Airport regulations are tight for obvious reasons, but people are failing to see why their weight should matter when flying. British firm Fuel Matrix thinks that weighing every passenger before they are allowed onto the plane will help lessen fuel consumption in the long term.
The idea is that by 'discretely' weighing passengers at check-in desks with a system of pressure pads, then the airline will be able to use that information to load a more appropriate amount of fuel onto the plane instead of simply using an 'assumed weight' for passengers as they reportedly do at present. Ideally, then, should the total weight come out less than expected, then the plane can stock a little less fuel and expend less during travel.
Some have been quick to condemn this as 'fat-shaming dressed up as economic fairness,' and there have been those up in arms about the idea that people who weigh more will have to pay more for flights.
However, the Independent has clearly stated that 'heavier passengers will not need to pay any extra,' but did go on to say, 'though some airlines insist that obese travelers who cannot comfortably sit in a standard seat buy an extra seat.'
Weighing passengers before boarding also has some safety benefits according to reports. By knowing the weight of passengers, the airline can balance out the seating arrangement so that the plane is more balanced and uses less fuel trying to stay balanced in the air.
Chief operating officer of Fuel Matrix Nick Brasier reckons 'airlines currently load about one percent more than they need, and consequently burn between 0.3 and 0.5 percent more fuel in carrying the unnecessary surplus.'
He then goes on to total the estimated worldwide savings as being up to $1 Billion in a year, that's a lot of freakin' overpriced bottles of miniature airline wine... you know, the ones that taste like coins and vinegar at £12 a pop.
How much the airlines could save isn't really of any concern for me, or anyone who doesn't work for an airline I imagine, but what does slightly warm me to this idea is the fact that the environmental benefits could be really positive. Air travel is one of the most damaging factors in environmental change, and since I can't imagine people stopping flying any time soon, anything that we can try and do to make it more fuel efficient has surely got to be freakin' worth it!
As much as this idea may seem completely far-flung and redundant to some, there have been instances of airlines weighing people in the past, and certain smaller aircraft have to weigh passengers to work out the weight distribution on board before take-off. It's natural that people wouldn't want to be weighed before getting on a plane, it's very personal information! But, the idea put forward by Fuel Matrix is that the data will be kept securely and then destroyed upon landing.
Although would you trust airlines with that kind of info, I can't think of the last time a flight I was on wasn't freakin' delayed!