The world appears to be entering a new era of greener travel methods, both personal and commercial. In recent years, we’ve seen some inspiring green travel developments take off – literally – as the air travel industry moves towards a more environmentally conscious approach. Costa Rica is the proud home of Nature Air, the world’s first certified carbon neutral airline, giving passengers the opportunity to enjoy their travels around popular Central American holiday destinations in a green and responsible manner. Over in the UK, travel giant Thomson’s has announced the imminent launch of Britain’s first biofuel-powered commercial flight – a 232 passenger Boeing 747 travelling on green fuel made of cooking oil and paraffin!
With so many emerging green travel options across the pond, we could see the arrival of biofuel-powered planes and green airlines and eco air freight companies here in South Africa sooner than you might expect. In the meantime however, it’s up to each of us to ensure that we keep our travel habits as green as possible. Below are 5 top tips for green air travel:
1. A plane uses the most fuel during take-off and landing, which means longer flights are more fuel efficient. Flights that include stopovers will of course produce double the emissions, so for greener air travel, choose a long haul carrier.
2. Bigger planes are on average more efficient than smaller aircraft, and the more passengers a plane accommodates at a time, the smaller the carbon footprint for each traveller. For a greener flight, choose an airline that offers larger planes with a high number of economy class seats.
3. Use electronic tickets instead of printed tickets to minimise paper waste.
4. Avoid over-packing; passenger luggage adds up and more fuel is required to move the plane’s weight, so if you want to go green, pack carefully and travel light when you can. A lower passenger luggage volume also means the plane can carry more freight cargo, making the flight more efficient.
5. Instead of travelling by cab, choose a reliable public transport option to get you to and from the airport – or organise a carpool if you’re planning to travel in a larger group.
These green travel tips will help you keep the environmental impact of your flights to a minimum; it’s encouraging to see so many large sea freight and shipping companies the world over exploring greener options, and if every individual follows suit with eco-friendly habits, we could soon be ushering in an era of truly green travel on an international level!