How much is that flight costing the environment?

747 airplane emissions 

Image by ReneS 

There’s a lot of talk in the news about airlines having to cut flights or raise prices in order to make ends meet.  While we know it is a tough environment for the airlines to try and survive in, with the holidays approaching it makes it even tougher on travelers.

Nobody likes to dish out extra money to get home to friends and family, especially over the holidays, but we all do it in order to be with our loved ones.  Struggling economy aside, family is a known source of comfort and reassurance we all want to afford – I know I do.

However, do you know how much that flight you are taking is going to cost the environment?  Air travel does more damage to our environment than you might imagine.  According to if the average American drives 10,000 – 15,000 miles each year, it only takes one trip to Europe for a West Coaster and one trip to Hawaii for an East Coaster to do as much damage (or more) as one person could do during an entire year of commuting and cruising in their car.

And due to the fact that airplanes are releasing carbon dioxide and other harmful gases directly into the upper atmosphere they have a much greater effect on global warming.

To get specifics, I found a site called where you can calculate the emissions for any flight.  So I decided to see what the emissions would be for a flight from the west coast to the east coast with the following parameters: economy ticket, round trip, 747, occupancy 80%.

The results showed 301 kg of fuel used and 936 kg of CO2 emissions PER PASSENGER.  Just as a comparison, 301 kg of fuel is about 4.4 times the weight of an average person.  That’s a lot of fuel creating a lot of harmful emissions.

So when you plan that holiday trip, see how much your trip is going to cost the environment and see if there isn’t a more economical way to travel – both for your wallet and for the environment.

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