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American Airlines Saved Thousands Of Dollars A Year By Making The Tiniest Change To Its Meal Trays


Running an airline like American Airlines is a cutthroat business. The competition out there is high. Airlines try to offer the lowest price tickets to help sell more, but they still have to worry about the bottom line. If they sell tickets for too little money, it will be impossible to turn a profit. This is why airlines hire math geniuses and business experts to help them run the airline so that they can make money.


Airlines have plenty of costs that need to be recouped with their ticket sales. There are plenty of employees that need to be paid. Airlines must also pay for food and beverages. Of all the costs associated with running an airline, the most expensive is the cost of the fuel to fly the plane. Because this is such a considerable expense, many airlines are always trying to find ways to cut the cost of fuel. One of the best ways is to reduce the weight on the plane. Even reducing the weight by an ounce will help burn less fuel while flying.

The Good ‘Ole Days

Back in the ’70s, when times were more relaxed, and fuel was cheaper, airlines focused more on the comfort and satisfaction of their customers. The more an airline did to keep its customers happy, the more people would fly with them. Back then, airlines featured fancy lounges. When the plane was in the air, and it was safe to move around, customers could get a drink or two in the lounge. American Airlines was famous for its Wurlitzer organ in its piano bar. Back then, flying on a plane was meant to be just as entertaining as the person’s destination was expected to be. Airlines thought that if they created a party in the air that the customers would come.

As the cost of fuel increased, changes needed to be made. If airlines were the way that they were in the ’70, the cost of tickets would be astronomical. Increasing the price of a ticket would be the only way for airlines to stay in business today. The increased cost of fuel put an end to the party in the sky.

The In-Flight Magazine

Airlines had to find ways to reduce the weight on planes, and they had some creative people working for them. One of the ways that American Airlines reduced the weight on the flight was to make each in-flight magazine one-ounce lighter. This minor changed saved them $300,000 per year.

Cups and Bottles

Years ago, drinks on planes were served in fancy glasses to impress the customers. Also, the drinks that were poured came from glass bottles. When it came time to reduce costs and reduce the weight on planes, most airlines switched from glass to plastic. This saved the airline a ton of money.

Drink Carts and Cargo Container

The drink carts that the flight attendants once wheeled up and down the aisle of the plane were made of metal. These carts weighed up to 100 pounds. Since this was more weight than the airline officials wanted to carry, they switched from metal drink carts to plastic ones. They also made a drastic change with the cargo containers that are held under the plane. Like the drink carts, these were once made of metal. When airlines started trying to reduce weight, they switched to plastic as well.

Folding Trays

When you sit in your seat on a plane, you have a tray in front of you that folds down. It gives you a place to put your drink, your in-flight meal, and even to do some work. During the 80s, these trays were made of metal. When it came time to start saving money, the metal trays were switched out with plastic ones. They weigh less than the metal trays, and it saved the airlines thousands.

Olives In the Salad

American Airlines saved thousands of dollars a year by making the tiniest change to its meal trays and what they put on them. Not only did they switch out their metal trays for plastic ones, but they also came up with another genius idea regarding what they put on the trays. Flights that last longer than three hours serve meals. The flights that serve meals also serve a salad, complete with olives. By cutting the number of olives in each salad by one, they were able to save over $40,000 per year. Most people would never think of a simple thing like olives in a salad could ever save money, but this is why airlines hire the experts. By thinking out of the box, American Airlines was able to save money by making a change that most passengers would never even notice.

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