Flights are extremely energy-intensive requiring on average a gallon of fuel per second while in the air. Commercial flights are responsible for anywhere between 2% to 4% of the greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere. Airlines receive major fuel subsidies that don’t incentivize or encourage sustainability in the air travel industry. So, while flying has allowed for incredible cultural and societal advances, it’s important to recognize the environmental impacts flying has and take steps to support a more sustainable air travel industry.
As the holiday season approaches and increased travel is inevitable, here are some green tips when booking flights:
- Research and choose flights with airlines that are taking efforts to mitigate their environmental impact.
- Shorten your itinerary and take nonstop flights! Multiple flights and layovers only increase your air travel and thus, your air travel emissions.
- Fly during the day! The plane itself and the clouds it creates help reflect solar heat during the day.
- When possible, take ground transportation and limit your air travel entirely.
- Purchase carbon offsets yourself and donate to organizations that work to offset carbon emissions.
- Take political action! Vote for elected officials that will hold airlines responsible for their carbon emissions and get involved with organizations that are calling for environmental action.
While these green air travel tips are important, they can also be an extra cost to unregulated flight prices due to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. If you’re financially able to take on these extra costs to reduce your air travel carbon footprint, it’s especially important that you do.
By Addison Marr