After many years I had an opportunity [!] to travel by local flights in the US.
in the recent years, it has been more of landing directly at one of the international airports and spending my time near that location, or travel by surface.
the pressures that airlines are under was very evident.
the no free baggage allowance - with charges of $15-$25 going upto $100 for checked in baggages was a surprise - having been used the 2 PCs free allowance.
talking to some others, i came across some of the innovative cost cutting measures that airlines seem to have adopted.
one canadian airline - that flew cross country, all over land - except for a brief stretch over lake michigan - apparently decided to do away with the flotation devices, as they were not flying over water. the saved weight, in turn, helped them improve the fuel efficiency [or maybe let them carry more baggage / cargo, to get more revenue].
while going from san jose to dallas, with a stopover in phoenix - for about 20 minutes, we were asked to keep the shutters down, to reduce the heating inside the cabin - that would help reduce the air conditioning load! i think that is a good idea anyway - of going, thinking green!
i was also told of canceled flights due to low occupancy. there was a time - when the southwest airlines model of keeping their aircraft as much as possible on the air, with very quick turnaround times on the ground - meant additional revenue!
back home, on my favourite carrier - jet airways, i noticed something strange on my way to delhi. the meal did not include a salad! there used to be some lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber - and an optional lemon slice or a chilli. the doubt was confirmed on my return flight - when, again, the salad was missing.
was it weight cutting? or cost cutting? or an attempt to be more conscious of waste? like the third olive.. the title of this post.
one americal airline had analyzed the consumption patterns of their passengers. they found that they normally served their drinks with three olives. and invariably, the third olive was not consumed. so, they figured that by reducing the number of olives served to two, they would save a significant number of olives - just multiply the # drinks per flight into the number of flights per year - and consequently, cost!
in times of trouble - that we seem to be in now, particularly after the wall street crashes, any creatuive way to reduce waste is most welcome.