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Getting There Greener

Avoid Airports with Long Delays Delays are costly in terms of carbon emissions. Planes waste fuel when they sit on the tarmac waiting to take off, and when they circle in the air waiting to land. The more congested the airport, the greater your chance of experiencing such delays. For every gallon of jet fuel a plane burns while stuck in traffic on the ground or in the air, it emits 25 pounds of carbon dioxide (including indirect emissions from the extraction, shipment, refining, and distribution of the fuel).21 In 2007, planes emitted 8.5 million metric tons of CO2 during airport delays, from both direct and indirect sources.22 On average, this amounts to a 6 percent carbon penalty attributable to delays.23

Flights are delayed for many reasons—some of which, such as bad weather and mechanical problems, are beyond a traveler’s control. Still, one of the best ways to actively combat delays is to avoid the most congested airports (Figure 8)—including New York City’s Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, Chicago’s O’Hare, Washington, DC’s Dulles, and the Newark and Philadelphia airports—and choose secondary airports instead. This may mean driving to regional airports, preferably those from which economy airlines fly nonstop to your destination. Finally, keep in mind that where you’re landing matters in avoiding delays, not just where you’re departing.

Figure 8. U.S. Airports with the Longest Delays, 2007

Source: U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee, 2008, Your flight has been delayed again, Figure 8.

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Getting There Greener - Travel Report  

While the idea of "green" vacations has attracted recent attention, most information focuses on what to do when you get to your destination,...

Getting There Greener - Travel Report  

While the idea of "green" vacations has attracted recent attention, most information focuses on what to do when you get to your destination,...

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