With fuel prices now their biggest cost, airlines are aggressively enforcing new policies designed to reduce consumption.
In March, for example, an airline pilot told NASA he landed his regional jet with less fuel than required by FAA regulations.
"Looking back," he said, "I would have liked more gas yesterday." He also complained that his airline was "ranking" captains according to who landed with the least amount.
A month earlier, a Boeing 747 captain reported running low on fuel after meeting strong headwinds crossing the Atlantic en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport. He said he wanted to stop to add fuel but continued on to Kennedy after consulting his airline's operations manager, who told him there was adequate fuel aboard the jet.
When the plane arrived at Kennedy, the captain said it had so little fuel that had there been any delay in landing, "I would have had to declare a fuel emergency" - a term that tells air traffic controllers a plane needs immediate priority to land.
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/aug/09/bz-pilots-say-airlines-are-cutting-fuel-levels-dan/ -via Waiter Rant, where the author had a brush with a similar occurrence.
(image credit: Drewski2112)