The thing that makes me the most disheartened is the amount of damage air travel does to the environment. I mean, mankind is flying. We should be so proud of ourselves. You don't see any of the other animals building fly machines. You don't even see animals building sail boats. Every time I fly, I'm just utterly amazed at the realization that I am flying. It's awesome. So when I see that airplanes do all sorts of damage, carbon-wise. It gives me a heavy heart.
There are some airlines out there that work to be greener. They have added winglets to their planes and work hard to conserve fuel and resources. You can pressure airlines to clean up their act, but you really can't directly control other airline folks or their companies. But what you can do as a frequent flier is book direct flights.
About 50% of the carbon emissions released by airplanes come from the takeoff and the landing. Go Green Travel Green did a great article about the amount of fuel that layovers waste.
In other words, because you took a flight with a layover, your itinerary burns at least 1,820 more pounds of fuel than a nonstop flight. And because you likely sat on the extensive runway traffic that is Chicago O?Hare Airport, your plane probably burned through even more fuel.
Since 1,820 pounds of jet fuel probably doesn't mean much to you, I?ll translate. Jet fuel weighs approximately 6.7 lbs/gallon.
Thus, 272 extra gallons of fuel are burned during this stopover itinerary than during a non-stop flight.That's the equivalent of filling up my Honda Accord 20 times!
A direct flight may cost more financially, but a layover costs more environmentally. Even though, airlines are not going to cancel a layover flight because you didn't book it. You can make layover flights less profitable for the airlines by booking fewer of them. If enough people act, the airlines will be forced to change their policies.
You can exercise some of that indirect control by exercising your direct control.