Airlines Try to Lighten Their Loads
Everyone's trying to lose weight these days, it seems. For some, it's all about bathing suit season. For others, it's done in the name of fuel economy.
While drivers are trading in SUVs for compact gas-sippers, airlines are doing what they can to shed some pounds. No, not by imposing weight limits on passengers (yet). They're lightening up by taking away things like phones and magazines.
Britain's Sunday Times reported earlier this week that Emirates Airlines, based in Dubai, will stop stocking seatbacks with magazines, reducing planes' weight and thereby shrinking fuel costs.
Last month, Bloomberg had a nice story on other unusual ways airlines are cutting fuel costs, including Southwest's version of hypermiling: flying more slowly.
(BTW Southwest also insists that "Customers of Size" must buy two seats, though it refunds the cost of the second seat if the flight isn't full.) I applaud airlines' attempts to lighten up wherever they can. But there's a limit. One blogger lists different ways airlines are cutting weight, one of them involving flushing toilets on the ground. Huh?
Anyway, while I'm all for fuel economy, some of the changes seem like they'd be counterproductive. For instance, when U.S. Airways cuts in-flight videos, people may bring their own entertainment, including heavy books, portable DVD players and the like. Wouldn't that actually weigh more in the end?
What do you think? Do you agree with some of these weight-reducing efforts? What else do you think airlines can do to slim down?
By Christina Talcott |
July 24, 2008; 11:55 AM ET
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