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Flying green: the top 5 sustainable airlines

You know that tingling sensation when you set your foot on the plane’s ladder, when the heart is beating faster and you feel that mixture of anxiety and excitement that coincides with the act of departing?

There are travels where the destination counts less than the journey itself: it’s the case of those iconic long train trips such as the trans-syberian, the travels by bike or by foot.
In most other cases, the journey remains part of the magic of traveling.

By being responsible travelers, we can decide to be sustainable since the moment we step out of our home door: the train is the optimal solution to limit the emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but sometimes taking a train is just not an option.

What to do then? It’s still possible to make conscious choices when taking a plane: some airlines are in fact more sustainable than others, and have adopted policies for the safeguard of our planet.

airplane and clouds

Condé Nast Traveler, one of the most influential magazines on luxury travel, in 2012 has awarded prizes for the most sustainable tour operators, hotels and companies that have stood out for their commitment.
Let’s give a look to the five sustainable airlines that have been awarded in 2012, and let’s see why we should choose them for our travels.

1| Lufthansa

Lufthansa is the third biggest airline in the world, with a fleet of over 700 aairplanes; Lufthansa is the winner of its category in the 2012 World Savers Awards.
The company, in fact, has stood out thanks to the use of bio-fuel derived from flax oil and animal flat, which considerably reduce the environmental impact.
The airline is active in various social responsibility programs as well: it sponsors a program that replaces opium plantations with tea trees in China, this way helping the rural population, and has donated 32.000 trees to the Trees for Life project in occasion of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
My experience with them has always been good…as I’m 5’9 sometimes I feel cramped in those small planes, but I feel that Lufthansa’s aircrafts are a bit roomier. Thumbs up!

2| Finnair

Finnair is the national finnish airline company; between 2008 and 2010 its carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by 439.000 tons, and the company’s goal is to reduce the emissions per passenger by 41% before 2017.
Finnair also stands out for cutting the paper and energy consumption in its offices; also, Finnair has donated the old uniforms to Globe Hope, and currently sponsors a project for the protection and the reforestation of brazilian forests.
Maybe heading to Finland next January, hope to travel with them!

3| Harbour Air Seaplanes

Harbour Air Seaplanes is the biggest seaplane company in the world and operates in the canadian state of British Columbia. It’s the first north american company having a carbon sero impact: this means that when you buy a ticket, in the fare it’s already included the expense for the carbon dioxide off-setting: this is donated by the company to the partner enterprise Offsetters.

4| United Airlines

United Airlines operates over 5000 flights a day, yet it manages to limit its impact by using a bio fuel which includes seaweeds. No kidding, you heard right!
The company particularly cares about the recycling of paper, plastic and aluminium, and the cleaners only use eco-sustainable cleaning products for the aircrafts.

5| Virgin America

Virgin America is renovating its fleet with the purchase of low fuel consumption aircrafts: this simple precaution will save 3600 tons of carbon dioxide per aircraft by 2016. You need other reasons to fly Virgin America? How does low cost tickets, fast wi-fi onboard and the first in-flight social network sound to you?

Do you know any other airlines caring about the environment?
  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.

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