Would you fly green class?

Flying is bad for the environment. In fact, flying is so bad that achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, requires UK citizens to stop flying now. Alas, growth in the global airline industry appears unstoppable. With average incomes climbing and prices plunging, flying is here to stay.

In the absence of viable means to tackle flyings calamitous environmental footprint, it has become a shameful undertaking. The Swedish flygskam defines what you should feel when boarding a plane. Social sanctions like flygskam can be powerful, unless blameable choices are made in isolation like booking tickets. People who fly seldom mingle with those wilfully abstaining therefrom and/or shaming others for doing so. A fortiori, at the airport, nobody shames others for obvious reasons. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

The calculus changes when actions become shameful within the culpable group. Imagine, your airline gave you the opportunity to fly green class, including a price premium commensurate to your flights emitted carbon. Consider further, compounding a cleaner consciousness, you are singled out for flying green class, receive preferential boarding and a green headrest cover, indicating that you offset your flights emissions. All others, with regular covers and non-preferential boarding, earn the shame of their greener flight companions.

This is the sensitive intervention point. Offsetting your flight increases individual ticket prices by an average of 10 noticeable yet not exclusory and can easily be booked by ticking a box on the website. Avoiding flygskam plus benefitting from green class privileges outweigh the monetary costs. Soon, one green headrest will multiply until all planes are considered green, with all flights carbon-neutral. While no panacea and dependent on properly implemented offset programmes, my SIP creates benefits for Airlines
Passengers, scrambling to clean up their reputation, and customers, unable to abstain from flying.

 

Actor(s)

Airlines
Passengers

 

Trigger (intervention)

 

Criticality

 

Feedback Dynamics

 

Timescale and scaleability

 

Resistance

 

Author

Alexander Rustler

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