Eco-Friendly DL?

Old Apr 22, 21, 9:42 am
  #1  
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Lightbulb Eco-Friendly DL?

Today Delta Air Lines issued allegedly eco-friendly guidance for frequent fliers. A few thoughts:

•Pack lighter carry-ons and checked baggage.
Fair enough. But won't the lower passenger baggage weight simply allow the airline to cary more air cargo, which is more lucrative to airlines on both a per-pound and per-cubic-meter basis?

•Book nonstop flights when possible.
This only works if the air cargo portion of Delta's business, which includes mail, does the same. Otherwise, the hub-and-spoke connecting routes will be flown anyway.

Plus on many routes (e.g,. LAX-JFK, LAX-LHR, LAX-NRT), nonstop flights are substantially more expensive, especially the red-eyes. So can we expect DL to equalize the fares to encourage nonstop bookings?

•Bring an empty, non-plastic, refillable water bottle with you.
And how will you fill it in the air? Ah, from the flight attendant's plastic 2-liter water bottle, which is of limited capacity! And non-plastic means metal, since large glass water bottles are not a good idea on planes -- heavy and non-compressible. So how many times will pax forget pricey metal water containers in the back seat pockets before they switch back to plastic?

•Buy a metal straw to travel with and use throughout your trip.
And you can wash the metal straw in midair using --- hmmm -- lavatory water? Plus will the metal straw cause airline drink cups, which have a low center of gravity to prevent tipping, to tip over more often?

• Close the window shade when you're in the window seat to help conserve energy.
This works on the ground. In flight, when the outside air is about –60ºF, heat is provided though the jet engines, which must consume more fuel to warm the cabin. Raising the shades in flight allows more sunlight in, reducing the need to heat the cabin.

But the sunlight annoys passengers who are using the in-flight entertainment system, one of the major complaints that flight attendants must deal with. Methinks there is an ulterior motive here.

• Use the FlyDelta App for your boarding pass rather than printing it out.
This saves a trivial amount of energy and paper, but the app does instantly reflect itinerary changes. If the energy consumed in powering the phone multiple times (luggage check, security, boarding) exceeds printing a single piece of paper per leg, then why not?

Better, why can't airlines format home-printed boarding passes to put all legs on one A4 sheet of paper? Oh yeah, they cram as many ads as possible on the home-printed passes.
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Old Apr 22, 21, 9:49 am
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I enjoyed reading your comments on all of them hahahahah brilliant
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Old Apr 22, 21, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by RIP-PSA View Post
Today Delta Air Lines issued allegedly eco-friendly guidance for frequent fliers. A few thoughts:

•Bring an empty, non-plastic, refillable water bottle with you.
And how will you fill it in the air? Ah, from the flight attendant's plastic 2-liter water bottle, which is of limited capacity! And non-plastic means metal, since large glass water bottles are not a good idea on planes -- heavy and non-compressible. So how many times will pax forget pricey metal water containers in the back seat pockets before they switch back to plastic?

•Buy a metal straw to travel with and use throughout your trip.
And you can wash the metal straw in midair using --- hmmm -- lavatory water? Plus will the metal straw cause airline drink cups, which have a low center of gravity to prevent tipping, to tip over more often?.
I bought a collapsible refillable plastic water bottle at the $0.99 store! If a bottle is non-collapsible doesn't that defeat the concept of putting less in your c/o.
Passing through TSA a metal straw might require a complete search of your c/o. [A few years ago In LHR, I had a very small tube of ointment which was not in my "baggie" = complete search of my c/o.]
Don't airlines make a big profit on fees they collect from checked luggage? Flying with c/o's only would cut into DL's profits.
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Old Apr 22, 21, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by RIP-PSA View Post
•Pack lighter carry-ons and checked baggage.
Fair enough. But won't the lower passenger baggage weight simply allow the airline to cary more air cargo, which is more lucrative to airlines on both a per-pound and per-cubic-meter basis?
My wife won't like hearing that Last time she flew with me, for a 7 day trip, her checked bag was 52 lbs and her carry on was so full, I had to put a couple of her items in my bag.
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Old Apr 22, 21, 10:12 am
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Originally Posted by RIP-PSA View Post
Today Delta Air Lines issued allegedly eco-friendly guidance for frequent fliers. A few thoughts:

•Pack lighter carry-ons and checked baggage.
Fair enough. But won't the lower passenger baggage weight simply allow the airline to cary more air cargo, which is more lucrative to airlines on both a per-pound and per-cubic-meter basis?
Only if DL and/or the FAA actually change the weight figures used for passengers + carryon luggage. Otherwise since the figure is standard for each passenger and their carryon, DL can't add more cargo if your carryon happens to be lighter (just as DL does not remove cargo if your carryon happens to be heavier - DL and the FAA are simply playing the laws of averages with weight figures).

ETA: I did enjoy your commentary though.
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Last edited by ATOBTTR; Apr 22, 21 at 10:23 am
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Old Apr 22, 21, 11:31 am
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Fun commentary. These suggestions certainly seem like they are meant to help Delta's bottom line either by getting passengers to pay more (nonstop flights) or use less (fuel, onboard water, etc.) I will say I much prefer filling my HydroFlask water bottle before boarding compared to asking multiple times for the 8oz bottles Delta serves. I think it cost around $25-30, but I've taken it everywhere the past couple years. They might have a point with the window shade in flight providing additional insulation to keep heat in although I'm sure it's close to negligible.
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Old Apr 22, 21, 11:32 am
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Haha funny. Yeah I just love when corporations etc send out emails and crap with 'green' suggestions or how they are being green. Its just all marketing bs.
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Old Apr 22, 21, 11:46 am
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It's clear this email wasn't thought through at all, it really annoys me.
  1. Why encourage customers to make such small, relatively unimpactful changes, when the most effective thing customers can do is purchase carbon offsets for their flights! The email made NO mention of the ability to easily do this through Delta (https://www.co2delta.com/offset). Delta's primary source of pollution is the flying it does itself.
  2. Second to above, the call for customers to use reusable metal straws is a nice gesture, but is next to useless when it comes to reducing our impact on the environment. Plastic straws only make up around three-tenths of ONE percent of total plastic waste by mass. Contrastingly, nearly half of all ocean pollution comprises lost or abandoned (plastic) fishing gear.
  3. The other actions it encourages customers to take also have very little environmental impact compared to carbon offsetting.
  4. If they are serious about reducing paper waste, Delta should make boarding passes virtual by default, and ask customers at ticket counters if they need it printed or emailed or sent to Delta app.
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Old Apr 22, 21, 11:49 am
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About Delta Air Lines
From being the first and only U.S. airline to voluntarily cap greenhouse gas emissions at 2012 levels to last year’s commitment to be the first carbon-neutral airline globally, Delta has a longstanding commitment to sustainable air travel. Delta was the No. 1 airline named among America’s Most Sustainable Companies by Barron’s in 2020, the only U.S. airline included in the 2021 S&P Sustainability Yearbook and has received the Vision for America Award by Keep America Beautiful and Captain Planet Foundation's Superhero Corporate Award. Delta has also earned a spot on the FTSE4Good Index for six consecutive years and the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for ten consecutive years.
(https://news.delta.com/delta-and-del...fuel-agreement)

In what world does an airline get ranked among America's 'most sustainable companies'??
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Old Apr 22, 21, 11:54 am
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Hey Delta, how about ground all your planes? Think of all the stupid eco-savings then?
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Old Apr 22, 21, 12:27 pm
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Because earth day is this week... so companies and people want to feel good about themselves that they are doing something and can pat themselves on the back. Yay us!
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Old Apr 22, 21, 1:03 pm
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Good point about the standard weight allocations.

I can imagine the airlines going to their regulators next year and, with all innocence, state that the average observed luggage weight per passenger has dropped, so please adjust our air cargo calculations.

I once checked a heavy container (300 pounds or so) MIA-PAP on Air France, and cheerfully paid the overweight fees. Unknown to me, at the intermediate stop in Martinique, French customs ordered the box to be moved to air cargo -- at AF's request -- because it messed up their baggage/cargo weights. When I got to Haiti, there were no air cargo services (this was the 1990s) and the box was stuck at the airport for several days until I could extricate it.
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Old Apr 22, 21, 1:48 pm
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While I don’t know that bringing your own water bottle saves plastic use in air, in my now 10+ years of bringing my own reusable water bottle on flights, I’ve certainly saved a lot of money (and presumably plastic) on the ground by not buying overpriced bottled water post-security at the airport. So I do think that one is a useful consumer tip.

I agree it’d be nice if they mentioned that passengers have the ability to purchase carbon offsets too. I would love to see some analysis somewhere about the comparison of energy usage or carbon output of everyone recharging mobile devices vs. using (recyclable!) paper boarding passes.
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Old Apr 22, 21, 3:25 pm
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Originally Posted by ryw View Post
I would love to see some analysis somewhere about the comparison of energy usage or carbon output of everyone recharging mobile devices vs. using (recyclable!) paper boarding passes.
With screen on full brightness and CPU running at full blast, 500mA @ 3.7V isn't an unreasonable upper bound estimate of power consumption for a typical mobile phone. Assume you spend 5 minutes checking in and acquiring your boarding pass, 2 minutes looking at it as you head to the gate, and 5 minutes displaying it to board: a mobile boarding pass use likely consumes at most 0.37Wh of energy. Assume 80% efficiency in the charger and another 80% efficiency in the battery circuitry to get a 0.57 Wh total consumption. At the US average of 0.947 lbs CO2e per kWh, you're looking at 0.00054 lbs of CO2, or roughly 240 milligrams.

The carbon emission of plain paper production, factoring in recycling, is 4.25 kg of CO2 per 500 sheets of paper, so about 8,500 milligrams of carbon emission for a piece of paper. And that's before you pay for the electricity to run the printer and desktop computer that's printing it; a typical laser printer draws 300-500 watts while in operation.

Direct thermal boarding passes printed at the airport are a bit more complicated to analyze: those printers tend to draw 15-20W while in use, so they're a little more power thrifty... although still in a completely different league from your phone. The paper is more toxic to manufacture, though, due to the coatings on the paper that produce the thermal printing effect (historically, BPA, although alternatives are now in use); many recycling facilities actually will not accept thermal paper as a result, so boarding passes may not be recyclable in many municipalities. And you still have to account for the 150-300W the kiosk is probably using.

tl;dr mobile boarding pass is much more environmentally friendly, if that's a priority.
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Old Apr 22, 21, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by RIP-PSA View Post

•Book nonstop flights when possible.
.
Sayeth the airline that wants to route everyone lining in a secondary or tertiary market through ATL. If I want a non-stop routing from my home airport, Allegiant has the best route network and well, I don’t love the planet enough to fly Allegiant.
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