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If have an airbus A380, and I remove 500 of the seats entirely from the airplane (Along with their overhead compartments), and the remaining 300 or so seats I fill up normally with people, is the MPG of Kerosene used by the plane substantially different?

Basically, assuming airlines could do it quickly (which right now they can't) would removing seats and overhead compartments from the plane be a substantial way to reduce costs on empty planes?

The limit of this question is also something I'm curious about. If I have an Airbus A380 completely stripped of seats and overhead compartments, how much better is its MPG compared to a normal one filled with people and baggage?

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    $\begingroup$ By the time you pay for the labor and certification costs you are way negative. And you will probably never break even because you can't haul as many passengers, so what would be the point? $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2021 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ how much does certification cost? what is certification? Is it like an inspection that occurs before the plane is allowed to board passengers? $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2021 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ Are you expecting to have 500 people standing and holding their carry-on luggage for the entire flight instead of sitting in their seats, or are you expecting to limit the flight to only 300 pax? 500 pax standing will never get certified (approved by regulatory agencies) because 500 loose projectiles would get hurt on take-off, landing, or during heavy turbulence. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 7, 2021 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ Though removing the rear seat from my Piper Cherokee does make it a lot easier to carry my mountain bike :-) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented May 7, 2021 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ @frogeyedpeas, I don't know what certification would cost, but it would be a one time deal to approve a specific configuration that you could then repeat. (i.e. all cargo vs all passengers, or some hybrid in between...) Think of it this way, do you remove the passenger seat from your car when you are driving by yourself to save gas? And then reinstall it if you have a passenger? If not, why not? Because it would save some gas... $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2021 at 17:48

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The amount of time and manpower required to remove empty seats before a flight, transport them to the plane's next destination (presumably on another aircraft), then reinstall necessary seats for the next flight with 450 passengers (instead of this flight's 300 pax) would far exceed any potential cost savings of removing them for the flight. (Oh, don't forget, the remaining 350 seats would have to follow the plane to its 3rd destination because that flight is booked full.)

The biggest issue would be getting the seats themselves moved around so they could be reinstalled at the next destination. Not every aircraft uses the same seats, the mix of seats (cattle class, business class, first class) will be different on different versions of the same model of aircraft, even those owned by the same airline, so having a stock of seats at each airport that could be installed when the outgoing pax count is higher than the incoming pax count would be impractical.

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    $\begingroup$ It raises the intriguing and yet impractical idea of each passenger bringing their own seat. $\endgroup$
    – Frog
    Commented May 8, 2021 at 5:11
  • $\begingroup$ Certain operators would love that – and we all know which one I'm thinking of ;) $\endgroup$
    – user12873
    Commented May 8, 2021 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ Note that bush pilots in the likes of Cessna 208, Cessna 206 or Quest Kodiak often do add and remove seats as needed for the day. They don't add them for every flight, just in the install as many as the maximum passengers they are going to have on that round-trip, so the extra seats stay on the base. The free space can then be utilized for cargo. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ The 208 seats 9, the 206 seats 6, and the Kodiak a whopping 10 @JanHudec. Removing all the seats, even working alone probably takes less than 30 minutes. Additionally, all 3 are probably making primarily round trips each day, and not flying Houston to Sydney. Also, carrying cargo in the space remaining doesn't lead to the fuel savings the OP was asking about. Not arguing that you're wrong, just pointing out the differences. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 12:15
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    $\begingroup$ @FreeMan, indeed. I am not saying it's practical under the premises of the question—you are completely correct that it isn't. Just adding that situations, different from the question, where seats are added and removed as needed for the day do exist. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 16:23

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