Thursday, November 30, 2006

The not-so-friendly skies

If you thought flying on commercial airlines was bad here in the US, take a gander at what they're doing in China:
A Chinese airline has calculated that it takes a liter of fuel to flush the toilet at 30,000 feet and is urging passengers to go to the bathroom before they board.

As Chinese airlines come under increasing pressure to cut fuel expenditures, China Southern's latest strategy is to encourage passengers "to spend their pennies before boarding the aircraft," Xinhua news agency reported Thursday.
I'm a little bit confused about that "spend their pennies" line. Is that because Chinese airports tend to have pay toilets, or is that a Chinese euphamism for going to the bathroom? Either way, it sounds like the concept of customer service is somewhat alien to the Chinese.
"The energy used in one flush is enough for an economical car to run at least 10 kilometers," Captain Liu Zhiyuan, who flies regularly between Hangzhou and Beijing, was quoted as saying.

Citing a survey by the company's logistics department, Liu said carrying one kilogram of items such as blankets and pillows by air for one hour uses 0.2 kg of fuel.

"This means the blankets and pillows on board the aircraft eat up 60 tonnes of fuel every day. If each seat is loaded with three 450-gram magazines, another 60 tonnes will be consumed," Liu explained.
You know what would cut down on weight? Getting rid of all those passengers. Just think of all the fuel they could save if they flew around in empty planes.

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