Is the weighing of passengers before their flights about to take off?

Is the weighing of passengers before their flights about to take off? Tech firm in talks with airlines over the use of ‘pressure pad’ scales at check-in desks

  • Fuel Matrix says it’s in talks with UK airlines to start ‘discreetly’ weighing people 
  • The data would be used to calculate exactly how much fuel planes need to fly 
  • The firm estimates that most airlines fly with more fuel than they actually need 

Passengers may soon be weighed before they board flights in a bid to cut costs and carbon emissions.

Berkshire-based company Fuel Matrix is reportedly in talks with long-haul airlines in the UK over the deployment of ‘pressure pads’ that would discreetly weigh passengers as they pass through the airport.   

This data could then be passed directly to the flight deck for pilots to work out precisely how much fuel their plane needs. 

Berkshire-based company Fuel Matrix is reportedly in talks with long-haul airlines in the UK over the deployment of ‘pressure pads’ that would discreetly weigh passengers as they pass through the airport 

Ideas have ranged from installing pressure pads at self-service baggage drops or at security body scan machines.

Airlines have to carefully calculate how much fuel they need for flights as the heavier the load – the more fuel they need.

Using more fuel is not only expensive for carriers but also produces more carbon emissions.

Currently, airlines calculate the total weight of its passengers using an estimate based on gender. They allow 88kg (13.8 stone) for men, 70kg (11 stone) for women and 35kg (5.5 stone) for children.

But Fuel Matrix believes this calculation makes airlines use more fuel than they need to.

Airlines have to carefully calculate how much fuel they need for flights - the heavier the load, the more fuel they need

Airlines have to carefully calculate how much fuel they need for flights – the heavier the load, the more fuel they need

Chief operating officer Nick Brasier told the Independent that most flights carry about one per cent more fuel than they need and burn about 0.3 to 0.5 per cent more fuel due to the extra fuel weight.

However, it is not the first time the idea of weighing passengers before flights has been floated.  

In 2015, Uzbekistan Airways announced it would weigh passengers at check-in desks.

It said some overweight people would be excluded from busy flights on smaller planes if limits are exceeded. 

In 2017, Finnair also launched a similar scheme, although this was on a voluntary basis only.


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