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United cuts fuel costs by almost $300K a year, thanks to a little light reading

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When planning your travel, don't wing it! Check out the airlines that ranked the highest on WalletHub's 2017 report of the best airlines in the industry.
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When planning your travel, don't wing it! Check out the airlines that ranked the highest on WalletHub's 2017 report of the best airlines in the industry.

Taking the adage “a penny saved is a penny earned” to great extremes, United Airlines recently started using lighter paper to print Hemisphere, its inflight magazine, which shaves 1 ounce off each copy.

Multiply that 1 ounce by the hundreds of seats on a Boeing 737. Then multiply that by more than 1.5 million flights per year, and the result is enough weight to save the company 170,000 gallons of fuel (about $290,000 worth) annually, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

The move is the airline’s latest as it attempts to cut costs. In 2017, United stopped selling duty-free items like liquor and candy during flights, reducing weight and saving $2.3 million yearly in fuel expenses, L.A. Times reported.

United has announced a number of other changes over the past couple of months. The company has unveiled a number of new flights – including one between San Francisco International and Fa’a’ā International in Tahiti, planned to start up this October.

The airline also plans to introduce “Premium Plus” economy cabins sometime this year, according to a company memo leaked this week, as reported by Forbes, Bloomberg and others. Features are expected to include spacious seats with fine china dining sets, free alcohol, blankets, pillows and other amenities, according to the memo. Few official details are available, and United has yet to officially announce the new class.

On the other hand, Flight Global reports that United will increase the economy cabin’s seat count from 213 to 234 on its Boeing 757-300 aircraft in 2018. This will be possible by retrofitting the cabin with slimline seats – which a 2016 Business Insider piece called “horrible” and a 2015 SmarterTravel article called “torture.”

United underwent a public relations disaster last April when video of a passenger being forcibly removed from an overbooked flight hit the internet and quickly went viral.

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