All travel by it’s definition leads to CO2 emissions. In the low end you will exhale CO2 when you walk or bike around, but the impact of this is non-existing next to the seriously high emissions and other climate impacts resulting from air-travel.
That is a very central dilemma in sustainable travel, no arguing about that!
However the airline industry is moving towards more sustainable practices – even electric airplanes are in the making and will reach the skies in the not so distant future and new types of fuel is on the way too.
Whist not succumbing to climate-shame, there are also very positive and important impacts of travel that, to me at least, are valid arguments for continuing with the occasional travel aboard.
However responsible travellers will think about the ecological footprint and therefore have to consider how to reduce the impact of travel.
Take off is the most energy consuming part of the journey. Therefore opt for direct flights over that with one or more stops.
Think twice before a long-haul flight. The long-haul flights are cruising at higher altitudes in the atmosphere and has proven more harmful to the environment. So short-haul flights are comparatively less harmful.
Smaller planes are more efficient. The Dreamliner or or an Airbus A350 is around 25% more efficient compared to a Jumbo sized 747 or A380.
Use air-lines with a modern fleet. Some airline companies have newer fleets, and the newer aircraft models generally are more energy efficient.
1 TUI Airways UK
2 TUIfly Germany
3 Transavia.com France
4 SunExpress Turkey
5 Thomas Cook Airlines UK (now out of business)
6 Condor Flugdienst Germany
7 Jet2.com UK
8 Air Transat Canada
9 Corsair France
Find and use the air-lines that consciously tackle their CO2 emissions see the index here. from the German organisation Atmosfair.de