Speed Reading — Weighing Passengers - Level 6 — 200 wpm

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Finland's national carrier Finnair has started weighing passengers on its flights from the capital city of Helsinki. The weigh-ins are being done on a voluntary basis and are completely anonymous. A company spokesperson said the new initiative is to ensure safety standards on flights are adhered to. He said any airplane should not exceed the prescribed maximum weight for safe take-offs and landings. This weight is made up of the aircraft itself, the fuel, checked baggage and cargo, onboard catering, water tanks, and passengers. Finnair said airlines never know the exact weight of passengers and their carry-on baggage, so they have to rely on average estimates provided by aviation authorities.

Passengers who volunteer to be weighed are stepping on weighing scales at the departure gates at Helsinki Airport. Finnair officials were initially concerned about a customer backlash because weight is such a personal issue. However, in the first week of the tests, over 1,000 passengers had agreed to be weighed. The company said: "We hope to have a good sample of volunteers, both business and leisure travellers, so that we can get the most accurate information possible for important balance calculations." It added: "Our customers have taken it really positively so far." An official said travellers could "rest assured" and have "peace of mind" that their weight would not be linked to their personal data.

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