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Curious fact emerges: pax weight differs according to class

November 3, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A curious fact has arisen from a big weigh-in conducted by Finnair and other European carriers: men flying in first class weigh more than those flying in economy class – yet for women, a surprisingly different pattern emerges.

Finnair staff have been asking passengers at Helsinki Airport to step briefly on the scales so the airline can draw up an average of what its passengers weigh. The weigh-in is optional.

Until now, Finnair has followed European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) passenger standard weight estimates, which put an average male’s weight at 84.6kg. The average female passenger weighs 66.5kg and the average under-12 passenger weighs 30.7kg.

Note: those weights are clothed – as that’s how airlines carry their passengers. In-flight nudity is frowned on.

Passenger weigh-in

But here’s the surprise. EASA’s averages conceal a range of variables: men travelling first class tend to weigh more than those in economy, while for women the reverse is true. The old adage “you can’t be too rich or too thin” seems to hold true for women flying in the pointy end of the plane. Those flying in economy class are bulkier, on average.

The average hand luggage is 6.1kg, but that average falls in the summer. Perhaps sun hats weigh less than umbrellas? Additionally, men tend to carry on heavier items than women.

Finnair is surveying customers to ensure that the estimates it uses to calculate total weight, fuel and safety are accurate.

Päivyt Tallqvist, communications director at Finnair, puts it simply: “Airlines know what the aircraft weighs, what the check-in luggage weighs, but not what passengers weigh,” he told the BBC.

Once Finnair gets 2000 passengers willing to be weighed, it will have enough to draw up an accurate average.

Written by Peter Needham

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