In the coming weeks, Korean Air will weigh passengers along with their carry-on luggage, when travelling on domestic and international flights, in compliance with aviation laws.
The airline plans to apply a standard weight check on passengers, including their carry-on baggage, at Gimpo International Airport from August 28 to September; and international passengers at Incheon International Airport from September 8 to 19, according to an article on The Korea Times news website.
The airline confirmed that the data collected will be anonymous and used for safety operations.
Passengers who do not wish to be weighed don’t need to worry – they can inform the staff of their reluctance to participate at the time of boarding.
The measure complies with South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport's aviation regulations.
According to the ministry’s Aircraft Weight and Balance Management Standards, airlines must measure passengers' standard weights at least every five years or as needed and calculate average values.
The results are applied when determining aircraft weight and weight distribution.
Based on a 2017 survey in South Korea, the standards were set at 81 kg for adult males and 69 kg for adult females.
Meanwhile, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends 88.4 kg for adult males and 70.3 kg for adult females.
According to a report on the aviation website aircraftinteriorsinternational.com, the fuel requirements of any aircraft are directly related to its load. Aviation studies show that a passenger who weighs above average accounts for a higher amount of fuel consumption than a below-average passenger.
The Korea Times report added that aircrafts typically carry about one per cent more fuel than necessary. “Accurate passenger weight measurements can reduce additional fuel consumption, potentially saving around US dollars 1 billion (Dh3.6 billion) annually.”
Korean Air isn’t the first airline to weigh its passengers.
Domestic airlines in Korea, such as T'way Air and Jeju Air, have also conducted weight measurements in the past in 2018.
Reportedly, some international airlines like Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines also regularly measure the weight of passengers to factor into their flights.
According to a news report by the American business magazine fortune.com, on July 2, Air New Zealand asked many of its fliers to step onto the scales as part of its “passenger weight survey”.
According to the airline, the weighing of passengers is “essential to the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft,” and is required by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority.
Between 2017 and 2018, Finland’s Finnair asked people flying from Helsinki Airport to step on the scales before boarding for the same purpose.
Meanwhile, Uzbekistan Airways weighed its passengers in 2015 as part of the airline’s safety measures.