As Dieter Rams famously said: “Good design is as little design as possible.”

This morning we picked up a Fast Company article from June about UK consultancy MAP and their redesign of Virgin Atlantic’s meal trays.

The original intent of the project was to improve the dining experience for passengers but along the way, they also realised the existing trays were too big, and worked with MAP to come up with a slimmer version that would be easier to eat from and would also save weight.

As it says on the MAP website: “We reduced the tray size by a third, introduced a non-slip tray surface that keeps items in place and negates the need for a paper liner. We designed bespoke crockery and cutlery and a new drinking glass.”

Just by doing this, Virgin Atlantic will save 129kg per aircraft, which equates to millions of dollars in fuel each year.

This is a great example of how sometimes, the smallest design change can make a huge difference and undoubtedly Virgin will be on the look out for the next weight saving.

After all, losing even a single pound can save around 14,000 gallons of fuel in a year.


Image credit: Mark Harkin