Kati Ihamäki, Finnair's vice president for sustainable development, has 10 worthwhile tips for people who want to be eco-friendly when they fly.

Through Kati Ihamäki, Finnair’s vice president for sustainable development and a member of IATA’s Environment Committee, Finnair has produced 10 worthwhile tips for being eco-friendly when you fly.

Writing on the Finnair Runway blog, Ihamäki’s 10 tips for reducing your environmental load during your flight and throughout your entire trip are:


1. When you fly, don’t just look for the cheapest fare. Instead, study the emission calculators available on the web provided by airlines. Unfortunately, there is no calculator available that would list all of your options, but in general, an airline’s own emissions calculator gives the most reliable information regarding that airline’s fleet and load factors.

2. Pick a direct flight whenever you can, but on very long flights the environmentally friendlier option is to stop on the way. The reason is that in order to complete an ultralong non-stop flight, so much fuel is needed that carrying it actually consumes a lot of extra fuel.

3. If you change flights on the way, make sure that the first flight you take is already headed the right way; otherwise you are wasting your valuable time and fuel flying for hours in the wrong direction and back again. Select the shortest route in miles and minutes. Instead of studying a traditional flat map, take a look at the globe – you are probably in for a surprise when you compare the actual length of different routes.

4. Change flights at an airport that is not congested. Mega-hubs are inefficient, and aircraft consume 10 per cent additional fuel circling around them waiting to land.

5. Choose an airline that has a modern aircraft fleet. Each new generation of aircraft consumes at least 20 per cent less jet fuel  ― and so generates at least 20 per cent less CO2 and nitrous-oxides emissions ― than the preceding generation.

Finnair has begun replacing its three-engine Boeing MD-11s on long-haul flights with two engine Airbus A330-300s, which burn at least 20  per cent less fuel while carrying a similar number of passengers the same distance

Finnair has begun replacing its three-engine Boeing MD-11s on long-haul flights with two engine Airbus A330-300s, which burn at least 20 per cent less fuel while carrying a similar number of passengers the same distance

6. When traveling short distances, taking the train is an ecologically efficient choice. When traveling further, a good option is a plane-and-train combination, in which you fly to a destination and then continue your journey by rail. If possible, start out traveling by train to the airport for your long-haul flight and then take another train to your final destination.

7. Choose a hotel that takes environmental issues into consideration. Save water, and don’t get your sheets and towels changed every day. Switch off the lights and the air conditioning when you’re not in the room.

8. Support the local economy, especially in developing countries, by using locally owned hotels and services.

9. Use public transportation. You’ll meet locals and you’ll get to experience areas outside the main tourist attractions.

10. Educate yourself about the social and environmental impact of travel. For instance, check Sustainable Travel International and the Ethical Travel Portal.

Since April 6, Finnair has been using new A330-300 aircraft on its daily non-stop New York-Helsinki flights and on long-haul routes to Asia. These new Airbus long-haul aircraft consume 20 per cent less fuel than the three-engine Boeing MD-11s they have replaced.