Korean Air, the biggest airline in South Korea, has decided to weigh passengers and their carry-on items at the airport for safety reasons.
This step, revealed on the airline’s official website, aims to determine the average weight of passengers before their flights. This approach is quite similar to what Air New Zealand announced in June.
Passengers departing from two of the busiest airports in South Korea, both located in the capital city of Seoul, will be requested to stand on weighing scales.
At Gimpo Airport, those flying domestic routes might be weighed between August 28th and September 6th. Similarly, passengers leaving from Incheon International Airport might experience this from September 8th to the 19th.
Korean Air has clarified that travelers who are uncomfortable with sharing their weight can choose not to participate by informing the airport staff.
Korean Air to weigh passengers on domestic, international flights!
By Kim Hyun-bin pic.twitter.com/JoBPCEWldX
— Èyítànwá (토이바) 🇳🇬🇰🇷 #staySAFE (@mus_toyy) August 21, 2023
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation (MOLIT) in Korea has recommended that all national airlines weigh passengers along with their carry-on bags.
This update is part of their efforts to enhance the Aircraft Weight and Balance Management Standards. A spokesperson from the Ministry shared this information with The Independent.
Emphasizing the importance of flight safety, the spokesperson expressed that this is extremely important for ensuring safe flight operations. Korean Air is following this requirement diligently, as safety remains of utmost concern.
Is it reasonable to weigh airline passengers?
Vance Hilderman, the CEO of Afuzion, a company specializing in aviation safety, says the answer is a resounding “no.”
He specifically believes that weighing passengers, especially for safety reasons, isn’t a necessary measure. He pointed out that on smaller aircraft like Bombardier or Embraer jets, the weight difference caused by a few obese individuals might have only a minor impact.
However, for larger commercial planes such as Boeing 737s or larger, which are designed with a capacity of around 120 people or more in mind, this aspect is already factored into the aircraft’s design, reported CNBC.
It's better to weigh the plane than to weigh the passengers. Weight problems can become discrimination against obesity, depriving passengers of legal rights. pic.twitter.com/rbcxj2IWMt
— chenguanghua (@chenguanghua6) August 22, 2023
Aviation software is capable of adapting to alterations in weight, air density, and other variables. This capability ensures that safety remains intact even when passenger characteristics are atypical.
According to Hilderman, if a flight consists mostly of businessmen, who typically have higher weights compared to the average traveler, the software can still manage without compromising safety.
All in all, any substantial increase in individual passenger weight would be overshadowed by the combined weight of fuel, cargo, and the aircraft itself. Vance Hilderman clarified this perspective, noting that the weight of fuel alone is around twenty times greater than the weight of a single passenger.