It's the biggest paradoxical conundrum there is in travel: The more we see the planet, the more we need to protect it.
Last week at Skift, Richard Holden of Google Travel revealed that there is a little but nifty feature that allows travelers to sort flights based on carbon emissions. (How did we miss this?)
Here's how to easily find the estimated carbon emissions for each flight, how different flights stack up against each other, and how you can easily factor this in when booking a flight.
Turns out it's not rocket science!
Finding out how much carbon a flight emits
Once users select a destination and date range, Google Flights will do the usual and populate a list of flights that fit the basic criteria.
Each flight will include a carbon emissions estimate once expanded upon in. It's often a tiny detail most people overlook, though they will notice things like the aircraft type.
For example, in a search from New York to Los Angeles from December 4 to December 10, the cheapest option on Spirit for $113 yielded a carbon emissions estimate of 410 kg, while the next cheapest option on United for $153 yielded a carbon emissions estimate of 598 kg.
Basically, a difference of $40 stood between 188 kg of carbon emissions.
Sorting flights by environmental impact
Luckily, it is not too hard to filter flights based on carbon emissions either.
Travelers can check out flights with the lowest emissions by further refining the results through the Sort By tab in the upper-right hand corner of results, and selecting CO2 emissions.
Here's a quick snapshot of where to find it:
Once that criteria is selected, the results would resort the flights from lowest to highest carbon emissions.
From there on out, it's pretty easy to see which flight have the lowest emissions, next to the cost of the the flight:
After looking at the same results this way, we decided the best option was likely a Delta flight for $153 with a carbon emissions of 490 kg (after factoring in a mix of departure time, price and carbon emissions).
It seems like such a simple fix for
The more that we take care of our environment, the longer we have to see it. Here's to more thoughtful travel going forward.