Should consumers be advised on their carbon footprint when they buy an air ticket?

Now that awareness is slowly rising, about the extent and severity of the climate crisis – and the impact of air travel, it is important that people become more responsible about their person carbon footprint.  People need to know how much carbon their flight will emit, and then make a conscious choice whether they want to do that. People are advised by Friends of the Earth to write to the CAA to ask them to do a proper survey on consumer awareness.  Then we need the government to make it compulsory for airlines to include an (accurate) assessment of the carbon emissions, before the booking process is complete.  The suggestion is that the amount of carbon is related and compared to some household, or daytime activity – such as the day of heating for a standard 3 bedroom house it might equate to. That would make the numbers, in terms of kilos or tonnes of CO2 more concrete and comprehensible.  The CAA has a duty to the consumer but it also has a duty to the environment.  They need to ensure that air passengers are informed of the amount of carbon they add to the atmosphere by flying.


Should consumers be advised on their carbon footprint when they buy an air ticket?

If you think ‘yes’ you can write to the CAA’s Chief Executive Richard Moriarty:

Richard Moriarty, CEO CAA


Dear Mr Moriarty

At the time of booking a flight the consumer should know the amount of carbon they will personally be responsible for, like the labelling on a cigarette packet, and relate it to a household, daytime activity, so as not to confuse the consumer.

The CAA has a duty to the consumer but it also has a duty to the environment.  I am writing to ask you to conduct a new survey to see if the consumer’s opinion has changed from the findings you quoted to CAGNE in August 2019: that only 30% are concerned and therefore there is no need to inform them.

I call on you to ensure that the consumer be informed of the amount of carbon they release by flying.

Yours sincerely

(name,  address and date)


Copy your letter to the Secretaries of State for of Transport and DEFRA (once known after the election), your MP, your Ward Councillor/s and your Council’s Environment department , details for London boroughs here.


People want to see carbon emissions when booking flights, poll finds

Could showing emissions when we book flights change our travel behaviour

By Emma Featherstone (The Telegraph)


Almost two thirds of people want to know how much pollution their flight will produce when they book, according to a new poll.

Sixty five per cent of those surveyed agreed that airlines should dispay carbon emissions at booking, when asked on behalf of Friends of the Earth. Most airlines do not provide this information.

The environmental group is calling on carriers to make carbon emissions public at booking so that customers can make better informed travel choices.

Aaron Kiely, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Major train websites [including Trainline and LOCO2] show carbon pollution, so why can’t airlines do the same?”

“Giving people more information about the journeys they take can prompt them to make greener choices about their travel – maybe even deciding against that long-haul break for just a few days or look at a train instead to assess the cost, in pounds and carbon, of a journey.”

More than 2,000 people living in the UK were polled. Among those who did not agree that carbon emissions should be displayed, 17 per cent thought that airlines should not show the figure and 18 per cent did not know.

The charity contacted a cross-section of airlines that offer flights on the popular London-New York route. While the carbon emissions of travelling to European destinations can be much reduced by taking trains, it is harder to find alternative, lower carbon travel options to the US.

As such, being able to compare carbon emissions between different airlines, perhaps with the option to carbon offset your flight with the carrier, could help consumers make more eco-friendly choices.

Friends of the Earth asked airlines whether during the booking process (on or offline) they make available information about the carbon dioxide emissions per flight. The airlines contacted included British Airways, KLM, American Airlines, Norwegian, Virgin Atlantic, Air France and Lufthansa.


The only airline that confirmed it did offer carbon emission details during the booking process was KLM.

KLM told Telegraph Travel it has included such information in the ticket booking process for 11 years.

Since 2008, its passengers have been offered a way to offset their flight emissions. According to KLM, 88,000 passengers offset the carbon emissions of their flight through this service in 2018, a 50 per cent increase on the number that did so in 2017.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic does not offer passengers this function, but it told Telegraph Travel it was looking into providing carbon emission information in the booking process.

A spokesperson said: “We fully support the concept of customers seeing their carbon emissions when they book their travel and are working with our technology teams to make this a reality. Virgin Atlantic has been working hard to reduce its carbon emissions for over 12 years through using more efficient planes, investing in sustainable fuels and supporting a groundbreaking UN led carbon offset scheme for international aviation (CORSIA).”

British Airways

British Airways does not offer carbon emission information at booking. However, the airline told Telegraph Travel that it offers customers the facility to support low carbon projects in the UK and around the world.

It said its customers are helping BA to reduce the impact on climate change by donating to its partnership, The Carbon Fund, which provides funding for community renewable energy projects in the UK and overseas.

The rest

Norwegian does not show carbon emission information during the booking process.

Air France also does not show this information at booking. Customers are given the option to plant a tree – this service is provided at the same stage at which customers choose their seats, decide how much baggage they want and pick their meals.

Lufhansa does not show the calculated carbon emissions on its booking page. On the German language site a link at the bottom of the page suggests clicking through to a microsite run with its partner myclimate. Here, carbon emissions for the flight being booked are shown and you can choose to offset. A Lufthansa spokesperson said this function will follow soon on other language versions of the site.

American Airlines does not not show carbon emissions during flight bookings.

Telegraph Travel contacted all airlines included for comment.

Flight comparison website Skyscanner highlights to users when reviewing flight options which service and airline is the greenest according to emissions.

The weighted poll of 2,017 adults living in the UK was carried out in early September. Friends of the Earth were not mentioned when respondents were polled.





There is information about carbon from plane journeys at


How your flight emits as much CO2 as many people do in a year

Even short-haul flights produce huge amounts of CO2, figures show

By Niko Kommenda (The Guardian)

Fri 19 Jul 2019

Taking a long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year, a new Guardian analysis has found.

The figures highlight the disproportionate carbon footprint of those who can afford to fly, with even a short-haul return flight from London to Edinburgh contributing more CO2 than the mean annual emissions of a person in Uganda or Somalia.

2019 is forecast to be another record-breaking year for air travel, with passengers expected to fly a total of 8.1tn km, up 5% from last year and more than 300% since 1990.