Airlines saving money not equal to cheaper tickets

Courtesy: KNOE 8 News
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HOUSTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Long before this boeing 787 left the gate, a team at United Airlines was focused on making it and their entire 750 plane fleet as light as possible.

Every little bit counts even on a plane that weighs more than 250,000 pounds.

"Anytime we can reduce even an ounce of weight, that means we burn less fuel to fly to that destination," says an official.

Reporter: "Even an ounce matters?"

"Even an ounce, because if you are multiplying that across the thousands of seats and the thousands of flights we have, that ounce adds up and multiples very quickly," says an official.

United rethought everything about its aircraft from what's stocked in the galley to re-designing bathrooms. Some got smaller, to new lighter seats, and many without heavy video monitors.

Reporter: "This cart is kinda heavy. this one is noticeably lighter."

These new beverage carts weigh 27 pounds, about half the weight of the old 50 pound carts.

These new cargo containers are about 80 pounds lighter which will save two million gallons of fuel a year...and stopping duty free sales saved united another 1.4 million gallons. That's a combined savings of about 7 million dollars.

"We've improved our efficiency over 30%," says Aaron Nash.

Other airlines are also pinching pounds.

Southwest is rolling out slimline seats in it's new 737-max fleet, they're lighter and take up less space.

The low fare carrier saved 148-thousand gallons of fuel by changing how it stocks the galleys and dropping glass bottles for cans.

Giving pilot tablets instead of paper manuals saves 80 pounds a flight., that doesn't sound like much but it translates to nearly 576,000 gallons of fuel a year.

That's more than million dollars in savings annually.

Jetblue is saving weight with its new inflight entertainment system. It will feature lighter components that take up less storage space.

"Doing all of this doesn't make the planes any faster, and it certainly doesn't make them more comfortable. in fact, it's just about fuel efficiency and fuel savings. and that just gets back to the airline, there's no real passenger benefit," says Peter Greenberg.