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Airline Food

We Could Save on Fuel If You Didn’t Eat So Much Onboard

We Could Save on Fuel If You Didn’t Eat So Much Onboard
Scott Dylan

It turns out that the hunger pangs of airline passengers can actually help to lower fuel costs. Airlines are scrambling to make their airplanes lighter in any way possible. It’s true that starving passengers during flights won’t make those passengers lighter. However, it will reduce the overall weight of an aircraft if less food is being stored.

Is this really happening?

The sad answer is that airlines really are going this far when it comes to counting every last penny.

It’s time to ask yourself if reducing the amount of food on a flight in order to cut weight and save on fuel costs is really that radical in the eyes of airlines. You already know that airlines have been doing things like reducing baggage allotments and removing heavy seat-back screens from cabins in the face of climbing fuel prices. There aren’t many more things airlines can go after. It only makes sense that airlines would begin eyeing meals and drinks next. A plane with a few hundred passengers has to hold a few hundred meals. It’s important to think of all of the plates, trays, cutlery and glassware that go along with all of those meals. You also have to work snacks and extra drinks into the equation. The simple act of shrinking a meal or cutting out courses means being able to shrink all of the meal-related accessories that go along with serving passengers during flights.

Which airlines are embracing smaller portions as a way to cut costs?

Etihad is jumping right in. The carrier is in the process of redesigning its dining concept for economy passengers. That never sounds like good news. What Etihad really means is that it plans to cut costs however possible. This will include using cutlery that is made from lighter materials. Etihad also plans to mess with your main course. The airline is saying that it will now focus on using local and in-season ingredients to cut down on what it spends on transporting and delivering food. Etihad is also moving to a bistro-style approach. Passengers will just need to use their imaginations until Etihad releases more details regarding what exactly that means. Etihad is even changing the way it handles dessert. All desserts will now be served after meals with coffee and tea. It’s unclear why this switch is being made and what the actual desserts will be. We can expect that more airlines will be trying to use meal-related changes to cut fuel costs now that Etihad is starting the trend. Don’t forget that Qantas famously did away with meal trays and revamped its interpretation of what a meal is a while back as part of an effort to reduce aircraft weights. That change resulted in passengers on short-haul routes getting simple sandwiches instead of actual meals.

[Image Source: Flickr/ Aaron C]

View Comments (10)


  1. OUTraveling

    May 8, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Perhaps the airlines will give us a choice between your meals in a tube or shrink-wrapped vegan Nutra-loaf.

  2. topman

    May 8, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Are they going back to checking the weight of their crews. Ive seen some pilots who can definitely fly planes but I am more concerned about them having a heart attack due to their girth.

  3. SarcasticMisanthrope

    May 9, 2019 at 5:09 am

    How about the Airlines just hook the passengers to IV’s and Urine bags. Problem solved, no more meals and no more bathrooms.

  4. alexmyboy

    May 10, 2019 at 5:56 am

    just drug the passengers.

  5. MitchR

    May 10, 2019 at 6:47 am

    They could save even more if some passengers wouldn’t eat so much when they are not on board.

  6. fotographer

    May 10, 2019 at 7:13 am

    maybe the can install vending machines on the plane instead

  7. MSP_Dave

    May 10, 2019 at 8:29 am

    More to the point – How old is the photo being used above? An NWA A330 🙂

    I can easily see this as a thing going forward. Passengers MUST stand up for themselves or else the airlines will simply continue to treat them as third-class sardines.

  8. drphun

    May 10, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Seems silly, even though I haven’t seen much food on a plane for some time. Anyway, when they don’t serve food (or when they do), I just bring my own so I don’t see how this would result in actual savings. But hey, liquids are heavier than food. Water is about 9 lbs per gallon. Perhaps they can replace the wash water in the bathroom with a spritz of sanitizer, and just serve shots of liquor instead of beer and wine?

  9. poopbunny

    May 10, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Airlines would save more fuel if some passengers and crew weren’t so fat. Time for tickets to be based by weight not pax.

  10. gre

    May 11, 2019 at 5:39 am

    One of the best economy meals I ever had was on LH where the FAs simply walked down the aisle and handed everyone a sandwich and a beer.

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