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Sustainable Flights

How much are you willing to pay to offset carbon footprint when traveling?

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Protected: Flying for our futures. Looking at consumer engagement with eco-friendly airlines.

Stratos Jet Charters asked 1,000 people about their environmental attitudes regarding air travel and whether they’d be willing to pay for more sustainable flights.

Here are some findings:

  • 75% of travelers are concerned about climate change but 40% of people report being unwilling to pay more for their plane ticket to offset their carbon footprint
  • For travelers, the most important factor when booking air travel is price (65%) and convenience (20%) – only 2% consider eco-friendliness an important factor
  • Surprisingly, younger generations were the most willing to spend more than $10 per ticket to offset their flight's carbon footprint.

Findings suggest that market share and fuel efficiency rarely coincide: Many of the airlines Americans fly most frequently are among the least environmentally friendly. American Airlines (the country’s most popular carrier) and Delta are emblematic of this trend, although these companies have invested in newer, more efficient aircraft in recent years. Southwest Airlines provides an interesting counterexample, however, serving nearly 19 percent of all passengers while maintaining a relatively strong efficiency record. The company aims to continue this balancing act by adding more fuel-efficient Boeing 737 Max aircraft to its fleet in the years to come.

Smaller airlines have a mixed record on efficiency. Alaska Airlines and JetBlue serve a similar proportion of flyers each year, yet they could hardly be more different in terms of environmental impact. In fact, Alaska Airlines has been hailed as a model for sustainability in the industry: The carrier is consistently profitable, proving that paying attention to emissions can be good business. Conversely, JetBlue ranked dead last among the carriers studied. Interestingly, the company’s founder has recently formed another airline startup, and his business plan hinges on operating more fuel-efficient jets.

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