It’s Thin-air! Angry customers slam ‘fat-shaming’ Finnair after airline announces passenger weigh-ins – as they fume ‘flying already costs an arm and a leg’
A Finnish airline has sparked controversy after it announced plans to start weighing passengers with their hand luggage to better estimate a plane’s weight before takeoff.
Finnair’s policy has gone viral on social media and sparked furious debate after the firm began ‘measuring’ passengers departing from Helsinki on Monday.
Some social media users joked that ‘even the airline’s name is against people who are overweight’, but others expressed concern about the impact on those struggling with their weight or people with eating disorders such as anorexia.
Finnair, which serves the UK with budget flights to and from Finland, stressed in a statement that airlines calculate the weight of the aircraft, its interior and passengers on board to balance the flight and ensure safe transport.
So far, more than 500 passengers have voluntarily participated in weigh-in, a spokesperson for Finnair said on Wednesday.
Finnair’s policy has gone viral on social media and sparked heated debate after the firm began ‘metering’ passengers departing from Helsinki on Monday
Finnair, which serves the UK with budget flights to and from Finland, stressed in a statement that airlines calculate the weight of the aircraft, its interior and passengers on board to balance the flight
The policy had a mixed reception online, with one social media user writing: ‘It’s Finnair, not Fatair!’
A second added: ‘It’s time. People weigh more than their bags. I thought the newsreader said Thinair.’
Another said: ‘I’m (definitely) not a skinny woman, and I agree with Finnair on this. This is not fast shaming, it ensures safety for passengers.
“I’ll tell you, I’d rather joke about my weight than have something go wrong about weight distribution and die.”
Other social media users said the practice should be ‘standard on every airline’ as they praised the decision.
But some customers have raised concerns about privacy, data collection and the psychological impact on passengers.
One Twitter user said: ‘Flying already costs an arm and a leg, what next?’
A second added: ‘Looks like a massive (no pun intended) invasion of privacy to me. My mother was bulimic and obsessed with weight. Except when I was pregnant, I had never weighed myself, and neither had my siblings.
Another angry user said: ‘Finnair going to start weighing their passengers? Did I read that right? I am totally shocked! And disgusting’.
One user dubbed the policy ‘draconian’ and added it was a sign of a ‘nanny state’.
Until now, many airlines used average weights provided by aviation authorities – assumed to be 88 kg – or collected their own data.
Finnair said no collected weight data was linked to passengers, adding: ‘Only the customer service agent working at the measurement point can see the total weight, so you can take part in the study with peace of mind.’
The scheme is voluntary, meaning that those who do not wish to be weighed will not be forced to do so.
Päivyt Tallqvist, director of communications, said The Huffington Post that Finns tend to bring a lot more weight on the plane in colder months, as they come prepared with thick, heavy coats.
“It’s part of a very strong safety culture in our organization,” Tallqvist said.
‘We want to see if the data we use for calculations is accurate. We use them for every flight, and they are important to the aircraft’s performance.
“When you explain it to (passengers), they understand.”
Finnair is not the first airline to take the initiative and measure the weight of passengers themselves.
In August last year, Korea’s largest airline, Korean Air, announced that it would begin weighing passengers at Gimpo Airport on domestic routes and Incheon Airport on international flights for a short period until September.
The company said the move was aimed at reducing wasted fuel and helping more accurately estimate the weight of the plane.
It is unclear if any other airlines have similar plans to bring in weighing in for their passengers.