If you are flying in or from South Korea in the next few weeks, beware: you will be required to have your weight measured and recorded before the flight.
1. Fuel and weight
A law set by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, demands that airlines assess passenger weights, including their carry-on items. The standardisation exercise must take place every five years and helps in calculations of aircraft weight distribution, and economic fuel consumption, as well as contributing to general flight safety, according to reports by Business Insider and the Korea JoongAng Daily.
2. Domestic and International
Domestic flights departing Gimpo Airport between 28 August and 6 September will be affected, while international flights leaving Incheon Airport will take part in the exercise between 8 and 19 September.
Korean Air, the nation’s flagship carrier, have confirmed to the JoongAng Daily and Insider that they will be asking passengers to step on the scales before boarding.
The data collated anonymously will be utilized for survey purposes and doesn’t mean overweight passengers will need to pay more.Korean Air
3. At the gates
The weigh-in will happen in front of the gates, according to reporting in The Korea Times.
Korean Air also pointed out that other operators would need to comply with the assessment exercise and would not be able to get out of doing the same as them, no matter how customers feel about it, though passengers are free to complain if they wish and to opt-out in advance.
4. Do other countries do the same?
South Korea is not the only country that needs to gather this data. Insider investigated how the same data collection issue is managed in the United States back in 2021, finding that the Federal Aviation Authority takes a rather different approach. Customers there are allowed to self-report their weight when asked by operators. Current rules permit airlines to review the situation and correct the figure through making “a reasonable estimate” if it seems the weight has been given inaccurately.
New Zealand meanwhile uses a middle ground between the American and Korean methods, Travel Tomorrow has reported. When attempting to meet requirements set by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority and take action to cut emissions, Air New Zealand invites flyers to step up on the scales before flying – but the process is voluntary.
For anyone interested, South Korea’s 2017’s last summer season survey found the average weight for adult males was 81 kilos (178.6 pounds), while the average woman weighed in at 68.9 kilos (152.1 pounds).