I was talking with a friend for a brief minute yesterday, explaining how many of my flights have been delayed or canceled in the last week – and he said – “Oh, well thats climate change!” And thats when it hit me – I do so much to reduce my single use plastics, I recycle every last thing I can – BUT I fly, more than the average person. And guess what Google told me? Aviation travel accounts for up to 3.5% of carbon emissions world wide – well POOEY!! I LOVE to fly. I love to see the world and broaden my horizons.
I continued to research via my handy dandy Google search bar and discovered Im not the only person feeling this way and in fact the top 4 results were all written in the last 7 months – and that is almost proving my “Im not alone” theory. What I also thought about is “What the heck is the airline industry doing about this?” I can tell you for sure – not a whole lot!
If you look at their day to day activities – much of what they use on planes is single use plastic – the cups, the silverware, the little bags all that stuff is in, the plastic from the blankets, the plastic coated documents in the seat back, etc. Sadly, that isnt all. They also (maybe not Southwest?) reward you for taking the LONG way when it comes to getting status. Thats right, instead of trying to get people from point A to point B without waste – you are rewarded for the amount of segments you take and the amount of miles you fly. (And then most of the airlines now require you to spend a certain amount of money as well)
What if they changed something? What if they rewarded you for taking direct flights? And penalized you for taking a layover. I am often willing to take a layover because it means I get more segments and more miles because of the random place I have to stop. If American said “If you fly direct you will get a 25% bonus,” that to me would be worth the extra dollars it cost me to go direct. I mean, lets be real, if I hated that I could always book one way tickets to get around that – but it would cost me a WHOLE LOT more money. Someone could do some statistical analysis and find out that either “status” grabbers are booking layovers to get or keep status OR that it has no effect at all; but my guess is that the first would ring true. Many of my friends go for mileage runs, that now (depending on who they are trying to get status with) includes segment runs as well.
While the airlines are doing that – you would think that they could stop being so damn cheap with their baggage fees and fee based food systems and switch completely to canned only drinks (Southwest uses canned water). Removing the plastic cups from circulation would provide so much less waste. And “you can recycle plastic cups” is NOT the same as recycling aluminum. Aluminum can be made into cans a million times – plastic not so much. It doesnt break down and it doesnt recycle the same way that metals do.
So this little no named traveler is challenging the airlines to come up with something better. Do better. Be better. Challenge us to do better. We can do better!!