It’s almost Christmas, one of the most popular times of the year to travel.
Whether you are flying to Cancun to work on your tan or to visit distant family in Saskatchewan, your aircraft will emit heat, noise, and gases into the atmosphere along the way.
With increasing awareness of climate change and the environmental impact of aviation, there is a growing number of options to reduce your carbon footprint and plastic waste when flying.
Here are 10 ways you can reduce the environmental impact of your flights this holiday season.
Electronic Boarding Passes
Most airlines allow you to check-in online and use a mobile boarding pass. Avoid printing your boarding pass at home or at the airport.
Simple yet effective.
Select Vegan and Vegetarian In-Flight Meals
Consider selecting a vegan or vegetarian meal for your next in-flight meal. You are often able to request such meals when you book long flights. Shorter flights tend to offer limited vegetarian and vegan options that you can purchase on-board.
Typical flights use ample disposable items that are easily replaceable with reusable items. To avoid these single-use items and their plastic wrapping bring your own:
- Snacks à In your own reusable containers
- Reusable mug
- Cloth napkins
- Reusable cutlery
- Blanket & pillow
- Water bottle
The heavier the plane, the more fuel consumption required. When you pack like a minimalist you reduce the weight you have to carry, and you reduce carbon emissions.
Fly Economy Class
Flying economy class is good for your bank account and good for the planet. First-Class seats are not only bigger and heavier, they require more staff and on-board amenities than economy class seats.
Fly With Low-Cost Airlines
Low-cost budget airlines typically offer larger amounts of economy class seats and use aircraft space extremely efficiently. These airlines typically do not bundle fares, meaning that passengers have to pay extra for food, drinks, checked baggage. This results in less waste and weight on the plane.
Choose Eco-Friendly Airlines
Most of an airlines environmental impact is a direct result of their airplanes flights. However, they still have some control over their carbon emissions and waste. Conduct your own research before booking your flight to compare different airlines and what they are doing to become eco-friendlier. Select the airline that aligns the most with your values and environmental priorities as they are all approaching the matter very differently.
Offset Your Carbon
Carbon offsetting programs allow you to donate money to environmental charities and initiatives that work to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. These programs are offered by some airlines and can also be found through your own research.
This is an imperfect solution considering that there is no way to completely take back the damages from our emissions.
Choose Direct Flights
Direct flights save time, your sanity and emissions.
A large portion of a flight’s emissions come from the takeoff and landing. Direct flights allow you to minimize the amount of times you need to do this.
Avoid Air Transport
Flying can sometimes be cheaper and quicker than driving or taking the train, but it comes at an environmental cost. When it is not necessary that you fly, think twice about your mode of transportation and aim to fly less when you can.