In a move that's bound to stir up some strong opinions, a European airline has taken the unusual step of weighing passengers before they get on the plane.
For many of us, just getting to the airport, going through security, and the constant worry about whether your passport is exactly where you think it should be, is already nerve-wracking enough.
If you're planning to fly with Finnair out of Helsinki during February and April-May this year, get ready for a new experience: you might be asked to step on a scale before boarding.
The airline has launched a project starting Monday, February 5th, where they're 'measuring' the weight of passengers heading out from Helsinki.
This initiative is all about volunteers stepping onto the scales along with their hand luggage.
The idea here is to give Finnair a better sense of the plane's overall weight before it takes off.
Kaisa Tikkanen, a spokesperson for Finnair, shared:
"Measurements began at Helsinki Airport this week on Monday. So far, more than 500 volunteer customers have participated in the weigh-ins."
Finnair is hoping to head off any potential criticism by explaining the rationale behind their decision.
They point out that knowing the total weight on the plane which includes 'the weight of fuel, checked baggage and cargo, onboard catering, water tanks, and of course, customers' is crucial for enhancing the safety of the flights.
They'll also consider factors like a person's travel class, gender, and age before they step on the scale.
Moreover, Finnair wants to reassure everyone that the weight data being collected won't be connected 'in any way' to their personal information.
It's all about gathering stats in the most anonymous manner possible.
"Only the customer service agent working at the measuring point can see the total weight, so you can participate in the study with peace of mind," explained Satu Munnukka, who oversees ground processes at Finnair.
Päivyt Tallqvist, the airline's communications director, mentioned to The Huffington Post how Finns are known for layering up in the winter, which is understandable given the country's often freezing temperatures during that season.
Wearing a heavy coat and several layers can certainly add to your weight.
"This is part of having a very strong safety culture in our organization" Tallqvist emphasized.
"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."
"When you explain this to [passengers], they understand."
It's worth noting that Finnair isn't pioneering this approach; Korean Air had already implemented a similar strategy last year.
It's an interesting trend in the aviation industry, aiming to enhance flight safety and efficiency.