Air travel is indisputably damaging the environment. The New York Times reports that one round trip from California to New York generates around 20 percent of the greenhouse gas your car will emit during a year. Additionally, the aviation industry is responsible for 11 percent of all U.S. transportation-related emissions.
Working in the meeting and event planning industry demands a lot of travel. And when your destination is far away, you’re left with few transportation options. The good news is that you can be more responsible about air travel and actually make an impact. Here are a few eco-friendly tips to minimize your carbon footprint!
1. Fly Less
Whenever possible try to find an alternative means of transportation. Reserve flights for long-distance trips when this is the more efficient option. Public transportation and ride sharing are ideal for ground travel. Still, driving alone is more eco-friendly than flying a short distance.
2. Book Nonstop
Frequent flyers are probably happy to hear this: When a journey requires more than one flight, it uses extra fuel, even this involves merely a stop on the way to the final destination.
3. Pack Light
The lighter the load, the less fuel consumption and the less ice needed for overnight international flights. Plus, when luggage isn’t heavy, lighter carbon brakes are able to replace high-capacity steel brakes.
4. Select a Newer Plane
Typically, a newer aircraft is more fuel-efficient. Often, they are provided by younger airlines, such as Virgin America. However some airlines, such as American Airlines, are also rolling out new aircraft models. Just make sure you look into the specific aircraft listed when purchasing a ticket.
5. Choose the Fuller Flight
It might be tempting to opt for a plane with fewer people. But the more eco-friendly choice is one where the majority of seats are filled. Full capacity means prime efficiency. If everyone began booking this way, flights could easily be reduced.
6. Fly in Coach
Those who favor the extra comfort provided by business class or first class should evaluate their environmental impact. According to a World Bank study, the emission level attributed to flying in business class is around three times that of flying in coach. Meanwhile, the number is potentially nine times higher for first class. Chairs in business class and first class are also larger, meaning less people can fit on the plane. Therefore, more fuel is wasted.
7. Lower Shades, Open Vents
When flight attendants instruct you to lower shades and open vents, it’s not just for your well-being. This precaution actually helps conserve energy.
“When all passengers help out and do this, the aircraft can be 10 degrees cooler. Reducing the cooling load saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions,” said Delta Air Lines representative Ashton Morrow to Travel & Leisure.
8. Measure, Off-Set and Compare Emissions
Many airline websites, such as Delta and United, allow travelers to calculate the carbon footprint of their trip. The measurement can be converted into a dollar value, encouraging donations to carbon reduction projects. Additionally, a lot of public information ranks airlines and reveals the efficiency of their systems.
Offering your loyalty to these airlines has a great potential to influence the others to follow suit. For those who want to get down to specifics, the Google software Matrix measures and compares carbon emissions for more eco-friendly awareness.