Google Flights will now report an estimate of carbon dioxide emissions per flight in an effort to reduce waste and promote a more sustainable flight service.
This means travelers will be able to choose flights with lower emissions, as this option will be listed right after the trip’s pricing and duration features, TheSchengen.com reports.
According to Forbes, flights with less pollution will be marked with a green badge to find low-emissions flights more easily. This change has only been made possible by airlines and other partners wishing to share their data with Google, with the sole purpose of offering travelers a more sustainable travel option.
However, in order to come up with these estimates, Google has begun merging data from the European Environment Agency (EEA) with flight data from airlines, including plane time, fuel usage, flight distance, and number of seats.
As James Byers, Senior Product Manager at Google Flights, notes, users just have to click “Sort by CO2 emissions” to see which flights are the least polluting.
However, these lower emission options are specific to the ride and the seats. The newer the aircraft, the less pollution it causes compared to older aircraft. The increase in emissions for premium economy and first class seats takes up more space and includes a larger share of total emissions.
Now, it is within the reach of travelers to choose flights with the least polluting features. Google search data shows that eco-friendly travel options have risen more than ever. In a survey conducted by Booking.com, it was revealed that 83% of travelers around the world believe sustainable travel is essential, with 61% saying the pandemic is the main reason they want to travel more sustainably in the future.
Google recently joined Travalyst, a non-profit organization led by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. The two partners are off to a good start as Google has already launched eco-certification labels for hotels. In addition, airlines, Booking.com, Tripadvisor, and Visa have partnered with Travalyst in an effort to work together towards a more sustainable environment and offer less polluting options to users and travelers.
“We are working with the Google team to refine the carbon footprint information customers will see as they search for flights, and we look forward to continuing this collaboration to improve these estimates in the future,” said Jill Blakestein, managing director of the airline’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) division. American Airlines, according to Forbes.
On the other hand, Lufthansa Group also submitted its data to Google, believing that transparency is the key to creating this matter of trust.
“Google and Lufthansa Group have both put sustainability high on the agenda, and we believe transparency is key to building trust in this. Therefore, we decided to support customers in finding the best option for their journey by adding regular information on environmental parameters, starting with their carbon footprint, Annette Mann, Lufthansa representative noted.
As standards and regulations are flattened, there is no gap for airlines to manipulate the data in their favour. Moreover, airlines are working on more environmentally friendly travel with increased demand for this type of travel, and they want to have the first mover advantage.
EU airports set to reach net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions include:
Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (three airports including Nice) Rome Airport Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Avinor Airport (44 airports including Oslo) Copenhagen Airport Eindhoven European Airport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Vinavia Airport (21 airports including Helsinki) Luxembourg Airport Lyon-Saint-Exupéry
These airports intend to reach this goal before 2030.