Reduce your carbon footprint when you fly

Steps to reduced your impact when flying

Do not fly

You can look if it is possible to find alternative means of transportation, such as train or coach.

Travel light

Every item on a plane makes it heavier. Usually the heavier the plane, the more fuel is needed.

Fly Direct

Planes use most fuel, when taking off and landing. If you fly direct to where your are going, your carbon footprint will be smaller than going via another airport.

Sit in the cheap seats

Reports have shown, that if you are flying in business or first class, your emissions are at least 3 times more than flying in economy. Here the seats are smaller and it means that more people can be flown about for the same amount of fuel.

Choose your airline carefully

Some airlines produce more carbon emissions than others, worth baring in mind when you book your flight. Flying planes that are close to 100% full, is an important factor.

Offset your flight

There are dozens of online calculators which can help you balance out your share of emissions from your flight, by investing in environmental projects around the world

What can governments do?

Add a carbon tax on business and first class flights

Add a carbon tax on empty seats.

Compensate airlines with the lowest carbon emission rates.

Stop frequent flyer schemes.

Invest in and subsidise alternative forms of transport, such as train and coach.

Increase the tax on cars, relative to the size of the engine, the weight of the car, and the carbon emmissions.

Carbon cost of flying

An economy-class return flight from London to New York emits an estimated 0.67 tonnes of CO2 per passenger. The cost to offset the CO2 emissions is around 15€. Howerver, to also offset the secondary effects from high altitude, non-CO2 emissions, you would need to double the offset cost.

What about travelling by boat?

Ferry transport produces 18g of CO2 per passenger kilometre for a foot passenger, which is less than a coach, or 128g for a driver and car, which is more like a long-haul flight.

The cruise industry has long been under pressure to reduce environmental impacts ranging from waste disposal to air pollution, as well as high emissions - not only from travel but also from powering all the on-board facilities.

Cruising falls in similar territory to flying in terms of emissions.