# Anyone know the average cost per pound to fly 1,000 miles at $3/gallon fuel?

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**Anyone know the average cost per pound to fly 1,000 miles at $3/gallon fuel?**

I read a magazine article recently that had information about how airlines were working to keep weight down and how much they saved in a year for each pound or kilo of weight they were able to shed. It was a pretty good amount although I can't remember the figure. Given the way they have started cracking down on overweight luggage it must be a real cost.

If I read the article correctly, it said half the fuel on long-haul flights (I presume trans-Pacific) was used just to carry the gas for the trip, and suggested that if fuels costs continued to rise there might be a return to the days of shorter hops for refueling.

Anyway, just curious if anyone can come up with a ballpark figure of about how much the marginal cost is to transport one pound 1,000 miles, and whether it is a significant amount. Of course, when we're talking about luggage and passengers, we're talking about more than one pound. I realize planes differ and it must be a ballpark figure.

Part two of this question, assuming it is possible to calculate a marginal cost per mile per pound (and the cost actually amonts to something), is would you be willing to fly on an airline that charged a flat fee for each seat and then charged extra for poundage, whether it be luggage or body weight. In other words, instead of pricing a round trip at $300 they might price it at $200 plus fifty cents per pound, or whatever. Needless to say a family with small children flying up to grandma's for the weekend would likely pay less per pasenger than a team of sumo wrestlers with a full load of luggage.

Personally I would like such a system because it would make everyone pay their fair share. Right now, I tend to overpack. If I had to pay for every pound I might try to pack a little lighter, which would be to everyone's benefit. Of course, I might watch my own weight a little more, too.

If I read the article correctly, it said half the fuel on long-haul flights (I presume trans-Pacific) was used just to carry the gas for the trip, and suggested that if fuels costs continued to rise there might be a return to the days of shorter hops for refueling.

Anyway, just curious if anyone can come up with a ballpark figure of about how much the marginal cost is to transport one pound 1,000 miles, and whether it is a significant amount. Of course, when we're talking about luggage and passengers, we're talking about more than one pound. I realize planes differ and it must be a ballpark figure.

Part two of this question, assuming it is possible to calculate a marginal cost per mile per pound (and the cost actually amonts to something), is would you be willing to fly on an airline that charged a flat fee for each seat and then charged extra for poundage, whether it be luggage or body weight. In other words, instead of pricing a round trip at $300 they might price it at $200 plus fifty cents per pound, or whatever. Needless to say a family with small children flying up to grandma's for the weekend would likely pay less per pasenger than a team of sumo wrestlers with a full load of luggage.

Personally I would like such a system because it would make everyone pay their fair share. Right now, I tend to overpack. If I had to pay for every pound I might try to pack a little lighter, which would be to everyone's benefit. Of course, I might watch my own weight a little more, too.

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**2**
I've heard of some puddle jumper flights that weighed customers and luggage to balance the plane, but I've never been on one. I'm guessing the first airline that includes customer weigh-ins as part of its pricing and ticketing will lose all its potential female customers, and will never earn a dime thereafter.

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This article reports that airlines average 49 revenue-passenger-miles per gallon of jet fuel. That's about 20 gallons per 1K miles/pax. Jet juel is about $2.10/gallon recently, so $42/pax/1K miles.

If the average pax + bags weighs 200 lbs, that's 21 cents per pound/1K miles.

Not sure how cargo fits into that equation.

And of course, that's not the marginal cost - the empty plane itself is heavy and that cost is buried here. But it's a ballpark starting point.

If the average pax + bags weighs 200 lbs, that's 21 cents per pound/1K miles.

Not sure how cargo fits into that equation.

And of course, that's not the marginal cost - the empty plane itself is heavy and that cost is buried here. But it's a ballpark starting point.

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Not even close.

$42/passenger in a 137 seat SWA 737, for example, would be $5754 in jet fuel. At your $2.10/gal figure that's 2740 gallons or 18,358 pounds. That's enough fuel to fly a 737 for over 3½ hours including flying the weight of the airplane, bags, cargo, etc.

$42/passenger in a 137 seat SWA 737, for example, would be $5754 in jet fuel. At your $2.10/gal figure that's 2740 gallons or 18,358 pounds. That's enough fuel to fly a 737 for over 3½ hours including flying the weight of the airplane, bags, cargo, etc.

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I may have the answer using this sample chart for a 777-200:

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/air...sec3charts.pdf

The last 20,000 pounds of payload requires an extra 5,000 pounds of fuel to maintain a constant range of 3,300 nautical miles. (In other words, starting from a 100,000 pound payload, we add 20,000 more pounds to get the marginal difference for the 120,000 pound maximum payload. The chart shows that the extra 20,000 pound payload adds 25,000 pounds to the gross weight, therefore an extra 5,000 pounds of fuel was required.)

So, if a passenger has a total weight of 200 pounds, including baggage, that would require 50 pounds of extra fuel. Roughly. Converting to cost will be left as an exercise for the reader.

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/air...sec3charts.pdf

The last 20,000 pounds of payload requires an extra 5,000 pounds of fuel to maintain a constant range of 3,300 nautical miles. (In other words, starting from a 100,000 pound payload, we add 20,000 more pounds to get the marginal difference for the 120,000 pound maximum payload. The chart shows that the extra 20,000 pound payload adds 25,000 pounds to the gross weight, therefore an extra 5,000 pounds of fuel was required.)

So, if a passenger has a total weight of 200 pounds, including baggage, that would require 50 pounds of extra fuel. Roughly. Converting to cost will be left as an exercise for the reader.

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Oh, by the way, my calculation neglected to mention that it takes a little under 100,000 pounds of fuel to fly the plane with no payload. So each passenger is also reponsible for their share of that 100,000 pounds.

*Last edited by Bobster; Jul 10, 07 at 1:36 pm*

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http://www.boeing.com/commercial/air...sec3charts.pdf

The last 20,000 pounds of payload requires an extra 5,000 pounds of fuel to maintain a constant range of 3,300 nautical miles. (In other words, starting from a 100,000 pound payload, we add 20,000 more pounds to get the marginal difference for the 120,000 pound maximum payload. The chart shows that the extra 20,000 pound payload adds 25,000 pounds to the gross weight, therefore an extra 5,000 pounds of fuel was required.)

So, if a passenger has a total weight of 200 pounds, including baggage, that would require 50 pounds of extra fuel. Roughly. Converting to cost will be left as an exercise for the reader.

To get closer to my original question, It takes 1.3 gallons of fuel to transport 100 pounds 1,000 miles. By my calculation, it takes 1.664 ounces, more or less, to transport 1 pound of weight 1,000 miles. If we calculate the cost of jet fuel at $2.50 per gallon, then the cost to carry one pound 1,000 miles is 4.16 cents, at least on a 777.

At least I think that's the answer. Someone check my math and logic. Thanks Bobster for coming up with the facts.

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I figure it's 0.25 pounds of fuel to carry 1 extra pound for the full 3300 nautical miles on a 777. Divide that by 6.7 (not 5) to get 0.037 gallons. At $3 per gallon, it would cost 11 cents per pound. So, if you want to penalize a passenger for being 10 pounds overweight, that's about a dollar.

Since the 777 isn't designed for 1000 mile flights, you'd have to lookup the graph for a more reasonable plane like the 737.

correction: Actually, it's OK to use the 777 for a 1000 statue mile flight. The problem is that it's hard read the graph that Boeing provides on their web site for that distance. It looks like a couple thousand pounds of extra fuel for the last 20,000 pounds of payload. Even though the 777 is less efficient at the shorter distance, the cost of the extra fuel required is still less than it would be on the longer flight, or less than a dollar for being 10 pounds overweight.

Since the 777 isn't designed for 1000 mile flights, you'd have to lookup the graph for a more reasonable plane like the 737.

correction: Actually, it's OK to use the 777 for a 1000 statue mile flight. The problem is that it's hard read the graph that Boeing provides on their web site for that distance. It looks like a couple thousand pounds of extra fuel for the last 20,000 pounds of payload. Even though the 777 is less efficient at the shorter distance, the cost of the extra fuel required is still less than it would be on the longer flight, or less than a dollar for being 10 pounds overweight.

*Last edited by Bobster; Jul 10, 07 at 6:35 pm*

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But good to see some better numbers posted.

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It's 6.7 pounds per gallon.

70% off is close? It also included the weight of the airplane and cargo, not just the passenger's weight.

70% off is close? It also included the weight of the airplane and cargo, not just the passenger's weight.

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This looks like a problem that can be solved using calculus.

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It's not that bad...

Roughly 1.75 gallons per mile for a B737NG at about 140,000 pounds total weight. So that's 0.0125 gallons per pound per 1000 miles.

Roughly 1.75 gallons per mile for a B737NG at about 140,000 pounds total weight. So that's 0.0125 gallons per pound per 1000 miles.

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For the 737-900 (no winglets) I get 0.0155 gallons per pound per 1,000 statute miles.

(Payload 48,000 pounds, fuel 5,000 pounds extra compared to zero payload.)

Less than a nickel a pound.

(Payload 48,000 pounds, fuel 5,000 pounds extra compared to zero payload.)

Less than a nickel a pound.

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**15**
Strangely a friend of mind sent me an email about this topc recently that I found interesting, if not a bit lacking in all the details. It comes from an AA employee, so that should (theoretically) lend some credibility to it, but judge for yourself...

Quote:

I did a little research per our discussion yesterday regarding the fuel cost of flying to LAX (one way). Note that the cost will vary from aircraft type to type, so I have included the different equipment that AA flies (though you might be hard pressed to get on a 767-200 from DFW to LAX (you could from JFK or Boston) or an Airbus A300 to fly to LAX period). The assumptions are as follows:

*All flights are 185 minutes (this is pretty much true per Sabre, our reservations software). Note that some equipment are much faster, but the scheduled (block) times are the same. (777 is about 555MPH, and MD80 is about 490 MPH).

*The carried weight is 200 lbs (this would be a 170# person with a 30# carryon bag). Of course, you can scale up or down, but that is "typical".

*The data I used is to compute the benefit of taking off x#; and I assume sufficiently straight slope to apply in negative direction.

*Today, Jet fuel is $90.30 per barrel. At 30 gallons per BBL, that works out to $3.01/gallon.

(B=Boeing, A=Airbus, PAX = number of passengers, Max)

* (ex-TWA, Pratt&Whitney Engines)

** (AA, Rolls Royce Engines)

You'll note that it only costs $53.50 to fly you to LAX on a 777, whereas it costs nearly twice as much ($99) to fly you there on an MD80!!! I think my estimate to you was $75-80.

If a person went to the bathroom before boarding the flight, he or she might lose 4 oz (average). The 4 oz column is the savings of just one person going to the bathroom. If everyone went to the bathroom we could save up to $23 on that one flight (actually, it would be more if I added the crew). If everyone went to the bathroom before each flight, American would save $3.1 million annually, based upon 85% full planes. So, the next time you prepare to board a flight, ask yourself, "Can I go to the bathroom first?" :-)

*All flights are 185 minutes (this is pretty much true per Sabre, our reservations software). Note that some equipment are much faster, but the scheduled (block) times are the same. (777 is about 555MPH, and MD80 is about 490 MPH).

*The carried weight is 200 lbs (this would be a 170# person with a 30# carryon bag). Of course, you can scale up or down, but that is "typical".

*The data I used is to compute the benefit of taking off x#; and I assume sufficiently straight slope to apply in negative direction.

*Today, Jet fuel is $90.30 per barrel. At 30 gallons per BBL, that works out to $3.01/gallon.

(B=Boeing, A=Airbus, PAX = number of passengers, Max)

Code:

Equipment Gallons Cost 4oz PAX Everybody B777 17.76 $53.47 6.7 cents 245 $16.38 B767-300 19.88 $59.82 7.5 225 16.83 B767-200 20.74 $62.43 7.8 167 13.03 B757TW* 21.86 $65.80 8.2 188 15.46 B757** 21.94 $66.03 8.3 188 15.52 A300 22.78 $68.56 8.6 268 22.97 B737-800 23.13 $69.61 8.7 148 12.88 MD80 32.84 $98.85 12.4 140 17.30

** (AA, Rolls Royce Engines)

You'll note that it only costs $53.50 to fly you to LAX on a 777, whereas it costs nearly twice as much ($99) to fly you there on an MD80!!! I think my estimate to you was $75-80.

If a person went to the bathroom before boarding the flight, he or she might lose 4 oz (average). The 4 oz column is the savings of just one person going to the bathroom. If everyone went to the bathroom we could save up to $23 on that one flight (actually, it would be more if I added the crew). If everyone went to the bathroom before each flight, American would save $3.1 million annually, based upon 85% full planes. So, the next time you prepare to board a flight, ask yourself, "Can I go to the bathroom first?" :-)

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