A British technology startup wants to figure out more accurate ways of weighing passengers ahead of flights.
Although most passengers are accustomed to weighing their bags before takeoff, according to Lonely Planet, the calculations don’t actually stop there.
Airlines crews have to approximately determine the total amount of weight onboard each flight before takeoff, in order to ensure that there will be enough fuel to make the journey, the outlet reported. The heavier the plane, the more fuel is required.
However, since passengers typically aren’t required to step on a scale themselves, airlines aren’t really able to get an exact number, which means planes often carry more fuel than necessary, increasing both the airline’s costs and its carbon footprint.
“It’s critical to know the actual weight an to ensure the correct fuel uplift,” the company’s CEO Roy Fuscone told Lonely Planet.
According to the Washington Post, most airlines rely on “generous estimations” for the weight of its passengers — 197 lbs. for men, 154 lbs. for women and 77 lbs. for children — which were set by the European Aviation Safety Agency.
But Fuel Matrix has a different solution: actually weigh the passengers. According to their website, Fuel Matrix is a technology company that aims to use a software-based system to provide airlines with “a tool for improving fuel uplift decisions, and thereby reducing both fuel costs and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions.”
Conscious of how passengers might feel about the prospect of having to weigh themselves before each flight, Fuscone has said Fuel Matrix is in talks with UK airports about “discreet” ways to accomplish its goal.
“More airports and airlines are moving towards self-service bag drops, where the passenger uses a screen-based system to weigh their baggage on scales and answer questions about its contents,” Fuel Matrix COO Nick Brasier told The Independent, elaborating on one potential method.
“We’re not suggesting people should stand on the scales, but airports could fit ‘pressure pads’ in the bag-drop area in front of each screen. After the bag has been checked in, the system can ask, ‘Are you standing on the pressure pad?’ If the passenger taps ‘Yes’, then the weight can be recorded and passed confidentially to the airline,” he added.
Likewise, passengers’ weight could also be determined during a full body scan.
Brasier went on to tell The Independent that after each flight, the data would be destroyed — and that the company isn’t recommending that passengers who weigh more would be required to pay more money for their seats.
Although not widely adopted, the concept of weighing passengers is not entirely new.
In 2017, Finland’s largest airline, Finnair, offered passengers the ability to voluntarily weigh themselves ahead of flights at Helsinki airport, in an effort to determine safety and fuel requirements, CNBC previously reported.
According to Lonely Planet, in 2015 Uzbekistan Airways also announced they would be weighing their passengers in order to “ensure flight safety.”
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