Airlines May Soon Weigh Passengers to Cut Fuel Costs and Emissions

Times are tough in the travel industry. Airlines, in particular, are getting creative with where and how they pinch their pennies (like standing-room-only cabins). Now, one tech startup is pushing a way to cut the fat by literally cutting the fat — or, more specifically, measuring it. Their plan? To weigh every passenger before they board.

British-based Fuel Matrix is in talks with airports in the United Kingdom to find discreet ways to weigh passengers. How they’ll be weighed has yet to be determined. It would likely occur using pressure-sensitive pads during the check-in process or through full-body scanning technology. The company promises that all of the data collected would be kept strictly confidential under Europe’s recent GDPR program designed to protect public information.

airplane aisle seats
Suhyeon Choi

The concept boils down to simple economics. Heavier planes require more fuel and carrying and burning more fuel costs more money. The more accurately an airline can predict the fuel needed for each flight, the better it can predict how much fuel each plane actually needs. The problem is that most European airlines are relying on 10-year-old charts that overstate how much the average passenger and their luggage weighs. That means most planes are carrying excess fuel unnecessarily and, in turn, wasting money in the process.

Fuel Matrix’s CEO, Roy Fuscone, confirms that if airlines knew they were carrying a lighter load, they could fly with less fuel. “It’s critical to know the actual weight an airline is carrying to ensure the correct fuel uplift,” he told Lonely Planet. The ideal weight for airlines is known as “zero-fuel weight,” which equals the weight of an airplane, plus all its passengers and contents, less the fuel weight. The more accurately they can predict this number, the more efficiently they can fly. Fuscone points out that this not only saves the airline money but substantially cuts carbon emissions as well.

The concept isn’t new. In 2015, Uzbekistan Airways announced a new “flight safety” policy that included weighing passengers at check-in. Finnair piloted a program in 2017 to voluntarily weigh passengers to collect general data. It’s difficult, however, to imagine any U.S. airline making a similar move. In an age of rising air rage incidents and passengers being beaten into submission, domestic air carriers already have their hands full with maintaining a decent public image. Why add the potential for “fat-shaming” to the mix?


How to Fend Off Hiker Hunger When You’re on the Trail

Because you deserve more than just beef jerky and a half-melted Snickers bar on the trail.

How to Build an Apocalypse-Worthy Bug-Out Bag

Outrunning the zombies is only part of the equation. You still need the right gear to survive.
Fashion & Style

All the Best Online Memorial Day Sales to Shop in 2019

Score a sale price you can definitely brag about when manning the grill this long weekend.

Bachelor Pad Tech: 11 Products you Need for a Smart Home

From robot vacuums to AI toilets and more, this round-up is guaranteed to take your pad well into the 22nd century.

Get Paid to Live on Luxury Yachts for a Year with HushHush

Uber-luxe shopping site HushHush just announced that it's in search of one very motivated Yacht Tester. The best part: No experience necessary.

Newfoundland Road Trip Itinerary: Where to Visit, Eat, and Stay on the Canadian Island

One of Canada’s most remote provinces is also one of the most spectacular places to visit within the massive country.

The Best Time to Visit the 5 Most Popular U.S. National Parks

Hint: Be flexible and visit when most other people don't want to.

New Mexico Road Trip Itinerary: 10 Can’t-Miss Stops to Add to Your Route

Road trips across New Mexico should consist of breakfast burritos, vintage Americana, stunning desert backdrops, and a little relaxation.

North Carolina Road Trip Itinerary: What to Eat, Drink, and Do in the Tar Heel State

It all starts by landing in Asheville, the state’s most progressive and welcoming community, where you can pick up your car rental and head to town.

The View of an American Road Trip from the Back of a Motorcycle

One day while heading to my favorite peak, an idea formed: "What if I could tour the Rocky Mountains of the West on the motorcycle of my dreams?"

The Most Jaw-Dropping Natural Swimming Holes in the United States

You don't need to trek to Thailand or South America to find sparkling depths and crystal-clear waters.

The Best Road Trip Songs: Hit Play Then Hit the Gas

Ah, the open road! It beckons us to cast aside responsibility, embrace the unknown, jump in the car, and just go. Take this mixtape with you.

Weird Roadside Attractions: 10 Picture-Worthy Pit Stops in the U.S.

From Cadillac Ranch to Salvation Mountain to Lucy the Elephant, wonderfully bizarre roadside attraction line American's highways.