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Originally published July 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 21, 2008 at 8:51 AM

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Tell the airlines how to lighten up — and save fuel

Here's your chance to tell the airlines how to save fuel with a whimsical, cynical or (yes) practical tip.

Airlines are desperately seeking to save money as fuel costs soar. They're raising prices, cutting flights and charging for nearly everything.

However, US Airways has one of the more unusual strategies: To save on fuel, it's attempting to lighten its load. The airline soon will remove the in-flight entertainment system on about 200 planes, meaning no more movies on most domestic flights. Dumping the 500-pound systems will save about $10 million a year in fuel and other costs, the airline said.

Always helpful, the Seattle Times staff would like to offer some other suggestions on how airlines could trim the weight of their planes, er, and passengers.

Kristin Jackson, Seattle Times travel staff

• Ban all food and drink on the plane. It's peanuts, anyway.

• Dump the co-pilot on each flight. God is our co-pilot.

• No more checked luggage; it all goes by truck.

• Get rid of all the seat backs. Instead, use ottomans with seat belts.

• Remove the beverage/food carts and have flight attendants throw items at the passengers. Without the seat backs (see above), this will be a breeze.

• Take out the seats completely and turn plane cabins into standing-room-only mosh pits.

• Passengers pay by the pound of their own weight. (Now that would get Americans to slim down.)

• No shirt, no shoes gets passengers a discount. Extra-special deals for those who fly naked.

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• All bladders must be empty; go-before-you-go will be mandatory at special jetway restrooms.

• Remove the waste-holding tanks on the plane and convert the toilets into sky-high outhouses.

• Headphones will be provided; however, for one ear only — your choice of ear.

• Bald people get priority when a flight is overbooked. Big-hair people are the last to get a seat.

• Want to read? No hardbacks permitted; paperbacks must be less than 100 pages. • No sugar or cream with coffee, no ice, no stir sticks, no napkins. Wipe your mouths on your sleeves. • Only three pets allowed per flight. Fights between animals will determine which gets on board.

• Remove all carpeting, pillow and blankets. Throw out the seat-back trays; there's nothing worth eating, anyway, and a laptop is, after all, designed for your lap.

• Only small talk on the plane. No "heavy" conversations.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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