7 tips to reduce the environmental impact of your next flight.

View of Manhatten from a plane window

Transatlantic friends and family will soon be reunited, after the US announced last week, that it was easing travel restrictions for international visitors, vaccinated against Covid-19. 

Following the announcement Virgin Atlantic reported a 600% surge in flight bookings to the US. 

Like many others I am delighted to see travel opening up and the industry start to recover. But, I’m also keen to know how I can minimise the environmental impact of my next trip. I put it to the team in last Friday’s meeting and they shared the following tips:

1.     Take a longer holiday (now that’s the kind of advice I like). Make that flight count, take your time to visit a destination, avoid the temptation to just dash and ‘tick-off’ the main sights.


2.     Newer planes are more energy efficient, so choose a plane which was built after 2010.

3.     Pack light. Take a little time to really consider the items you take with you, most of us are guilty of over-packing. Reducing the weight of your luggage by 15kg decreases your emissions by around 50–100kg on a four-and-a-half hour flightaccording to the UN’s Environment Programme.

4.     Avoid stopovers. It’s tempting to reduce the cost of your trip with a stopover, but, NASA estimates that 25% of aeroplane emissions occur during take-off and landing. Avoid doubling the take-offs & landings by flying direct.

5.     Choose Economy. The average carbon footprint of a business class seat is 3 times higher than an economy seat. 

6.     Use a train over a plane where possible, many internal flights can easily be substituted for a train ride.

7.     Offset your flight. A number of major airlines offer offsetting, which you can select at the time of purchase to negate the impact of your flight.

Many airlines are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact, but while we wait for the emissions-free aeroplanes of the future to take to the skies, there are things we can all do to reduce the impact of our flights.

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