Asian airline to weigh passengers

Passengers flying with Korean Air will be asked to step on the weighing scales before they board in the coming weeks, to help regulators in Seoul update aircraft weight and balance standards, South Korean media reported this week.

Weigh stations will be installed at Seoul’s Gimpo Airport for domestic passengers from August 28 to September 6, and at Incheon Airport for international passengers from September 8 to 19, Korea JoongAng Daily reported on Monday.

The airline will record the weight of each passenger plus their carry-on luggage, which will be forwarded to the country’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The ministry will then use this data to calculate the average weight of a typical passenger, which will be used to draw up regulations on seating arrangements and how much extra fuel a plane should carry.

Airline staff stressed that overweight passengers will not have to pay more, and that all the data collected will be anonymized. However, this message appears to have been lost on the Korean public, who took to social media to vent about potential fat-shaming in the airport.

«It feels awkward that others will know my weight,» read one comment quoted by the newspaper. Others asked «if I weigh less, will they let me carry on more baggage?» and «will I be charged more if I weigh more?»

Air New Zealand also asked passengers to step on the scales before flying earlier this summer. In a press release, the airline said that the survey – which was optional – was “essential» to the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft.

According to 2021 data, the average South Korean adult male weighs 74.1kg (163.4lb), while the average female weighs 58.6kg (129lb). The average American is considerably heavier, with males weighing in at 90.6 kg (199.7 lb) and females weighing 77.5 kg (170.9 lb), according to 2018 figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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