Source: Travel & Leisure, 2018
How to Be More Sustainably Conscious when Flying
Is there really a sustainable way to fly?
How can we manage this earth-harming behaviour when it’s so intrinsic to our lives? There is no easy way to tackle questions like these, and many have, but the answer is never black and white.
With the pandemic, the mass grounding of flights saw CO2 aviation emissions reduced by up to 60%, according to the Global Carbon Project.
With life slowly returning to normal and the very urgent wanderlust we’re all experiencing, how can we satisfy that travel bug whilst doing what we can to limit our carbon footprint?
Below, we go through five simple ways in which you can adjust and reinvent your travel behaviour so we can help the fight against climate change.
Source: Van Life, 2019
1. Ask yourself why
The first rule of conscious and sustainable travel is to really scrutinise the reason behind your trip. Yes, we all need to get away and we need one at this point, but this is a meaningful habit to incorporate into your life for all your future trips.
As for that much-needed getaway, consider slow travel; do you really need to travel by plane? Could you choose a slower but less harmful route like a road trip or train journey? If you must take a flight, especially long-distance ones and are able to manage your time to do so, make the trip worthwhile by spending an extended period of time somewhere.
2. Estimate your trips’ emissions
This is a must for conscious travel! Use the ICAO emissions calculator, which takes into account factors like journey length and fuel burn, to estimate your future trip and also to choose an airline that offers the option to offset via purchasing credible carbon credits created by environmental projects when you buy your tickets. This may not be a preventative measure, but it allows travelers to lighten their impact.
The trick to “effective” offsetting is to make sure your carbon credits are used in the most efficient way by being both high-quality and independently certified.
3. Prioritise using environmentally-conscious airlines
Look for airlines that have clear environmental goals which they have evidently attempted to follow and are reputable.
They may do this by minimising their carbon emissions, booking websites like Alternative Airlines, help you find the “greenest” airline for you to fly on.
Look for low-waste flights that are making moves to decrease plastic waste on-board their flights. Portuguese airline, Hi Fly, successfully flew the first plastic-free flight in 2019. Other airlines like Qantas, Qatar Airways and Air New Zealand have quickly followed suit by introducing these methods into their flights.
Lastly, pick airlines with modern, fuel-efficient planes such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing B787.
Most booking websites will show you what planes are used and if it is a fuel-efficient flight.
Souce: Que Bottle
4. BYO: Bring your own!
A great, green habit to start adopting throughout your life. According to the International Air Transport Association, airlines produced 5.2 tonnes of waste pre-COVID, and a part of this waste lies with the headphones that are used and thrown every flight for hygienic reasons. Invest in some of your own and it’ll make an impact in the long run.
We recommend the trusty Que Collapsible Bottle, ideal for travelling as it optimises space, as well as the Tic Travel Shower Bottle. Both items can be found at UNPLUG.
5. Pack light
We’ve all been guilty of overpacking and it really is easy to do when you’re excited for a trip.
The trick is to plan your bag and then stick to the essentials. Always stick to your weight limit or try to go below. The heavier the flight is, the less fuel is used and therefore, the less carbon emissions. If you’re not travelling far, travel with hand baggage-only. You’ll thank us later when you don’t have to lug around a hefty suitcase.
Obviously, the best way to travel sustainably is to not fly at all, but that isn’t always an option. Just remember that one flight is better than many, if possible, and try to integrate these behaviours into your life and you should be on the right track.