Finnair Weigh Their Passengers – Who Are Keen To Take Part!

By Spyros Georgilidakis | February 13, 2024

We’ve heard of airlines that weigh their passengers before departure, and Finnair found that many of them were actually eager to do it.

This really isn’t a new idea. A few months ago we saw that Air New Zealand and many other airlines and airport authorities occasionally weigh their passengers. And the process isn’t always a voluntary one. In such cases, airlines take care to ensure the privacy of their passengers. The airline employee doing the weighing doesn’t actually have a weight display, for example.

Photo: Mohammad Saifullah

But other airlines do it differently, and this is where we get to Finnair. The airline informed its passengers via its social media and phone app about the event. On Monday the 5th of February, the airline would weigh the passengers who volunteer to do so, right at the gate.

Why do so? Well, this is a process that Finnair is doing once every five years. As we’ve previously explained, airlines basically weigh everything that goes on board an aircraft: fuel, baggage, food, water, waste… everything. Except for the passengers.

Finnair Weigh Their Passengers – Who Are Keen To Take Part!
Photo: Nimu

Why Airlines Weigh Passengers (from time to time)

The airlines rely on average weights for passengers, which are different for men, women, and children. These numbers tend to be fairly accurate, and there is plenty of margin for error, as we’ve seen. Even so, captains can sometimes choose to weigh passengers, if sports teams or large numbers of soldiers board a flight, for example.

Finnair Weigh Their Passengers – Who Are Keen To Take Part!
Photo: Tim van der Kuip

Finnair performs this process both in winter and in the summer. Obviously, people dress heavier in winter, especially in the Nordics. Each time, the airline plans to weigh 1,200 people. Each passenger is weighed with the clothes they are wearing AND their hand luggage.

Finnair’s airport employee performing the task HAS a weight display. But this employee doesn’t know the passenger’s name and details. And Interestingly, it looks like getting to 1,200 passengers won’t take as long as the airline first thought.

Photo: AleGranholm, CC BY 2.0

The airline reported that some passengers ASKED if they could be weighed, even before the equipment was ready. Finnair got to two-thirds of its volunteer target in just four days. If you are wondering why… well, maybe people aren’t as shy as everyone thinks!

Also, unless you’re carrying more in your hand luggage than you should, maybe that bag is something of a “get out of jail free” card. Nobody knows if it’s full of stuff, or if there’s only a jacket in there, and you’re carrying the bag only for the stuff you’ll bring on the RETURN flight… but now we’re speculating.



  • One airline asked its passengers to ‘use the toilet’ before boarding and during that trial, they found a small but noticeable reduction in fuel use (linked to take off and climbing to cruising altitude).

  • I would like to see passengers weighed with all luggage. Pay for a seat (or two if you want more comfort) and for the total weight. Fuel burnt is related to weight so why should a lighter passenger with light luggage pay the same a a heavier passenger with luggage at weight limit.

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