How to travel sustainably: Part 1

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, environmental disasters have also unfortunately had a major presence on the global stage. We saw raging wildfires in Australia and Brazil, historic oil spills in Russia, and many other devastating disasters just this past year. Undoubtedly, the transportation industry is a culprit of causing a significant amount of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

While the majority of pollution in the transportation industry comes from road transport, the aviation industry is responsible for roughly 2% of global man-made carbon emissions according to the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). Air travel is an integral part of our lives in the twenty-first century — it’s a means of seeing the amazing wonders of the world, connecting with other cultures, and gaining new perspectives, but we must recognize the privilege and commit to doing right by the planet by traveling more sustainably. Continue reading for ways to fly responsibly when you return to air travel.

How to fly responsibly

  1. Book direct, non-stop flights when possible. When considering all phases of air travel, take-off uses up to 25% of the total fuel supply. It is more ecologically efficient to take-off once, so next time you book, filter for no layovers.
  2. Opt for more sustainable airlines. Do some research on how various airlines are doing their part. For example, KLM relies on biofuels for certain routes such as Amsterdam — Los Angeles. Alternative Airlines reports that Alaska Airlines has taken steps to reduce waste per passenger by going straw-less and composting grounds from coffee served in-flight.
  3. Pay attention to the aircraft. Research from the International Council on Clean Transportation shows that smaller aircrafts with twinjets are often more fuel-efficient than their larger, four-engine counterparts. Big players in the aviation industry have made strides in producing more efficient planes such as the Airbus 350 XWB and the Boeing 737 Dreamliner.
  4. Choose economy. Your seat choice not only saves you money compared to booking business or first-class, but it can save the environment. Economy seating takes up less space, and is therefore the more efficient option.
  5. Compare CO2 emissions between flights. When searching for flights in App in the Air, expand flight details to see the CO2 amount that each flight option emits. It will not only tell you the tons, but also how it compares to other flights.
  6. Spare a few dollars. When booking a flight in the app, you’ll have the option to offset the carbon impact by donating to various environmental funds. Oftentimes, this small action only costs a few extra dollars. For example, a direct flight from NYC to LAX only takes $2 offset! As an added bonus, App in the Air not only offers you the option to offset your carbon emissions; we take action on your behalf through our pledge to plant one tree for every flight booked.

As frequent fliers, making eco-conscious decisions at each step of the travel journey, paired with holding the travel industry accountable for partaking in sustainable practices, we can do right by the planet and preserve the earth we love to travel!

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