How to fly green

The hardest thing about travel to reconcile with an eco-friendly ethic is the flying. A cross-country flight emits as much C02 into the atmosphere as a car does in a year and flying is a major contributor to most traveler’s carbon footprint.

The easiest way to reduce your impact is to make the tough choice not to get a private jet and commit to flying commercially on every trip. If you’ve already chosen to give up the Leer-jet, or at least leave it in the garage most of the time, pat yourself on the back.

What’s that? You want to do more? Easy there, John Muir, don’t go overboard and burn out.

As a matter of fact, there are a few things you can do in addition to foregoing your private jet.

1. Fly direct-
More fuel is consumed during takeoffs and landings than during any part of the flight. Eliminating as many takeoffs as possible lowers fuel consumption.

2. Fly on the newest jets- Next generation jets from Boeing and Airstream are boasting as much as 30% better fuel economy. New engines are more efficient, but it’s mostly advances in aerodynamics that allow these airliners to use less gas.

3. Buy carbon offsets- Virgin Atlantic and First Choice, both British airlines, offer you the chance to offset the carbon emitted on your flight at the time of purchase.

4. Arrive on time-
Despite what they say, airlines do stall a little bit for travelers that bought tickets but haven’t boarded yet. Delayed flights clog runways for take-offs and a large amount of fuel is consumed taxiing to the take off. Arriving on time is a small step, but if all airlines ran on time, tons of C02 could be kept out of the air.

5. Fly less- Vacation locally, or combine trips and cross off several places from your “to-see” list at once. More than almost anything else, taking fewer flights will reduce the carbon spewed into the air as a result of your travel.

6. Prepare at home- Turn off home appliances, turn the thermostat down to zero, shut off your computer. The wasted energy in your house while you’re gone counts as part of the overall impact of your trip. Unplugging everything helps reduce the impact.