Is my love for traveling increasing Global Warming?

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!!

Other articles:

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/1/11/18177118/airlines-climate-change-emissions-travel

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/jan/26/why-i-only-take-one-holiday-flight-a-year-climate-change

My heart is breaking, Notre Dame is on FIRE!

Notre Dame in Paris is on fire. From the looks of the feed the spire is in danger.

UPDATES WILL CONTINUE….

The greatest news that can be received after this terrible fire is that the Bell Tower has been saved and that much artwork was able to be rescued before the destructive fire reached them! Over two thirds of the roof has been destroyed. The cathedral was under a $6+ million dollar renovation – including the twelve apostle copper statues that once lined the roof – and it is believed the fire has started up in the “forest” of the wooden ceiling. The statues from the roof were removed last week – as part of this renovation.

Thankfully the firefighters were able to save the piece of the Holy Crown of Thorns, Saint Louis’ linen fabric and and the treasury of the Cathedral. These priceless pieces of art and history can be removed during the rebuilding period (because they will rebuild) and continue to share the history with generations to come.

23:28: According to Laurent Nunez, secretary to the interior minister, the two towers at the front of the cathedral are safe. At this point that also means the bells are safe. The firefighters are working tirelessly to save the artwork. From the news reports, it sounds as though the fire has been fought internally much of the time to protect as much of the original portions of the cathedral as possible. I am no expert on artwork, but I do know that smoke damage is difficult to clean up in normal circumstances so artwork hundreds of years old would be extremely difficult.

Nunez stated that one firefighter was seriously injured and 2/3 of the roof has been destroyed. As of now, the belief that the iconic front facade of the cathedral has been saved.

The Spire has fallen. At 1955 Paris time the Spire has fallen. Follow the link below for video.

The moment #NotreDame’s spire fell pic.twitter.com/XUcr6Iob0b— Patrick Galey (@patrickgaley) April 15, 2019

More of the roof has caught fire after the Spire fell. The scene is reporting that the fire alarm sounded at 1830 Paris time. At that time the doors were shut without warning. Shortly after the doors shut white smoke began to escape the roof, then quickly darkened. Within moments bright orange flames broke through the roof and spread quickly.

It should be noted that 13-14 million people visit Notre Dame every year, making it the most visited place in Europe. This historic Cathedral was under renovations, scaffolding covered much of the roof area. With Easter this coming weekend – the city was preparing for the massive crowds ready to visit this historic landmark.

Around 1925 Paris time the Paris Police tweeted :

Translated that means : “Notre Dame Fire in progress. Avoid the area and facilitate the passage of emergency vehicles and intervention of the @prefpolice.”

As it currently stands the flames are large and raging. The spire is fully engulfed, it’s just a matter of time before it crumbles honestly. The wooden structure that supports much of the weight of this building is all currently in danger.

Construction of Notre Dame started in 1163, completed around 1250. Additions and remodels have take place since then as well. The spire was renovated in the 19th century, being completed by wood covered in lead. It makes it very heavy, and will do significant damage if/when it falls.

WOW Goes Bust

In case you missed the major WOW airlines news this morning, they have ceased operation. “All WOW AIR flights have been cancelled.” – WOW website. But what does this mean for WOW passengers?

Well, it means they are stuck. Because of the lack of service and funding WOW is crazy enough not responsible to get people home. It may sound shocking, but this is truly the case for many (if not all) airlines. Luckily most airlines are willing to pick up the slack. IcelandAir is offering discounted rates to WOW Air customers as long as they fill out a form first. It is on a first come first serve basis, but they are cheap and thankfully assisting these poor stranded travelers.

According to The New York Times, “Wow Air’s financial struggles had been a source of concern in Iceland. The finance minister said contingency plans were in place if the airline collapsed, including assistance for stranded passengers, but added that the government would not rescue the airline, according to local news reports.” Iceland has less than 400,000 people, but over 2.2 million visited last year alone. This was mainly due to the fact that tourism to the country was increased because of free layovers, up to 7 days. This gave may travelers an opportunity to explore a country they may not have planned for in the past, it gave them a 2-for-1 shot on their cross Atlantic flights.

They grew, but they grew too quickly. Expanding at an extremely quick pace set them up for unsustainable productivity. At one point WOW had 47 destinations for its fleet of 20 aircraft. However, by November of 2018 the fleet was starting to shrink and with it destinations. The US went from 15 destinations to 4. Initially blaming mechanical issues, the routes were canceled shortly after that announcement.

Europe also was loosing destinations, but people continued to buy tickets. WOW was struggling way back in early 2018 with higher fuel prices that led to a loss of $33.7 billion dollars through September of 2018. Their appeal, cheap tickets and nickle and diming of perks (bags, seats, food) allowed many people to fulfill their desire to explore another country. But none of this was enough to save the ill-fated WOW Air.

They shuttered their doors on 3/28/19 – and while it leaves many unemployed, many stranded – the big question remains what will the impact to the Icelandic economy be? Will another airline be able to pick up the economic slack of this loss for the country or will we see another recession hit Iceland a mere 11 years after the devastation in 2008.