For years, commercial airline pilots have carried flight bags with reams of paper - estimated at 45 pounds - on board. At 1.5 pounds, the iPad is saving an incredible amount of fuel, not to mention trees. United Airlines estimates the annual savings at 16 million sheets of paper and 326,000 gallons of fuel, not to mention much faster access to information. American Airlines says it will save 400,000 gallons per year. JetBlue is expanding a pilot program (pun intended) to provide all 2,500 of its pilots with iPads. Alaska Airlines is requiring its new pilots to go the paperless route - in fact, noting that lugging around and digging through heavy flight bags at times would lead to pilot injuries. American Airlines estimates that iPads will eliminate the need for 3,000 pages of paper per pilot.
Many airline passengers are waiting to see how the FAA's review of on-board passenger use of electronics will fare. Some suggest that many of the current restrictions are archaic, while others prefer to err on the side of caution. It's amazing to realize that just over a decade ago, the iPod was primarily a music player. Today, you might see anyone from infants to pilots using iPads on aircraft.