Flying the friendly skis has never been particularly Earth-friendly, although new airline rankings from Greenopia help make a step in a greener direction.
With some estimates showing air travel to account for 11% of greenhouse gas emissions, some say that a true greenie worth her salt will either abstain or limit using this mode of transportation as much as possible. However, for those of us that simply must fly for either business or the occasional pleasure trip, there's Greenopia's newly released guide, which ranks the top ten commercial airlines operating domestic flights across America according to their efforts to reduce environmental harm.
According to the guide, Virgin, Continental and Horizon are the top three airlines making an effort to reduce their drag on the Earth. Both Virgin and Continental have fairly new fleets, which tend to be more fuel-efficient, and have completed flights using biofuels. They also offer carbon-offset services, and Virgin even serves fair trade coffee.
You may not have heard of Horizon, but maybe you should. It has one of the most comprehensive recycling programs in the industry, and incorporates some green business design in its offices. Popular airlines Delta and American came in at 7th and 8th respectively, largely due to their older, less fuel-efficient fleets.
The rankings were calculated using an extensive list of criteria including fleet age, fuel consumption practices, carbon offsets, green building design, recycling programs and organic, local and sustainable food items available on flights.
"It's a dilemma," says Greenopia founder and CEO Gay Browne. "People are going to travel. Whatever method they chose will impact the planet. Our readers want to know how to get to their destination with the smallest environmental footprint, especially if they are boarding a jumbo jet. We appreciate those airlines like Virgin and Continental that are taking great strides to green their passenger miles."
Check out Greenopia's complete airline listings. The top 10 is below:
The Daily Green's Community News section is a forum for our audience to get the word out about issues that matter to them, enlist support, get help and advice, celebrate successes or share humor. The best submissions are personal (why I started this venture) short and to the point (400 words or so) and written in a style that speaks directly to the audience as peers (not like an ad or press release). E-mail submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org and include "community news" in the subject line. Photos are also welcome, provided the submitter has rights to publish the image. Be sure to include credit and caption information.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.