By The Flying Pinto

Illustration by Thomas A. Boucher

We’re all becoming more aware of the environment around us, and trying to do our part by recycling and making better choices for our environment in our everyday lives. I think about my career choice and what kind of impact flying has on the world we live in. Most of us recycle when we are home, so why not try to carry those practices out into the world we travel in. I know there are a lot of “green Travel” companies out there and a lot of eco-friendly hotels popping up too. What I’ve done is come up with some tips that can help us become more conscientious while traveling by an airplane to our destination.

  1. Take advantage of the electronic ticket. Most airlines will let you use your cell phones or PDA’s now to check in. Think about all the paper saved!
  2. Even though you can’t bring water, tea or coffee in them, bring your own water or coffee bottle. The coffee is actually cheaper at Starbucks if you have your own cup! Once on the plane the FA’s will be happy to fill these for you and if they’re not? Oh well, they’ll still do it…think about the plastic cups we can save! (Just a note for those worried about BPA, airplane cups have got to be loaded with the stuff, they have a very strong plastic smell) I use these bottles and love them…the coffee mug doesn’t spill, how fantastic is that?Find them at Revenge is for coffee and Klean Kanteen for water.
  3. I know I like to repeat myself, but here is another great reason to travel light. Not only will your day be easier but think of the fuel that will be saved and thus not going out into the atmosphere: ) It’s crazy how much weight affects how much fuel planes use. Did you know that white paint weighs less than darker paint and actually makes a substantial difference in how much fuel is used! So, think about it if every traveler packed a little lighter that could add up to big savings. (I haven’t done a post on how to pack light, I just keep lecturing everyone to do it…I guess I’ll have to do a post on packing.
  4. Bring your own food, not only will it save waste, since you won’t be buying fast food and throwing away plastic and Styrofoam at the airport or on the airplane but it will taste better, and probably be better for you. Just remember to pack it in Tupperware so you’re not creating trash.
  5. If you chose not to travel with your own water and coffee mugs then recycle on the plane…meaning keep your cup for your second drink, don’t automatically throw it away if you’re drinking the same beverage. This would save tons of cups.
  6. This is a good one, if you can afford it buy carbon emission offsets through Sustainable Travel International . They measure your estimated carbon output for your trip and you pay them to offset it with planting trees and other things. It is not as much as you would think, usually about $10-$40 per trip. Big companies have teamed up with them, so if it’s in the budget go for it.

I hope these tips help give you some ideas and plant a seed (hahaha, pun intended)I would love to hear some more ideas if you have any let me know! I would also like to say thank you to Thomas A. Boucher for giving me permission to use is very cool illustration! You can check out more of his work at



  1. Great info! Getting Starbucks for less is enough to motivate a lot of people 🙂 And it helps the enviorment!

  2. Aviatrix @ 2009-03-11 16:41

    You actually CAN bring water or coffee on board the airplane in your own container. Just bring the container empty through security, then fill it up at a drinking fountain or coffee shop inside the secured area.

    And #7 is my favourite “you know you’re a flight attendant when”. I laughed pretty hard at that.

  3. camerapilot @ 2009-03-11 17:20

    If by chance you see a naked man covered in white paint holding a coffee cup as you walk through the terminal….it’s me.
    Only kidding. Great ideas!

  4. The Flying Pinto @ 2009-03-11 21:19

    Aviatrix, thanks for clarifying that..yes, you can have liquids past security. (I’m getting so tired of the liquid thing!)Yes, #7 is funny and sadly on some trips true;-)

    and CP, You had me laughing pretty hard with that one: )

  5. Anonymous @ 2009-03-12 01:15

    Careful with bringing your own food. Oranges, fruit pies, chocolates, yogurt, and various other “liquid” foods won’t make it past certain TSA Gestapo outposts. Apparently some of these idiots believe the juice inside an orange could be a liquid explosive.

    There is no security justification for the liquid ban. It was politically motivated from day one and remains politically driven to this day.