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Why Korean Air Is Recording Passengers’ Weight Before Boarding

A photo of a Korean Air plane flying in the sky.

Photo: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

There are plenty of weird hoops passengers have to jump through before they can board a plane. Korean Air is adding taking passengers’ weight to the list of things it wants to know before anyone gets on board.

From this week, the Korean flag carrier will randomly weigh passengers and their luggage as they board flights at Gimpo International Airport, with spot checks also taking place at Incheon International Airport next month. But, according to CNN, the practice isn’t about body-shaming passengers that get onboard Korean Air’s flights.

The site reports that Korean Air is one of several international airlines that are required to report plane weight data from time to time. As such, the data collected from passenger weights is used to help international carriers make decisions about fuel requirements for different flights and weight distribution onboard different aircraft. CNN reports:

Earlier this year, Air New Zealand carried out a similar program with some of the customers flying its international routes, like the ultra-long-haul between Auckland and New York’s JFK.

“We know stepping on the scales can be daunting. We want to reassure our customers there is no visible display anywhere. No one can see your weight, not even us,” a representative from Air NZ, the country’s national carrier, said at the time.

Through the process, both passengers and their luggage will be weighed anonymously, and the data collected by Korean Air is shared with the country’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. The airline added that if any passenger would rather not step on the scales, they can opt out by letting a staff member know.

The Korean Air scheme will run from August 28 through September 3 at Korea’s Gimpo International Airport and between September 8 and 19 at Incheon International Airport.


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