When you think of traveling “green,” you likely think of low-emission, electric cars, hiking and maybe even staying in some environmentally friendly hotels. There’s a good chance you don’t think about a major airline as being part of your green travel plan.
After all, the aviation industry actually accounts for 2-3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s face it, commercial passenger jets are big, they burn a LOT of fuel, and they’re never going to be as low-impact as your Prius. But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t airlines that are doing everything they can to go green.
Here’s a list of 5 airlines that are leading the way in going green with their passenger flights, in no particular order.
An older fleet still has its share of the burden on the environment, but EasyJet makes up for it by optimizing its costs and fuel consumption. It does this by way of a strict luggage policy, ensuring that the planes that take off are full and that the seat density on their aircrafts is optimized.
RyanAir’s fleet is made up of more modern aircraft with lower emissions, so they’re already off to a good start when it comes to going green. They also focus on filling their flights, and they’re not afraid to maximize the seat density either (this is definitely one of the more “cramped” options for travelers). They have pretty strict policies regarding luggage weight, so the overall flights are pretty light, further improving the emissions.
3. Cathay Pacific
This airline, based out of Hong Kong, has one of the newest fleets on the market, so their emissions are among the lowest in the entire aviation industry. They focus on seat density and they also participate in something called “freight share,” whereby up to 30% of its compartment is made up of annexed cargo. This practice of only sending up full aircraft makes it one of the leaders in green airlines.
4. United Airlines
One of the better known brands on the list, United has recently upgraded its fleet with more modern aircraft, making it more environmentally friendly. What makes United a real leader in green airlines is their research and support of finding alternative fuels for aircraft, like the biofuels they’ve been employing since 2015.
5. Continental Airlines
Continental offers some of the longest nonstop flights on the market, and their flights are usually very full. This, combined with some freight sharing, makes it one of the leaders among green airlines.
There you have it! Five airline options to consider when planning your next green vacation!