United prints in-flight magazine on lighter paper and saves 170,000 gallons of fuel

A slight weight reduction saves United Airlines $290,000 in annual fuel costs

A major American airline has come up with an original solution to reduce the amount of fuel they use. By using lighter paper to print their in-flight magazine, Hemisphere, United Airlines saves up to 170,000 gallons of fuel, which cuts about $290,000 in annual fuel costs.

United Airlines saves $290,000 per year by using lighter paper for their in-flight magazine —Pixabay
United Airlines saves $290,000 per year by using lighter paper for their in-flight magazine — Pixabay


According to the LA Times, the carrier informed their employees about the new measures in an internal message.

The Chicago based airline operates 4,500 flights a day. Therefore the reduction can add up to the larger volumes. The airline has 744 mainline aircrafts that can take from 50 to 366 passengers on board.

One magazine is now one 29 g lighter and weights 195 g which will make a usual 737 plane that carries 179 passengers 5 kg lighter on average.

This approach is not the first attempt of United to run their operation more efficiently by making the plane less heavy.

Last March, the carrier decided to stop selling duty-free items on board – such as perfumes, chocolates and liquor – to reduce weight. According to the LA Times, this measure brought the company $2.3 million in savings by cutting 1.4 million gallons of fuel a year.

However, saving money on such minuscule weight reduction is nothing new in the air travel industry.

In the 1980s American Airlines famously saved $40,000 a year by removing one olive from each first-class food tray.

South American airline VivaColombia came up with an even more radical solution as they announced plans to launch seatless planes making the passengers stand.

VivaColombia’s CEO William Shaw told the Miami Herald: “There are people out there right now researching whether you can fly standing up – we’re very interested in anything that makes travel less expensive.”