Relax! You’re flying greener, just by choosing Alaska

Refillable water bottle? Check. Packed light? Yep. Took public transportation to the airport? Gold star! Globetrotters today think more and more about the impact of their travel, especially air travel, on the environment. But do you know that the smartest thing you can do to lighten your carbon footprint while flying, is something you’ve already done?  Yup, by making the smart choice to fly Alaska Airlines.

At Alaska we make conscious choices every day to reduce the impact of our operations, through big things—like purchasing the most fuel-efficient aircraft and exploring sustainable alternative biofuels. We also think about the little things—like eliminating plastic straws, recycling onboard items and using locally made food and beverage items.

Dune Ives, Alaska Gold 75K and executive director of Lonely Whale Foundation, feels good about the choice she makes to fly Alaska, because of Alaska’s commitment to flying greener.

“If I must be on the road and away from my family, it’s good to be flying on an airline that matches my values,” she said.  “Alaska is noticeably different in this way. I see it in action every time I fly on Alaska. Flight attendants work hard to separate items, and recycle and compost. They live their values. I don’t see this same commitment in action when I fly other airlines.”

 

So how does Alaska fly greener? Here’s a few ways:

Green places.  Alaska flies to some of the most sustainable places on the plant, like Costa Rica and the Hawaiian Islands. “Just choosing your destination, based on its sustainability, is a great way to fly greener,” said Ives, who travels often for work and with her family and loves Hawaii.

Clear the air. Alaska has the most fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly fleets among all U.S. airlines and we were a pioneer in the use of RNP, a navigation technology that decreases emissions, improves safety and even gets you to your destination faster. “It makes me feel like I’m doing a little less “bad” when I fly Alaska,” said Ives who also likes to travel with Alaska’s Global Partners.

And the sea. In partnership with Ives and Lonely Whale, Alaska ditched plastic straws onboard flights and switched from plastic to bamboo citrus picks. “Strawless is an important first step in reducing plastic in our marine habitats, and I’m proud to say that Alaska was the first,” Ives said.  Alaska also replaced bottled beer with cans, which are lighter (less fuel) and easier to recycle.

Waste not. In the last eight years, flight attendants have captured 12,000 tons of recyclables that would have otherwise gone to landfills.  Since we started recycling in 2010, we’ve cut our waste per passenger in half.

Travel like a green pro

Ives knows that being green isn’t easy, so she suggests that travelers start simply with just one thing, and do it well. For her, it’s always traveling with her reusable fork, knife and spoon set to eliminate the use of plastic at the airport and in the air.

 Here’s some other easy ways you can get your green on.

  • Fly the most direct route. Alaska flies directly to four Hawaiian Islands from the West Coast, without a stop. This routing uses less fuel and resources.
  • Take public transportation to and from the airport.
  • Bring a refillable stainless-steel water bottle and fill it up at the airport once you get through security.
  • Resist your Kondo urge to ‘tidy up’ and don’t put wrappers, napkins or other garbage into cans or bottles. It’s easier for our flight attendants to recycle if you keep items separate until collected.
  • Don’t forget to recycle your magazines and newspapers onboard. Share with another guest, or give them to our flight attendants to recycle.
  • Buy reef-safe sunscreen if you’re going to swim in the ocean. Regular sunscreens can do harm to coral reefs, which Ives says, “are the lifeblood of our planet.” Leave only footprints in the sand, nothing else!
  • Eat locally. Take advantage of farmers markets and locally-sourced foods while visiting a new destination.

Learn more about Alaska Airlines’ sustainability efforts at: http://flysustainably.com/

13 comments on "Relax! You’re flying greener, just by choosing Alaska"

  1. I know the plastic water bottles are a problem. An alternative is to serve it in real glasses, but that adds weigh and costs. However, since you are using real dishes and silverware it could be done. I am sure Alaska has looked into it, but maybe it is worth another examination. I always fly Alaska First Class and appreciate the service and attention. By the way Alaska Airlines was a client of the law firm I first worked with in 1962 when it was a much smaller carrier. It has really grown and succeeded when many of the other air carriers of that era are long gone. Congratulations!

  2. To start I really do love Alaska airlines, every airline has its foibles but Alaska is unique in that they are trying in every way to be better. That said, I would like Alaska to be able to refill, even partially, water bottles instead of giving out a plastic cup each time we need water. On a long flight to Hawaii, Mexico or the east coast I can drink an entire water bottle by mid flight. I understand germs but it seems like there could be a way. Watching flight attendants separate (which is a good solid first step) 100+ Single use plastic soda and water cups after each trip down the aisle is disheartening and I would think expensive over time.

    Encouraging reusable coffee containers would be useful too.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Please do away with the small plastic water bottles provided in First Class at the beginning of the flight. Thank you for always trying to improve!

    • Thank you for this suggestion! Yes, please get rid of those silly tiny bottles worth a few sips and thousands of years in a landfill!

  4. I’ve been told a few times that flight attendants are not supposed to put coffee in my reusable cup, or refill the cup that I just had coffee or a drink in. (Sometimes they do it anyway!) Can policy be modified so that refills and reusable cups are ok?

    Also, could you offer and manage a carbon offset fee at time of purchase on the website?

    Thanks for all you are doing to reduce waste in your operations.

  5. Alaska does a great job with recycling and recyclable packaging. I’d love to see a new policy towards napkins – I don’t think a napkins are needed when you get a drink.

    • Alaska Airlines always does great assistance in all areas on the plane. The recycling is good.
      Thank you,
      Jeff

  6. Thank you for your efforts to make the earth cleaner- now PLEASE make your plane safer for passengers with tree nut allergies, the same as you have done for peanut allergies. Tree nut allergies are life threatening just like peanut allergies, and tree nut dust particles can easily become airborne same as peanut dust. (Can you land a plane in 30 minutes or less when someone goes into anaphylaxis?) The other allergens such as egg, dairy, wheat, shellfish, are less likely to create airborne dust particles. First Class can have something else other than warm nuts. PLEASE!

    • Hello Bonnie. We cannot prevent passengers from bringing products containing nuts or other allergens (e.g. service animals) onboard our flights. Some First Class meals and meals for purchase in the main cabin may contain nuts. Therefore, Alaska Airlines is unable to guarantee a nut- or allergen-free flight. Attempting to do this would create a false sense of security for passengers with severe allergies. We encourage passengers who are allergic to nuts to bring their own food items for travel. Passengers with severe allergies are also encouraged to consult with their doctor regarding the safety of air travel. Please advise the gate agent if you would like to pre-board to cleanse your immediate seating area.