Sustainable Air Travel
Updated: May 2
Flying and sustainability seem a bit contradictory as of all the methods of transportation, flying has one of the highest emission rates. However, sometimes there is just not another option. When your job demands you to or if you have family living overseas. Traveling to a different country (or even different continent) is also great to get in touch with different cultures and grow. However, we should make these decisions carefully and try to limit our carbon footprint. Flying by plane doesn’t mean we have to throw all our ideals out of the window. It just means that we have to choose the most eco-friendly option. Over and over again. Read here a few tips to make airplane travel as eco-friendly as possible.
Flights are notorious for handing out individually wrapped towels, snacks, everything… Refuse as many as you can as most can be easily substituted by one of the items mentioned below.
Make sure your bottle is empty before you go through security. I leave home with an empty bottle just to make sure I don’t have to drink the entire bottle right before security or (even worse) I have to throw it away fully (or get back to the back of the line). When I pass security I fill it in a bathroom or a nearby water fountain.
Very handy for you hot drinks in cafes or on the plane. You can put the lid on it so it is easy for transportation and it can even protect you when there is suddenly heavy turbulence. If you don’t mind that your water is coffee flavored it can double as a water bottle too.
Whether it is a cloth napkin or a handkerchief, take a few with you. This way you avoid the individually wrapped towels from the plane. You can wet them with the water from your bottle if you prefer a wet wipe for your hands or face.
Reusable snack bag or container
Be careful with glass in your hand luggage as different countries/flight companies have different rules. If you have a flight within the EU or a domestic flight in the US you can bring a snack on the plane with again (but please double check). You can wrap this in a cloth but I personally prefer a reusable snack bag or a tin container for my snacks. These are also very handy to use once you are at your destination.
TSA approved bag
I have had mine for ages and use it for moisturizer and sunscreen. Both I put in small plastic bottles to avoid buying travel-sized ones. These small bottles will be used over and over again.
I always bring my e-reader with me as my books are way too heavy. Especially when traveling with hand luggage only. You could also opt to bring a deck of cards when you have a long layover or bring another travel-sized game with you. I have the travel edition of Carcassonne that came in a nice bag and has traveled quite a few places with me (both by car, train, and plane).
These tips won’t reduce the CO2 emission of airplanes but, in my opinion, every small step count so if there is no other option than an airplane, these tips will help you along the way.