If there’s one thing I love doing, is planning for trips. Need someone who can plan a 7-day itinerary for you in a day, complete with car rental and hotel options? Or someone who can get you from the mountains of Niseko to the sunny Italian island of Sicily in under 24 hours? That’s me. In this article, I share with you 3 habits you should practice when booking flights.
If you fly often with a certain airline, you ought to sign up for their frequent flyer membership programme. You get to accumulate miles to redeem flights or upgrade your seats, access to the lounge (and if you hit a certain membership tier, the lounge access extends to your +1 too), added baggage allowance, and updates on exclusive deals and promotions.
2. Reduce The Number of Flights to a Destination.
Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint when booking less number of flights, sometimes you get to your destination quicker. for instance, when I was planning my Marrakech itinerary a few weeks back, there were several routes that came to mind.
The cheaper option would be to take a 7.5hr-hr Qatar Airways route from Singapore to Doha, 7.5hrs from Doha to Casablanca, and 1hr from Casablanca to Marrakech. That’s 3 flights and a 20+ hr journey.
After a quick search online (another tip is to go to the website of the destination’s airport to find out where flights are coming from, and to check if flights are coming from a destination more nearer to you), I realised there are flights to Marrakech from London, so I decided to look up a direct Singapore Airlines/ British Airways route, which will take me directly from Singapore to London (14 hours), and London to Marrakech (3 hours). I took one less flight than intended, and my journey totalled up to less than 20 hours!
While the Qatar Airways route is admittedly cheaper, you take fewer flights, reduce your carbon footprint, and get there faster – all great reasons.
P.S. Head to Google Flights to have flight options displayed to you in seconds.
3. Say Yes To The Carbon Offset Option Where Possible
I recently learned more about this term ‘Carbon Offset’ when I attended a closed-door panel discussion hosted by Shell Aviation at the IATA Conference in Seoul last month. The panel discussed issues surrounding aviation and its environmental impact, and given that aviation passenger numbers are forecasted to double to 8.2 billion by 2037 and that 2% of air transport accounts for Global CO2 emissions, it is imperative to have such discussions like this.
So what is Carbon Offset? Carbon Offsetting programmes allow consumers to ‘fly neutral’, which according to Air New Zealand, is “a way to reduce the impact your air travel has on the environment [by purchasing] emissions reductions from environmentally beneficial projects.” Even fuel companies like Shell Aviation, are investing heavily in nature-based solutions projects that heal and recover the natural forest ecosystems such as the Saihanba Afforestation Project in China and the Katingan Mentaya Project in Indonesia.
For example: Based off the Air New Zealand Carbon Offset Calculator, if I fly from Singapore to Wellington, the total distance flown would be 17044 km, and the estimated emissions per person on that flight would be 1362 kg of CO2. The Cost to offset this CO2 would cost NZD$ 29.04 and this money would be used to fund native forestry projects in New Zealand, neutralising your carbon footprint!
While opting for Carbon Offset programmes (here’s a list of programmes offered worldwide currently) does not reduce emissions, it ensures that we don’t harm the environment more than we should. So keep this option in mind when booking your next flight!
I hope you guys found this article useful, I profess I am no aviation expert, but these are just some personal tips I thought I’d share with you guys so we can fly smart and fly neutral come our next trip out!