The Meeting Place

Bid to weigh passengers at airports

A British company is pushing for all passengers to be weighed before they board their flights.

But the reason is not what you’re probably thinking and has nothing to do with obesity problems.

The company, Fuel Matrix, is aiming to save the planet unnecessary carbon emissions and airlines money.

Fuel Matrix says it has the technology to calculate the actual weight an aircraft is carrying, rather than an estimated weight, to ensure the correct fuel uplift. Instead of relying on current estimates –about 88 kilograms for men and 70 kilograms for women, as set by the European Aviation Safety Agency – an airline would know exactly what the passengers and luggage on board weigh. That might mean taking on less fuel.

Lonely Planet reports that the company is in talks with airports in the United Kingdom to figure out “discreet” methods of determining a passenger's weight.

Passengers' privacy would be safeguarded, the company says.

While the Fuel Matrix technology is new, the concept of weighing passengers isn't. In 2013, Samoa Air became the first airline to weigh passengers and charge a variable kilogram-per-kilometre rate.



If nothing else this move will certainly keep people on their toes about their weight and clearly health will improve. However..I feel it would take a lot of monitoring. They will have to establish how heavy a person should be, taking into account their height etc.

How could it possibly keep people on their toes about their weight??

The airline is looking for a mass weight.

I'm not sure if I would feel comfortable on a plane which only has enough fuel to get to it's destination? 

Why do I feel I have to explain simple things to you? The idiom “keep people on their toes” simply means alerting someone to a certain situation.

In this case obese passengers wanting to travel being forced to do something about their weight is not only good for their health, but also for the comfort of other passengers who pay the same price for a ticket, but, have to share their seat with someone overlapping onto theirs.

Adrianus, under international Law, all aircraft must carry sufficient fuel to be able to both hold for a reasonable time and/or divert to a suitable alternate airport should the original distination not be available.

This doesn't always work out though as the Gimli Glider demonstrated.


Why do you feel that way? Beats me? Only you know.

The use of the word discreet leads me to understand that passengers do not see their weight in a flashing neon sign and broadcast throughout the terminal on the PA system.

If however, a passenger was being charged as you would charge dead weight, ie per klg now that is a different story. But they are not doing this.   

On the other hand, there is nothing discreet about the x-ray. I get embarrassed when the female operator smiles at me as I pass through.

Sophie...Even skinny people have medical problems and nonsmokers get lung cancer. Instead of overloading planes with passengers for mass profit. They could reduce passenger numbers and increase fares instead. 

many obese people look in the mirror and do not see they are obese b ecause so many in society are obese..that is the problem!

A wonderful move which hopefully takes off everywhere.

Many people do not realise that mass (weight) and where it is locate on an aircraft is important for the aerodynamic performance of the plane. Nothing to do with airlines giving passengers a hard time.

The other issue is extremely/morbidly obese people sitting in seats which were never meant to accommodate somebody of that size.  Once the allocated 'big' seats are filled obese passengers should no longer be permitted to book a seat on that flight.  To do this airlines would have to require people booking flights to disclose their weight.  Wouldn't that alone cause a major bun fight.  We have rights?  Yeah....and the rest of th eplane has none.

A vexed issue which is only going to get harder methinks.  I do hope that airlines are required to start thinking about this in future as it is an issue which many travellers as well as airlines have been grappling with for decades.



That was a quick return bilby (aka pete/ brocky/lothario)


Great if fat people are banned then we'd get cheaper airfares.

Nerk....In your dreams only...Everything is about increasing costs at your expense.

Until you have been seated next to an obese person on a plane, you will never understand. lol

Ditto.  Its an experience anybody who who talks the discrimination nonesense needs to experience.  Then they understand.

I had this just a few weeks ago. Row of 3 seats - me in middle. Guy beside window - oh my god! was half way over my seat! Was at least 200kgs. I could NOT sit straight! Had to lean to the other side. Most uncomfortable 2 hour flight. Next morning - could not move - was taken to hospital by ambulance with suspected sceptic hip bursitus - cause of sitting so badly. Wrote to airline - all I received was 'thankyou for your feedback'. I didn't realise that my air fare was for half a seat. 

Yet as we were boarding, a steward was hand weighing everyone's luggage. One lady (baerly would have weighed 60 kgs) was 1kg over weight - she was directed to the service desk to pay the extra. Think it was around $38 I heard her saying. 

However, on the other hand, one leg of my flight, a very large lady came along with 2 cabin bags. Steward said 'only 1 bag per passenger'. Lady very politely states - 'oh but I have bought 2 tickets, so I am entitled to 2 bags'. She had no qualms about paying for 2 seats!

i have had the same thing hapen to me on an internal flight in NZ...thankfully only anhour...this huge man spilt over into my seat, hogged the arm rest and when I said he was invading my person space he went "hhrump" and gave me a dirty look but he did take his arm out of my personal space.  If you need extra space pay for it and buy two seats!


Quote bilby: :years ago i, along with everybody else in the carriage, had the same problem on the train in melbourne, with 2 muslim women wearing thick smelly burqas with factory chemical smells emanating from them. they had no problem getting a seat as  nobody wanted to be near them, and some people  opted to stand away rather than sit close to them.

Back with the racist comments pete/brocky/lothario??????

In a bid to maximise aerodynamic effciencies, passengers may find them selves directed to specific seat rows.  Active seat allocations depending on passenger and carry-on luggage weights.

Aerodynamic efficiences"?  No, centre of gravity! 

That's what weight distribution is well as ensuring the maximum design payload is not exceeded.

I would have thought this could not happen Couldabeen?

All this proves is that you can get away with not being PC if you're saving the planet.

I would have thought this could not happen Couldabeen?

All this proves is that you can get away with not being PC if you're saving the planet.


Finnair has started weighing its passengers before they board flights in Helinksi, but insist it’s not because of fat-shaming anyone.

The airline say it is gathering data in the hopes of slashing operating costs, so it can better estimate fuel requirements. Makes a lot of sense to me.

The added bonus of having a seat all to yourself is attractive too!

I remember the first time I flew to Perth, I was on the red eye with east west airlines, when we checked in our luggage was weighed then they told us to step on the scales as well, our friends who dropped us off thought it was hilarious, this was about 35 years ago.

Before boarding a helicopter for a flight over the Grand Canyon a few years ago all passengers were weighed. We were distributed according to weight. My wife was front right and I was rear left. Heavier passengers were in the middle. Few were able to sit near their partners. We were told before weighing  that weight had to be distibuted according to a formula so we could opt out if it did not suit. Made sense that the helicopter could be at its most stable.

Had to be weighed flying out to oil rigs in Bass straight.

The BIG and BIG of it.

Two massive strongmen had to sit next to each other in cramped economy seats.

Eddie Hall and Brian Shaw were lumped next to each other on a flight to Scotland in April 2019. If you aren’t aware of the pair, Hall – nicknamed ‘The Beast’ – was crowned World’s Strongest Man in 2017 while Shaw has won it four times.

Alongside the image was the caption: “The check-in ladies sat me and @shawstrength right next to each other on the plane from London to Scotland and no-one on the plane would swap seats.

“Would you swap seats with one of us?? I wouldn’t either.”


This is the worse one I've ever seen.

Flying makes you fart more, cabin staff call it crop dusting in the aisle.

so if you're sitting between two heavies like the ones above and they are struggling with HAFE (high altitude flatus expulsion) then you're a goner. So in a sense if airlines charge more, what you're really paying for is the freedom to fart.

ROFL, yes I've heard of that HAFE thing ABE. At least with a fart the smell dissipates eventually, but sitting next to some miserable bugger who had a last minute ciggie in the airport before boarding is disgusting. The smell lingers on clothing and having to endure that for several hours is enough to make non smokers retch. 

Never knew or I think experienced that Abe. Have exerienced smelly planes but failed to make the connection.


Plane cabins are pressurized to between 6,000 to 8,000 feet which is a significant altitude change for your body just as the air in your water bottle expands at higher altitudes, the gas in your intestines can expand on a plane, growing to take up about 30% more room than usual. That room is taken up by air and at some point it needs to escape. 

Drink lots of water, avoid salty and fatty food and you will be ok. You have to let those farts go even if it’s a bit awkward.  Researchers from the University of Copenhagen noted that holding back a fart can lead to discomfort, pain and more bloating. Over time, the habit could also increase your risk of colonic diverticular disease (which I believe is the problem with bilby) an inflammation of the colon.


Ahhh so, that's sagman's problem. I thought he recently had a clean out, maybe he needs another one, he's still full of the brown stuff, hope he doesn't have to wait another 18 months LOL


The total weight of a plane, including all its passengers and cargo, is estimated before every flight to work out how much fuel will be required. Naturally, the heavier the plane, the more expensive the journey in terms of fuel, but safety comes into it too. All aircraft have a maximum take-off weight, so paying attention to the weight of passengers make a lot of sense.

I fly light aircraft but mainly a glider and the weight distribution is even more crucial. Maximum weight allowed for a glider is approx 110kg. This includes your clothes, a parachute and anything else you have on your person.

Abe's on holiday Aviator, I got him a cheap ticket to a really nice island paradise. Hope he sends me a card. Interesting post though!

Thank you Reagan, yes I realise. Lucky guy!

No problem, make them pay extra, but for the extra price you should have to provide them with an extra large seat. Accordingly, if someone is lower than the average weight for their age and height they should be given a discount.  If two people who for what ever reason are obese, they should be given an opportunity to share three seats betweeen them.  We often buy an extra seat, not because od weight problems, but because it gives us an opportunity to stretch out on long trips.

If a plane is not carrying a full compliment of passengers the weight difference should be distributed amongst those who have a weight problem.  If it is the safe operation of the plane that is the problem and not just another opportunity to fleece customers, this is a fair solution.

discriminating against people who are unfortunate enough to have a weight problem is NOT a viable solution.