntary. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Passengers are horrified at "humiliating" plans by an airline to weigh passengers individually before they fly.

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Finnair has announced it is taking the measurements of customers on a voluntary basis so it can better understand the weight of an aircraft before take-off.

But that has shocked tourists who fear it could be distressing.

Travel writer Suzanne Baum said: "Weighing passengers for airline safety reasons is appalling. I actually think it is humiliating.

"For me, flying is all about the experience and as a frequent traveller, I think I'll skip Finnair and roll down the runway with another airline."

Plus-size model Hayley Hasselhof said: "It's triggering to people with eating disorders.

"I have had friends going to airports in the last couple of hours and not knowing they are going to be weighed, that's triggering."

Kate Staniforth, from online tourism agency Travel Republic, said: "Airlines do have the option to use average weights provided by aviation authorities, or collect their own data, like Finnair.

Finnair has announced it will weigh passengers on a voluntary basis
Finnair has announced it will weigh passengers on a voluntary basis. Picture: Alamy

"Given the controversy that has risen around the topic, with people accusing the airline of 'body shaming', and backlash forming on social media, other airlines might be hesitant to follow suit and choose to use averages given by the authorities."

More than 800 volunteers have chosen to be weighed, according to Paivyt Tallqvist, Finnair's communications boss, who said the plan was "part of having a very strong safety culture in our organisation".

"We have communicated about this survey to Finnair customers via our social media channels and our mobile app, and the first volunteers were proactively asking to take part even before the equipment was set up," she said.

'We want to see if the data we're using for calculations is accurate. We use them for every flight, and they're important for the aircraft's performance," she added.

The scheme is designed to ensure its data is up to date. Airlines can use average weights from the European Aviation Safety Authority but are allowed to use their own.

Read more: Airline announces it will weigh passengers with carry-on luggage before boarding flights

Finnair last used measurements in 2018 but the data needs refreshing five years on.

Other airlines, including Korean Air and Air New Zealand, have carried out their own weights, with different parts of the world often throwing up different averages.

In Europe, the average male passenger is deemed to be about 13 stone, and the average female about 10.5.

And in a quirk more specific to Finland, Finnair will need data from both summer and winter, as they have seen people wearing thick coats during colder months that changes the overall weight.