'BINGE FLYING' CONCERNS
posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 01:36 PM
The term 'binge flying' stems from when Mark Ellingham of Rough Guides spoke out recently about our need to fly less. He says that 'binge flying' constitutes a huge threat to the global environment and calls for a UK£100 tax on all flights to Europe and Africa, and UK£250 on flights to the rest of the world. A huge increase in the frequency with which we take to the air suggests that environmental concerns are not always at the top of our personal agendas.
The growth of low-cost airlines such as Easyjet over recent years has opened up Europe like never before, anyone with a spare weekend and access to an airport can now fly to virtually anywhere in Europe for very little cost. Some say that we will fly less only when it hurts our pockets too much to fly more. Discovering a way to deter 'binge flying' domestically and within Europe is crucial to our quest for reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector. Mark Ellingham readily admits that he has no intention to stop flying, and his idea of limiting flights is 1 long haul and 2/3 short haul flights a year. To many of us this will sound quite normal, perhaps indicating the kind of frequency that he is refering as 'binge flying'.
"I'm the worst example of it. I'm not going to stop but every time I jump on a plane I think 'oh no, i'm doing it again'."
-Tony Wheeler, Co-Founder, Lonely Planet
Ryan Air, Easyjet and BA all say that they are struggling to fill their planes so maybe the answer therefore is to cut the number of flights they operate. If demand isn't there then why keep flying half empty planes or give seats away like Ryan have done. Ryan Air admit there's no point to flying empty planes, so why not stop flying them rather than giving away seats and trying to drain people's pockets with overpriced onboard food, insurance and other hidden charges. Perhaps the best way to reduce the frequency with which people travel is a reduction in the supply of flights so that demand increases, raising the price naturally.
Collaboration between individuals, private companies and the government is the only surefire way for us to implement effective environmental measures to reduce carbon emissions. It is therefore extremely frustrating to see British Airways recently reinstate their route from London, Gatwick to Newquay. A 140-seat Boeing 737 now flies the route with seats from £69 return - they previously flew the route until 2003 before dropping the service, saying it was making a loss. BA have said that the increasing popularity of Cornwall prompted a rethink.
Environmental concerns can be addressed throughout our daily lives, at home, at work and on our journey to work. Aviation accounts for just 5.5% of CO2 generated in the UK, and only 2% globally. You can read about the carbon offsetting at Make Travel Fair.