LOS ANGELES - Many people take for granted how much baggage they bring onto a flight, and we're not talking about emotional baggage.
The equation is simple: The heavier the plane, the more environmentally unfriendly the trip is. A British tech start-up thinks it has a solution: weighing customers to more accurately calculate fuel costs.
Fuel Matrix Limited is a tech company that wants to provide airlines with a discreet system of weighing passengers before flights in hopes of reducing fuel costs and CO2 emissions.
"Operational Flight Plans use estimates for the weight of passengers, crew and hand-baggage. Our patented technology enables accurate and confidential weight measurement," the company says.
Roy Fuscone, Chairman & CEO of Fuel Matrix Limited, says that knowing the accurate weight of the cabin load, which includes passenger weight, further enhances the ability to plan fuel load in the first place.
"The capture of passenger weights is not complicated," Fuscone says. "A simple weighing device added to the current equipment will capture the weight and the software will register and transmit it in relation to a flight but not necessarily identified to a particular passenger."
On the company's website they state, "Fuel Matrix Limited was founded to bring to market a software-based system to provide airlines with a tool for improving fuel uplift decisions, and thereby reducing both fuel costs and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions."
Airline operational costs rise with every item you bring onboard. Whether it's your iPad, your giant suitcase, or you, the heavier the plane is, the more fuel it burns.
"In addition it will help airports to restrict the expansion of their carbon footprints as they expand to accommodate the huge growth in demand from airlines and passengers," says Fuscone.
Currently, airlines use an estimated weight based on passenger gender: 93 kilograms (about 205 pounds) for men and 75 kilograms (about 165 pounds) for women, according to The Independent. The total weight of the luggage plus the estimated weight base of the passengers is added up to figure out how much fuel the plane needs for its journey.
Everyone is a different size and because of this, weight estimates are generally higher than actual passenger weight, which leads to the plane carrying more fuel than it actually needs. The heavier the planes, the less efficient they are.
"Operational Flight Plans use estimates for the weight of passengers, crew and hand-baggage. Our patented technology enables accurate and confidential weight measurement," Fuel Matrix Limited said in a press release.
The company's website states that benefits from this system include statistically robust information feedback based on airlines' data, significant reduction of CO2 emissions, significant fuel savings, and reduced mechanical stress on aircraft.
If you're worried about this data being made public, Fuscone says that the company plans to enable the passenger to retain direct control of their own data so that they can delete it once it has been "employed in the interests of fuel efficiency."