American Airlines scraps paper manuals for tablets to cut fuel costs

Wed Sep 10, 2014 8:05pm EDT
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By Jeffrey Dastin

(Reuters) - American Airlines has won regulatory approval to swap flight attendants' paper manuals for lighter Samsung tablets in a change that will save nearly $1 million a year, the company said on Wednesday.

The move, which does not yet affect attendants at American Airlines Group Inc's (AAL.O: Quote) subsidiary US Airways, comes little more than a year after American's cockpit went paperless, and is one of many strategies that airlines have pursued to reduce weight and fuel costs.

Delta Air Lines (DAL.N: Quote) and United Airlines (UAL.N: Quote) have also distributed smart devices to their pilots, and Delta plans to roll out an e-manual for flight attendants starting in October.

American said its attendants already have the tablets, and those at US Airways will receive them after the combined company receives a single operating certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. The timing of that is uncertain.

"Conserving fuel is important to an airline because it is a huge cost," said American Airlines spokesperson Andrea Huguely.

American stock rose 1.63 percent Wednesday to close at $38.58.

American and Delta see smart devices as a boon to cabin service, allowing attendants to see where premium customers are seated and direct more attention to them, the spokespeople said. Tablets also will simplify in-flight food and beverage sales.

Delta is "arming our flight attendants to help deliver more personalized customer assistance," said Kate Modolo, a Delta spokesperson.   Continued...

An American Airlines airplane takes off from Heathrow airport in London July 3, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor