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vinaixa
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What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 8:48 pm

I've thinking about this for a while. My question is about airline staff travellers that are elegible to get heavily discounted airfares but fly standby (they fly taking up a seat that would otherwise go empty, and wouldn't be able to get on a plane that is fully booked).

I can think of arguments going both ways, so here are a few:

When airlines fly with empty seats, it is often classed as "environmental waste". Standby travellers help fill those empty seats, so their environmental impact can be argued to be smaller than the equivalent of standard passengers.

On the contrary, as a standby traveller myself I have often taken short flights (e.g. MAD-VLC, 285 km, 177 mi). The discounted tickets make it convenient to fly a route that can easily be covered by other forms of transport that are more ecological, so standby travel here can be argued to have a larger environmental impact than standard air travel.

I'm eager to know your thoughts. Some of you may well argue that staff travellers have the same environmental impact as conventional passengers.

Source of "environmental waste" quote: https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... nvironment
 
chrisp390
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:01 pm

Zero. The flight still operates with or without them.
 
FlyHossD
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:09 pm

The greater the load (weight), the greater the fuel burn. However, non-rev travel is so limited by the generally high passenger loads (at least pre-pandemic (2019)), that the difference would be hard to distinguish.

On the flip side of this question, if a non-rev / standby passenger chooses another form of travel (like driving on an interstate in the U.S.), what is the difference between the two? I have driven trips when I couldn't get a seat on a standby basis.

Frankly, I think more fuel could be saved with air traffic management improvements than prohibiting non-rev / standby travelers.
 
canyonblue17
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:15 pm

You would also have to take into account what activity the traveler is doing by making the trip. For example - if they are renting a car as part of their travel - that might increase the impact. If they didn't travel - would they do less and therefore have less of an impact?
 
MIflyer12
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:19 pm

FlyHossD wrote:
The greater the load (weight), the greater the fuel burn. However, non-rev travel is so limited by the generally high passenger loads (at least pre-pandemic (2019)), that the difference would be hard to distinguish.

On the flip side of this question, if a non-rev / standby passenger chooses another form of travel (like driving on an interstate in the U.S.), what is the difference between the two?


That is a good answer. Not quite zero impact, but close. What's the incremental fuel burn for an extra 180 pounds on a 1000nm journey in a 739?
 
deebee278
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:31 pm

Boeing 767-300, 407,000 pounds. One standby pax, 170 pounds...the math speaks for itself. FlyHossD has it right. I haven't tried to non rev in over five years. When I fly, which is seldom, I simply buy a ticket. Back in the 'old days', free travel was a huge perk. In more recent days, not so much.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:42 pm

chrisp390 wrote:
Zero. The flight still operates with or without them.


For one passenger, non-rev or not, that is true of course, but all the travelers together do make the flight worthwhile. To give the non-rev passenger no part in the pollution doesn't feel morally right. So I would say, total pollution divided by total passengers and you have the environmental impact of the flight per passenger. Whether they paid for the flight or not, is irrelevant to me.
 
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TVNWZ
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:12 pm

Dutchy wrote:
chrisp390 wrote:
Zero. The flight still operates with or without them.


For one passenger, non-rev or not, that is true of course, but all the travelers together do make the flight worthwhile. To give the non-rev passenger no part in the pollution doesn't feel morally right. So I would say, total pollution divided by total passengers and you have the environmental impact of the flight per passenger. Whether they paid for the flight or not, is irrelevant to me.


You still have to net it out. Subtract the pollution created by going about their lives and not flying. In some cases that could be more than that created via an airplane flight thus making the flight more environmentally favorable.
 
Eikie
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:18 pm

To me it is quote clear. If all "regular" passengers decided not to fly, the flight would not go. Therefor, every "regular" passengers carries a certain amount of impact.
Even if nonrev was totally forbidden, the above mentioned flights would still operate. So the only impact a non rev had is because of the weight increase, which is almost nothing.

And in fact if the non rev choose an alternative form of transport, the impact would be bigger, as it would be extra above the already flying airplane.
 
jetmatt777
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:20 pm

There’s not a clear answer as the motivation to fly standby is not always uniform.

For example: I am off tomorrow and I see a flight to LAX is wide open. Since that opportunity exists I choose to go; otherwise I had no intention of traveling. This would be an appropriate case of adding to pollution just via increased fuel burn, however incredibly minor.

Another example: I absolutely need to be in Dallas tomorrow. I list for a flight and I get the last seat. My alternative was to drive my car 15 hours through the night to arrive the next morning. In this case, my carbon impact was significantly less than a single-occupant car ride of 1,000 miles. It cost little, and cost the environment even less. The airplane was already going with or without me, and I was going to go in a less efficient method if I didn’t get a seat.
 
johns624
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:22 pm

Are they non-revving for vacation or for commuting? Besides, I find it disingenuous from many here that don't consider pleasure travel as a legitimate reason.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:31 pm

TVNWZ wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
chrisp390 wrote:
Zero. The flight still operates with or without them.


For one passenger, non-rev or not, that is true of course, but all the travelers together do make the flight worthwhile. To give the non-rev passenger no part in the pollution doesn't feel morally right. So I would say, total pollution divided by total passengers and you have the environmental impact of the flight per passenger. Whether they paid for the flight or not, is irrelevant to me.


You still have to net it out. Subtract the pollution created by going about their lives and not flying. In some cases that could be more than that created via an airplane flight thus making the flight more environmentally favorable.


Sure, but you have to do a lot of polluting to net out your flight, especially long-range flights ;)
 
izbtmnhd
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 12:07 am

Negligible when compared to China’s coal consumption for it’s electricity needs alone.

There are way bigger fish to fry before worrying about something like this, IMHO.
 
Babyshark
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:27 am

vinaixa wrote:
I've thinking about this for a while. My question is about airline staff travellers that are elegible to get heavily discounted airfares but fly standby (they fly taking up a seat that would otherwise go empty, and wouldn't be able to get on a plane that is fully booked).

I can think of arguments going both ways, so here are a few:

When airlines fly with empty seats, it is often classed as "environmental waste". Standby travellers help fill those empty seats, so their environmental impact can be argued to be smaller than the equivalent of standard passengers.

On the contrary, as a standby traveller myself I have often taken short flights (e.g. MAD-VLC, 285 km, 177 mi). The discounted tickets make it convenient to fly a route that can easily be covered by other forms of transport that are more ecological, so standby travel here can be argued to have a larger environmental impact than standard air travel.

I'm eager to know your thoughts. Some of you may well argue that staff travellers have the same environmental impact as conventional passengers.

Source of "environmental waste" quote: https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... nvironment


I think the equation most airlines use is…
e^(iπ) + 1
 
Babyshark
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:30 am

What is the environmental impact of the iPhone I am using to post this comment:

“The internet was a mistake.”
 
nonrev
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:34 am

Eikie wrote:
To me it is quote clear. If all "regular" passengers decided not to fly, the flight would not go. Therefor, every "regular" passengers carries a certain amount of impact.
Even if nonrev was totally forbidden, the above mentioned flights would still operate. So the only impact a non rev had is because of the weight increase, which is almost nothing.

And in fact if the non rev choose an alternative form of transport, the impact would be bigger, as it would be extra above the already flying airplane.


Bang on, in my opinion. If flights were continually filled purely with standby pax, the flight ceases to make commercial sense, it gets canned. Decision to operate a flight is based on commercial pax - we fill in the gaps.

But yes, interesting topic/debate/discussion.
 
iamlucky13
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:18 am

vinaixa wrote:
The discounted tickets make it convenient to fly a route that can easily be covered by other forms of transport that are more ecological


Not necessarily. Air travel has become surprisingly efficient over the last several decades:

https://tedb.ornl.gov/wp-content/upload ... df#page=68

Keep in mind, however, that the numbers in the above link are the system-wide US averages. Short flights will tend to be less efficient than the average. Only rail ends up with a clear cut, consistent advantage in that data. Granted, in Spain you have a pretty good rail network, but as others have pointed out, non-rev passengers don't affect overall fuel consumption much.

vinaixa wrote:
I'm eager to know your thoughts. Some of you may well argue that staff travellers have the same environmental impact as conventional passengers.

Source of "environmental waste" quote: https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... nvironment


That comment seems specifically focused on the fact that at the time of publication, the average commercial airline flight in the US was operating less than 10% full. The load factor recovered fairly rapidly to less startling numbers, and is now back over 70% in Europe and 80% in the US. Furthermore, low load factors don't change the overall point that allowing non-rev use has a disproportionately small impact on overall emissions.
 
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DL757NYC
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:38 am

Really? Look at what China India and Canada to name a few of the worlds biggest emitters of CO2. Before you beat up on people who travel for enjoyment.
 
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DL757NYC
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:41 am

vinaixa wrote:
I've thinking about this for a while. My question is about airline staff travellers that are elegible to get heavily discounted airfares but fly standby (they fly taking up a seat that would otherwise go empty, and wouldn't be able to get on a plane that is fully booked).

I can think of arguments going both ways, so here are a few:

When airlines fly with empty seats, it is often classed as "environmental waste". Standby travellers help fill those empty seats, so their environmental impact can be argued to be smaller than the equivalent of standard passengers.

On the contrary, as a standby traveller myself I have often taken short flights (e.g. MAD-VLC, 285 km, 177 mi). The discounted tickets make it convenient to fly a route that can easily be covered by other forms of transport that are more ecological, so standby travel here can be argued to have a larger environmental impact than standard air travel.

I'm eager to know your thoughts. Some of you may well argue that staff travellers have the same environmental impact as conventional passengers.

Source of "environmental waste" quote: https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... nvironment



What’s scary is there are people who sit there and think of things to restrict. We punish ourselves at the alter of being righteous as the rest of the world laughs
 
Eikie
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:28 pm

airbazar wrote:
johns624 wrote:
AeroAndy wrote:
Why are we even talking about this?
Some people just look for reasons to be offended.

Seems like an interesting topic to me. We have airlines eliminating things like onboard magazines and window shades to save fuel and cut down on emissions so I would have to think that transporting a 170lbs person must have a corresponding environmental cost.

I am highly suspecting the costsaving from those mentioned things are not via fuelsaving, but not having to print, distribute and collect magazines or repare windowshades.

Especially on longer flights with more payload.
 
santi319
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:33 pm

I think its best taking a look at flying 56 RJ’s a day in a business route for the “business” passengers (why not 4 321’s instead? ). That impacts the environment way more than a standby low paid employee….

The fact that the the world's wealthiest 1% produce double the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%, says a lot about where the focus should be…
 
Noshow
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:36 pm

It ads efficiency if you don't fly around empty seats. Typical staff travel is standby and space available only. The additional fuel cost for a staff traveler on a given scheduled flight already happening is only a very tiny incremental bit.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:52 pm

santi319 wrote:
I think its best taking a look at flying 56 RJ’s a day in a business route for the “business” passengers (why not 4 321’s instead? ).


Why not? Because time is money to business travelers, and carriers see an increase in Yield that exceeds the increase in CASM by running RJs. Mo' money mo' money!

If carriers had to pay the social price of carbon emissions they would schedule differently. It would yield an efficient, market-based solution.

The carbon impact of Non-rev standby travel rounds down to nothing.
 
johns624
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:58 pm

Eikie wrote:
airbazar wrote:
johns624 wrote:
Some people just look for reasons to be offended.

Seems like an interesting topic to me. We have airlines eliminating things like onboard magazines and window shades to save fuel and cut down on emissions so I would have to think that transporting a 170lbs person must have a corresponding environmental cost.

I am highly suspecting the costsaving from those mentioned things are not via fuelsaving, but not having to print, distribute and collect magazines or repare windowshades.

Especially on longer flights with more payload.
Exactly. Not having to print and continually replace magazines is a big cost savings. What airlines are getting rid of window shades?
 
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chunhimlai
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:02 pm

the low marginal cost for standby ticket means its environment cost is low too
 
ThunderDome
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:51 pm

It would be interesting to see actual numbers. Say a 10 year old A320 with CFM 56 engines compared to a 10 year old A320 with V2500's on a 1,000 mile trip. With out actual numbers this isn't even an academic conversation. it's a waste of time.
 
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ua900
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:55 pm

vinaixa wrote:
I've thinking about this for a while. My question is about airline staff travellers that are elegible to get heavily discounted airfares but fly standby (they fly taking up a seat that would otherwise go empty, and wouldn't be able to get on a plane that is fully booked).

I can think of arguments going both ways, so here are a few:

When airlines fly with empty seats, it is often classed as "environmental waste". Standby travellers help fill those empty seats, so their environmental impact can be argued to be smaller than the equivalent of standard passengers.

On the contrary, as a standby traveller myself I have often taken short flights (e.g. MAD-VLC, 285 km, 177 mi). The discounted tickets make it convenient to fly a route that can easily be covered by other forms of transport that are more ecological, so standby travel here can be argued to have a larger environmental impact than standard air travel.

I'm eager to know your thoughts. Some of you may well argue that staff travellers have the same environmental impact as conventional passengers.

Source of "environmental waste" quote: https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... nvironment


OP, your source article is from April 2020 and speaks mainly about "a huge environmental waste in the US" in the wake of a "96% drop in passenger numbers because of coronavirus restrictions has not been matched by cuts in flights". One could have reasonably argued back then with social media pics of 4 passengers on a given flight that it was an "environmental waste", but it was also a very selective snapshot, "a level not seen since 1954" and load factors have certainly recovered a lot since that low point.

Just like a car, truck, SUV, or a bus, commerical airliners are more economical and less wasteful as the load factor increases, and all have come a long way in improving things like fuel economy or noise level over the past decades. Each new aircraft generation has burned around 15% less fuel than the previous one. Load factors in the US in 1976 were around 55% and were at 85% in 2019. The 120th traveller on a plane with a 130 seats, standby or not, will as a percentage add far less environmental impact. Source: https://theicct.org/sites/default/files ... d-2020.pdf

As for short flights that can "easily be covered by other forms of transport that are more ecological", that really depends on the region of the world you're in. Much of Europe and some parts of Asia would be covered by virtue of say high speed trains, but most of Asia, North America, South America, Africa, Australia and Oceania would not be covered. In most regions of the world and under most circumstances, aviation is a more expensive albeit faster and also an environmentally responsible way to connect people across communities separated by distance than other local forms of transport. Think about the environmental cost for example if we all went back to steamers to bring us across the seas or take a bus that is only subject to Euro I / U.S. 1987 emissions standard across a longer distance in Latin America. You'll instantly see how comparatively low emissions from an AV A320 are over a longer distance. Source: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/file ... report.pdf
 
FlyHossD
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:07 pm

santi319 wrote:
The fact that the the world's wealthiest 1% produce double the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%, says a lot about where the focus should be…


Source please..? I’d like to see what the top 5 percent, top 10 percent produce and a breakdown by nation.
 
planecane
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:15 pm

12%-20% less than it would have been on the last generation of aircraft.
 
santi319
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:36 pm

FlyHossD wrote:
santi319 wrote:
The fact that the the world's wealthiest 1% produce double the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%, says a lot about where the focus should be…


Source please..? I’d like to see what the top 5 percent, top 10 percent produce and a breakdown by nation.


Seriously, less than 5 seconds on google…

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56723560
 
nine4nine
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:54 pm

Who cares. Is one or two less non-rev pax really going to make an environmental difference while just China and India alone pump out half the earths CO2? With the thinking of today pretty soon we will all be back in the Stone Age living under rocks.

While on such a dumb topic why not add outrage over electrical wind farms killing birds, or the destructive process of using gas powered earthmovers to quarry deep into the earth to bore for components for electric car batteries and the toxic runoff that comes from that. Or solar panel fields that cook flying birds and insects that fly over them. All the wack jobs who nitpick what is conducive for the environment and push their green energy yet that also comes with terrible environmental affects. Planes are less than 1% of the problem.
 
johns624
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:57 pm

santi319 wrote:
FlyHossD wrote:
santi319 wrote:
The fact that the the world's wealthiest 1% produce double the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%, says a lot about where the focus should be…


Source please..? I’d like to see what the top 5 percent, top 10 percent produce and a breakdown by nation.


Seriously, less than 5 seconds on google…

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56723560
Seriously, that article didn't address the questions he asked...
 
WayexTDI
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:15 pm

johns624 wrote:
santi319 wrote:
FlyHossD wrote:

Source please..? I’d like to see what the top 5 percent, top 10 percent produce and a breakdown by nation.


Seriously, less than 5 seconds on google…

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56723560
Seriously, that article didn't address the questions he asked...

1st sentence in the article quoted is just what santi319 was originally saying and for which FlyHossD asked a source.
FlyHossD then asked a different question and a proof for it, so the onus is on him/her to research that.
 
santi319
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:34 pm

johns624 wrote:
santi319 wrote:
FlyHossD wrote:

Source please..? I’d like to see what the top 5 percent, top 10 percent produce and a breakdown by nation.


Seriously, less than 5 seconds on google…

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56723560
Seriously, that article didn't address the questions he asked...


I quoted what I posted, if he needs data in something he wants to know then he should do the research not me…
 
FSDan
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 5:43 pm

wjcandee wrote:
canyonblue17 wrote:
AeroAndy wrote:
Why are we even talking about this?


We are talking about this because we want to. If you choose not to - that would be fine by the rest of us.


And we're not concerned that we're being a little judgy? A little in other people's business? I'm sure airline bosses would just love it if people forewent pass travel for "environmental" reasons. Maybe nobody should be able to heat their homes above 68 degrees. Maybe nobody should be able to use more than a certain ration of electricity -- except friends of the Party or Government officials, of course.


Doesn't seem judgy to me... The OP considered both sides of the argument, and it's a legitimate question to think about.

I'm on the side of the impact being "not much", seeing as how airlines plan their schedules based on revenue passenger demand only. Fortunately, airlines' cost incentives align with using as little fuel as possible, and flying planes to places that actually warrant the capacity.
 
LCDFlight
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 5:49 pm

chunhimlai wrote:
the low marginal cost for standby ticket means its environment cost is low too


Exactly. For a transcon flight, it might be (guesstimating) 10 gallons of Jet-A per passenger.

Zero flights are dispatched to service non-revenue passengers. So it is just the extra fuel burn for the final few seats.

Perhaps, at times, if 50 non-revs are onboard, the cost is appreciable. But it is never "high." And these costs are worth it to the carriers as an employee retention tool.
 
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exFWAOONW
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:22 pm

More guilt over nothing. :banghead:
 
wjcandee
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:31 pm

exFWAOONW wrote:
More guilt over nothing. :banghead:


Amen, brother.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:24 pm

Dutchy wrote:
chrisp390 wrote:
Zero. The flight still operates with or without them.


For one passenger, non-rev or not, that is true of course, but all the travelers together do make the flight worthwhile. To give the non-rev passenger no part in the pollution doesn't feel morally right. So I would say, total pollution divided by total passengers and you have the environmental impact of the flight per passenger. Whether they paid for the flight or not, is irrelevant to me.


What is the moral standpoint you're using?
 
FlapOperator
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:28 pm

exFWAOONW wrote:
More guilt over nothing. :banghead:


Yeah, I kind of wonder if this much analysis is going into the status of the Chinese working assembling batteries in conditions I can only imagine would be something out of a Charles Dickens' novel, or the 14 year old Congolese digging the rare earth metals out of the ground, likely at gun point.

I'm sure both of those guys sleep well at night knowing someone in the Northern Hemisphere sipping free trade no cruelty latte is congratulating themselves on a reduced carbon footprint.
 
JoseSalazar
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 7:45 pm

vinaixa wrote:
I've thinking about this for a while. My question is about airline staff travellers that are elegible to get heavily discounted airfares but fly standby (they fly taking up a seat that would otherwise go empty, and wouldn't be able to get on a plane that is fully booked).

I can think of arguments going both ways, so here are a few:

When airlines fly with empty seats, it is often classed as "environmental waste". Standby travellers help fill those empty seats, so their environmental impact can be argued to be smaller than the equivalent of standard passengers.

On the contrary, as a standby traveller myself I have often taken short flights (e.g. MAD-VLC, 285 km, 177 mi). The discounted tickets make it convenient to fly a route that can easily be covered by other forms of transport that are more ecological, so standby travel here can be argued to have a larger environmental impact than standard air travel.

I'm eager to know your thoughts. Some of you may well argue that staff travellers have the same environmental impact as conventional passengers.

Source of "environmental waste" quote: https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... nvironment


Airplane mileage per gallon per seat exceeds that of cars. So, I don’t think it’s a big deal in that sense. It’s actually an environmentally friendly way to travel compared to a road trip. But more importantly, the incremental additional fuel burn isn’t much to fill the seat, which is going anyway.
 
WkndWanderer
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:38 pm

Dutchy wrote:
chrisp390 wrote:
Zero. The flight still operates with or without them.


For one passenger, non-rev or not, that is true of course, but all the travelers together do make the flight worthwhile. To give the non-rev passenger no part in the pollution doesn't feel morally right. So I would say, total pollution divided by total passengers and you have the environmental impact of the flight per passenger. Whether they paid for the flight or not, is irrelevant to me.


I would frame it the opposite way and say that they are lessening the environmental impact of the flight that is going anyway by spreading out it's footprint over more people/purposes. The same thing goes for adding more mail, cargo, organs, etc. As others have mentioned, the added cost is inconsequential when you consider that an empty seat is a perishable item that will go to total waste and so much of the trip cost per flight is the same regardless.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Tue Nov 30, 2021 9:03 pm

11C wrote:
it’s consuming electricity, (I am right now while typing this) thus producing carbon, albeit very minute amounts.


Not necessarily, after all electricity can also be generated environment-friendly. Ever heard of wind energy or solar energy?

Facebook has a large data center about 20 minutes from where I live and it runs entirely on green energy. Most of the time that's wind energy, the entire surrounding area is filled with windmills. In fact there are so many windmills that with the least bit of wind not only the data center but the entire province is wind powered.

Now looking back at the question if it's more environment-friendly to fly non-rev instead of other means of transportation, in that case it depends on what that other transportation is and how it's powered. In Europe we have large high-speed railway networks and for the most part they run on green energy as well. Indeed, we use wind energy to make trains run. Then the only argument for flying non-rev is the price, even if the seat would have gone empty hauling your weight would still have polluted more than that train which doesn't pollute anything.

Of course flying non-rev is better than driving a fuel-powered car but not better than taking the train. It's about in the middle.
 
11C
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Wed Dec 01, 2021 10:19 am

PatrickZ80 wrote:
11C wrote:
it’s consuming electricity, (I am right now while typing this) thus producing carbon, albeit very minute amounts.


Not necessarily, after all electricity can also be generated environment-friendly. Ever heard of wind energy or solar energy?

Facebook has a large data center about 20 minutes from where I live and it runs entirely on green energy. Most of the time that's wind energy, the entire surrounding area is filled with windmills. In fact there are so many windmills that with the least bit of wind not only the data center but the entire province is wind powered.

Now looking back at the question if it's more environment-friendly to fly non-rev instead of other means of transportation, in that case it depends on what that other transportation is and how it's powered. In Europe we have large high-speed railway networks and for the most part they run on green energy as well. Indeed, we use wind energy to make trains run. Then the only argument for flying non-rev is the price, even if the seat would have gone empty hauling your weight would still have polluted more than that train which doesn't pollute anything.

Of course flying non-rev is better than driving a fuel-powered car but not better than taking the train. It's about in the middle.


Bully for Facebook! They have really shown themselves to be a force for good, haven’t they?
 
vinaixa
Topic Author
Posts: 35
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Wed Dec 01, 2021 1:09 pm

For those who are wondering why I asked the question in the first place:

My employer asked if having me fly between UK and Spain for work a couple times would work against the organisation's environmental goals. My view is that the answer to that question needs to take into account that I was travelling StandBy, which would have a smaller environmental impact than conventional travel, based on your answers.

So it's not an issue of me exploring flying guilt, but rather looking for informed answers to a reasonable question.
 
vinaixa
Topic Author
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Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:43 pm

Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Wed Dec 01, 2021 1:16 pm

AeroAndy wrote:
Why are we even talking about this?


The people who are pumping bitterness into this thread need to calm down!
 
jetmatt777
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Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Wed Dec 01, 2021 1:30 pm

LCDFlight wrote:
chunhimlai wrote:
the low marginal cost for standby ticket means its environment cost is low too


Exactly. For a transcon flight, it might be (guesstimating) 10 gallons of Jet-A per passenger.

Zero flights are dispatched to service non-revenue passengers. So it is just the extra fuel burn for the final few seats.

Perhaps, at times, if 50 non-revs are onboard, the cost is appreciable. But it is never "high." And these costs are worth it to the carriers as an employee retention tool.


I agree 100% with your point, but I do remember a few years ago United added a special section to HNL to get nonrevs that were stranded. I can’t remember what exactly happened, but it was definitely outside of the employee’s control and being reasonable with travel. It was worth it to the company to send a plane to get people back to the mainland than deal with out of place crews and staff for a week.

That is certainly an outlier and the number of times it has happened in company history can probably be counted on one hand.
 
vinaixa
Topic Author
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:43 pm

Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Wed Dec 01, 2021 1:32 pm

ua900 wrote:

OP, your source article is from April 2020 and speaks mainly about "a huge environmental waste in the US" in the wake of a "96% drop in passenger numbers because of coronavirus restrictions has not been matched by cuts in flights". One could have reasonably argued back then with social media pics of 4 passengers on a given flight that it was an "environmental waste", but it was also a very selective snapshot, "a level not seen since 1954" and load factors have certainly recovered a lot since that low point.


Sure, the quote is selective but that's why I included the source for everyone to assess. I do see an environmental advantage in operating three flights at full capacity than four flights where the planes are 70% full. That's the idea I have in mind, in simple terms, about the environmental impact of flying with empty seats.
 
vedatil4
Posts: 291
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:38 pm

Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Wed Dec 01, 2021 1:47 pm

What about folks who are flying, not standby, but because a ULCC lowered the ticket price to a ridiculous low level? I had a coworker who would load up her calendar with monthly flights during a ULCC's yearly sale. She became sort of a flying commuter for a 3-1/2 hour flight. There's a flight every 40 minutes or so on her effectively, flying bus route, now.
 
11C
Posts: 343
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:25 pm

Re: What's the environmental impact of standby staff air travel?

Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:28 pm

vinaixa wrote:
For those who are wondering why I asked the question in the first place:

My employer asked if having me fly between UK and Spain for work a couple times would work against the organisation's environmental goals. My view is that the answer to that question needs to take into account that I was travelling StandBy, which would have a smaller environmental impact than conventional travel, based on your answers.

So it's not an issue of me exploring flying guilt, but rather looking for informed answers to a reasonable question.


I agree that we have to explore everything, but with such pressing needs, we also have to prioritize what actions can be taken, which goals we set, etc. I think we are in the weeds with this topic, as far as priorities go. It would be akin to treating a patient with a hangnail, while asking the patient with the severed artery to wait a few minutes.

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