Airline to weigh passengers before flight, starting a potential trend

Until recently, the idea of weighing passengers before boarding seemed absurd. However, several airlines now consider this practice to comply with strict aviation standards. Korean Air, South Korea’s largest airline, has stated that it will consider the average weight of all passengers, including their handbags, for flight safety.

According to the company’s website, this decision responds to new government regulations. The initiative aims to collect data for the country’s transportation and infrastructure ministries. The weighing process will occur at Gimpo Airport in Seoul from August 28 to September 3 and at Incheon International Airport from September 8 to 19. 

How it will work

Passengers will be asked to step on a scale with their belongings, and the data will be collected anonymously for a comprehensive aircraft weight database. The airline’s crew will not have access to individual weight information, and passengers will not know their weight either. However, passengers can refuse to weigh by notifying the airline in advance. Korean Air emphasizes that this data collection is for survey purposes only and will not incur extra charges for overweight passengers.

 Passengers on an airplane are seated in rows. (credit: MAARIV) Passengers on an airplane are seated in rows. (credit: MAARIV)

The Street website reports that Air New Zealand previously implemented a similar initiative between May and July at Auckland Airport. Passengers volunteered to be weighed to provide anonymous data for a database. The airline plans to continue these surveys regularly to keep updated records of passenger weight. While other airlines have yet to adopt similar operations, aviation experts suggest it may become more common. The Federal Aviation Administration in the United States acknowledged this option in 2021, receiving advice on passenger weight estimation to ensure compliance with weight limits. “Knowing the weight of the aircraft is crucial for flight safety,” says an American aviation expert, John Cox.

Could weighing travelers become widespread?

By weighing passengers, airlines aim to ensure compliance with stringent aviation regulations. While initially met with skepticism, this new practice may become more common in the industry. Korean Air’s initiative, driven by government requirements, is a potential starting point for broader adoption. As airlines recognize the importance of knowing the weight of their aircraft, similar operations may be implemented worldwide.

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