5 Ways to Reduce Your In-Flight Guilt

Yes, flying gives you a big carbon footprint, but it doesn’t have to crush the Earth.

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Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash

1. Travel light

Beyond saving you the exquisite torture of waiting for your bag to be hurled forth onto the carousel of checked luggage, lightening up your load means a lighter plane. And lighter planes take less fuel. It’s as simple as that. Roll up your multi-purpose clothing and find a pair of shoes that will work for your whole trip, and enjoy.

2. Fly economy

Not to be crude, but the more butts an airplane can fit inside itself, the less fuel it has to use per buttload. I know what you’re thinking: the first-class compartment is going with the rest of the plane anyway, so how does my wadding myself into a cramped seat help anything?

3. Choose your airline with the Earth in mind

I’m not going to name names here, but when it comes to fuel efficiency and sustainability, there are airlines and then there are airlines. A German organization, atmosfair, provides an index of the 200 largest airlines ranked according to their carbon efficiency. It’s worth considering the carbon cost of your trip: sometimes the cheapest ticket isn’t really cheap, you know what I mean?

4. Purchase offsets

Again, some airlines make it possible for you to purchase carbon offsets when you book your ticket, though you may have to do some digging and extra clicking. You can also check websites such as Carbonfund.org that allow you to calculate the carbon load of your trip and figure out how to mitigate it by making a targeted purchase or donation.

5. Don’t be that tourist

Bring along a reusable water bottle (filled, of course, after you’ve cleared security) and eschew the little plastic cups on board. Favor hotels that have wall-mounted shampoo and shower gel dispensers instead of those horrid teensy bottles that each hold about one morning’s worth of ablutions before becoming part of a gigantic floating island of plastic waste somewhere in our oceans. There are many things you can do to lighten your impact once you get where you’re going. So do them.

Written by

Writer & educator. The Startup, Writing Cooperative, P.S. I Love You, The Ascent, more. Award-winning short fiction. Visit me at www.JanMFlynn.net.

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