I came across a curious fact in an article about aircraft weights in this month’s British Airways in-flight magazine …

“… and unplanned weight has its own fuel cost implication. Were you to – and please don’t – secrete a tea bag on board a B747, its weight alone over the course of a year would burn a litre of fuel.”

Having posted this on one or two social media sites, the conversations certainly started to flow about what gets flown about on commercial flights ‘just in case.’

One of my Capgemini colleagues went straight for their calculator and computed the following…

“if a teabag weighs 2 grams and the magazine the article was in 250 grams, then over the year 125 litres of fuel are needed.  For a 747 with 345 passengers all with a magazine that’s 43,125 litres or 11,392 US gallons currently costing USD 34,000! …”

Multiplied up across all the airliners currently flying, that’s a staggering amount of paper being flown millions of miles every day, burning jet fuel and creating CO2.

My colleague continued with the following practical suggestion…

“Time to go electronic, (the magazine is already in electronic format on the website) incorporate e-readers into the seat back screens and then they can not only offer a magazine but newspapers and books etc. Cut down further on the weight of reading material. A bit simplistic perhaps but food for thought …”

It’s certainly made me think, not least about the number of things I pack in my own suitcase ‘just in case!’

3rd September 2012