Climate Activists Want To Ban Frequent Flyer Programs

Filed Under: Misc.

We’re seeing climate change being taken more seriously than ever before, and that’s especially apparent in the airline industry. We have airlines encouraging passengers to take the train rather than fly, airlines carbon offsetting their domestic flights, and more.

While most people agree we should take steps to reduce carbon emissions, there’s huge variance in terms of how extreme people want to be — some people want to play their small part, while others view this as an emergency and want extreme measures to be taken overnight.

Anyway, there’s now an interesting proposal that not only impacts airlines, but more specifically impacts frequent flyer programs.

Should Frequent Flyer Programs Be Banned?

A new Imperial College London report commissioned by the Committee of Climate Change has some comprehensive proposals to prevent further climate change.

Not surprisingly, air travel is a big topic in this, including a proposal for a frequent flyer levy on the 15% of the UK population that takes 70% of flights.

Perhaps the most radical suggestion is eliminating frequent flyer programs. The report argues that frequent flyer programs cause people to take more flights than they need to, including people taking extra flights to “maintain their privileged-traveller status.”

Essentially they are suggesting that frequent flyer programs are rewarding environmentally damaging behavior.

My Take…

As someone who loves frequent flyer programs, of course my first reaction is to be defensive.

The truth is, though, I can’t disagree with the assertion that frequent flyer programs probably are bad for the environment on some level. So is eating meat. And any flying. And any driving. And…

Some people definitely do fly more because of the existence of frequent flyer programs, though I’d argue that this represents a tiny percentage of the overall flights that are taken.

Frequent flyer programs have some positive impacts as well:

  • A majority of miles are issued through non-flying means, and you have lots of people earning frequent flyer miles and not actually redeeming them for flying; so there are lots of situations under which people engage with frequent flyer programs without flying
  • While some people view frequent flyer programs as being elitist, the reality is that it makes travel affordable for many people

Regarding that second point, many would argue that making travel more affordable even for the occasional traveler isn’t a good thing.

Are Cheap Tickets Irresponsible?

The reality is that flying is more affordable than ever before. In many ways that’s a great thing, since seeing the world has never been easier, and I think that’s great. Not just because it’s fun, but because getting exposure to new cultures is a valuable learning experience.

But if we’re going to take a radical approach to climate change, was Lufthansa’s CEO actually onto something when he said it is irresponsible for airlines to sell $11 tickets? Of course rather conveniently, the airlines selling those tickets are making his airline lose business.

If we’re going to approach the current situation as a climate emergency, is it time to just ban all non-emergency travel? Should global travel be a thing of the past?

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here, and I also think the truth can be somewhere in the middle. But big picture I think frequent flyer programs are an incredibly minor thing to attack in the climate change debate…

What do you guys think?

(Tip of the hat to Chris)

  1. Should they also protest against Budget carriers since it made flying more affordable and accessible? Total lunacy.

  2. I’m loving it. Lucky sided with the socially totalitarian SJWs on all issues: gun bans, miniature shampoo bottles in hotels, eliminating Ladies and Gentlemen, etc. But somehow he believed that they won’t come out against his way of making a living: encouraging non-essential flying. Of course, they will. It’s actually surprising that it took so long. It will be hilarious to see when they succeed and destroy your livelihood.

  3. Such vanity, that we can somehow control the climate. But it makes some people feel good. And that’s all that matters. If you want my miles you’ll have to pry them from my cold, dead hands.

  4. @Grrizzly, agreed!

    I have survived at least 15 of these so called “Climate/End of the world” scenarios in my lifetime (& I’m only 48). This is the biggest, perpetual HOAX in human history and it NEVER ends, EVER! You have to be a complete moron to believe this complete and utter NONSENSE. Absolutely laughable at this point

  5. These puritanical wannabe-tyrants don’t really care about the environment; they only care about power. Notice how none of their suggestions are focused on ways to improve society. You don’t see them innovating or inventing new products that will absorb carbon or clean up waste. Instead, they’re focused on how they can consolidate power and control your life.

  6. This is related to the previous post, right? United is already doing their share on way of eliminating their FFP or making it irrelevant to most passangers.

  7. Climate emergency is just a new term created by socialists to create their bordlerless, genderless, no-family, spiritless new world order where everyone is dragged back to the stone age so they can take over and rule the world with their Marxist-Leninist fantasies.

  8. @Ben First, thank you for ignoring the ignoramooses and diehard diehard libertarians who are often reflected in koch donor “educational” institutions. At least we can agree that global warming is a real and serious threat that demands countermeasures. As to airlines, I agree, frequent flyer programs are a minor contributor to overall air carrier pollution. So, I’d start with technology: aircraft engine manufacturers have made some strides in developing cleaner engines, though they realize there is much more to be done. I’d create a well financed joint effort between the US and EU to explore ways to make cleaner engines (just as ships are beginning to replace fossil fuels with LNG). Concurrently, I would encourage carbon offsets. And, as to passengers, I would certainly encourage major users, primarily companies and governmental entities, to eliminate travel when it can be replaced through digital meetings. Leisure travelers can only use their own conscience as to what steps they take to combat global warming, with travel being one factor to be considered.

  9. @Adam Guillette

    That’s really mature.

    I won’t stop collecting FF miles, but I think it’s important to be cognizant of one’s impact on the environment. For example, I always offset my carbon footprint after every flight. BA has a really handy tab for this at the bottom of the booking page.
    Also, as a BA gold who never mileage runs, I must agree that I take issue with it. First of all, it’s a total waste of time. If I have to go down to silver for a year, fine. My time is more valuable than being able to use first class vs business class check in. Aside from that, it’s selfish. We need to use the luxury of flying places responsibly, or else it won’t be available at all to future generations, who will be in such a rut that they need to cut it out from society altogether.

  10. To address the specific point about FF programs, I disagree entirely. Making travel affordable for ordinary people does not pertain to the overall impact of flying on the environment. If we want to combat this impact, here are some ideas?

    A) Require airlines/aircraft manufacturers to split cost of carbon offsetting flights
    B) Limit # of private jet flights possible (ban private jets apart from Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc.)
    C) Add a small ‘carbon tax’ (this could be just $10 per flight) to any fare. I imagine this would raise hundreds of billions for the environment.
    D) Limit airport expansion. I’m really conflicted about Heathrow expansion (live in London), as the current situation gives BA a de facto monopoly, but we can’t keep expanding LHR. Doing so would increase congestion and pollution in London and destroy the local communities in Hounslow.

  11. Wow – the most ignorant of commenters certainly jumped in quickly on this post. There is no denying the environmental damages from the aviation industry, though it is a small contributor compared to other sectors. I would be sad to see frequent flyer programs go, but if that is a step that is needed to reduce unnecessary flying then so be it. Let’s see what emerges from CORSIA. We are already seeing airlines stepping up technology advances and with national offsets. International offsets will follow. That is not the end though, but steps in right direction.

  12. How many people are really doing mileage runs for status? Such a nonsensical argument. I’m all for cheaper airfare but maybe there shouldn’t be budget airlines if planes are having that big of an impact on the environment. Or how about all these activists just never fly on a plane again?

  13. It’s an interesting question. I am concerned about the impact my travel has on the environment, especially all the flying I do now thanks to credit cards and frequent flyer miles. I wouldn’t be able to travel this much without those programs. But I think levying taxing on flying in general is a better way to discourage it. Flying is cheaper than taking the train sometimes now. We need to make sure we are paying for the impact we have.

  14. @Levy Flight

    Agreed. I don’t think frequent flyer programs are the problem here, but do think radical action needs to be taken.

  15. Yes. We need to reduce the number of people flying. Make EVERY seat first class with full recline, even on 45 min flights. And charge accordingly. I’m tired of the people up front subsidizing the unwashed masses and their environmentally destructive ways. Make the average ticket $1000+ like it was in the good old days like people complain about before the airlines got greedy with their $11 fares….

  16. Tax carbon worldwide to an extend that is forces innovation into green energy at an unprecedented scale. All for the small changes we can make in our day to day life as a way of showing you care but the reality is we need systemic change of how we harness energy.

    The key issue is overconsumption of…well everything. $11 EU budget fares, return to Asia from the US at $500 leads to more people jumping on these flights than really ‘need to’.

    Tax carbon, flight prices go up to compensate and people fly less frivolously. New industries emerge to create greener energy and fuel and should have an advantage against those that are ruining the planet.

    Ps – Baby Boomers, you trashed the planet and while you had fun pretending you were progressive when you dropped acid once at college… it’s time to acknowledge you need some help digging out the hole you’re at the bottom of 😉

  17. Pollution (which is the part we as humans control) has been hijacked by socioeconomic activists.

    And they are slowing down real technology and policies to curb carbon pollution by fomenting debates on at best tangential issues that are disguise for redistribution.

    Don’t fall for it.

  18. Of course Climate activists want to ban frequent flyer programs . . . they all fly private!

    Climate change is a false religion with a 100% failed prophecy rate. New York and Miami are not underwater, we have not disappeared in a blue mist, and banning frequent flyer programs and other forms of fun will accomplish nothing.

  19. Can not wait to read about all the multiple mileage runs that OMAAT readers do in December, eating steak on board in F and airports on all layovers.

    I will personally stop taking all hotel single use toiletries and donating to the homeless shelters, as that is now “taboo”

  20. I’m flying from Denver to Bangkok in January, most of it in first class on Cathay Pacific, and coming back via business class on JAL. I could never afford such premium travel if it weren’t for points.

    This one trip alone gives me the same carbon footprint that ten average people in India emit in a year.

    And no, I won’t be offsetting it.

  21. It’s a fact that flights contribute to the environmental issue we have. It’s also a fact that flying is often the most convenient method to get somewhere.

    Avoiding unnecessary flying should be the goal in the short term. I think the impact of frequent flyer programs are more than you think Lucky. For example, if you’re BA Executive Club gold in London, and have the option of a BA flight or the train to Paris, which would you choose? Most if not all would take the flight, even if the train is equally convenient.

    Secondly, frequent flyer miles, for their benefits, do make flying cheaper, and do make people more likely to take extravagant routings or flights than they normally would.

    Changes need to be made. A frequent flyer membership ban is likely going to be lower on the effectiveness list, but I can see how it would help. But I do think all of us should consider making changes. Does it suck for people who like flying? Undoubtedly. Do these sucky changes need to be made for the environment? It looks likely.

    I’d rather fly less, or pay money to offset my carbon, than have to deal with the consequences for years, or worse, deny future generations the joys I had.

  22. @Giri – Even banning frequent flyer programs isn’t enough for many environmental activists. Increasingly, they are calling for flights to be rationed, to the point that one would only be allowed to go on one or two longhaul flights in an entire lifetime.

    And forget about business or first….

  23. I think the market is doing this already though? The 2020+ MileagePlus program could plausibly be part of United’s EcoSkies initiative.

  24. I vividly remember being told when I was a kid that acid rain and the ozone hole were going to fry us all to death. That was if we didnt suffocate from the rain forest being cut down.

    NONE of the garbage these people predict EVER comes to pass. Anyone who believes these fearmongering predictions is weak-minded. It’s the modern version of the religious wack jobs that convinced people the world was about to end. They are batting .000 and people take them seriously

  25. The bigger problem is overpopulation of the Earth.
    Maybe people should be taxed through the nose if they have more than two kids!

  26. The activists, bureaucrats, politicians and political donors will still be allowed to fly, of course. Some of us are more equal than others.

  27. How can a celebrity or politician truly believe in man made climate change and then get in a private jet to one of their 10;000 to 20,000 sq ft vacation homes. It’s not hypocritical it’s a pure lie. The carbon footprint of just one.of these people is probably bigger than 10,000 families.

  28. I’m very concerned about the environment – but I wouldn’t support this in a million years.

    Any solution to solving climate change shouldn’t be about depriving people of what brings them joy. Travel has ultimately been a force for good in the world. We should be investing our time, energy, and resources into new technologies that de-carbonize travel.

  29. Grumpy Texan – the hole in the ozone layer did most certainly come to pass. You can go to Antarctica and measure it yourself if you like. We did something about the problem and it’s starting thd heal it’s self.

  30. The people recommending the banning or reduction of air travel must be shills for the train and auto industries, and also hypocrites. How are they hypocrites? If you examine their lives closely you will be able to find short comings that they tolerate about themselves. It could be selfishness, rudeness, lack of support for people in need, inconsiderateness, wasteful spending, laziness etc. So they spend their time on what they perceive to be other people’s shortcomings while disregarding their own shortcomings. Attacking climate change instead of working on their own personal short comings. Truly pathetic individuals.

  31. Thanks for posting this – really interesting to hear your take!

    Having considered it, I actually think United are missing a trick with their programme relaunch. It can be argued that the “greenest” FFP is one that is 100% revenue based, since that way no-one is ever rewarded differently for different patterns of behaviour. 😉 In this sense, I think the end of the mileage run (already mostly dead) is no bad thing – even though I did plenty of this before I was more environmentally aware.

    It’s pretty clear that the individuals writing these policies don’t have a clear understanding of how airline programs work. There’s no way these can be banned globally (regardless of the worthiness of the aim), and the report makes no mention of how it would address things like alliance earning, codeshares, business lost to international airlines, etc. It would also be confiscatory to those people who have existing balances in these programmes. It also ignores the fact that many credit cards collect points or “cash back” that is not inherently tied to FFPs. And if it somehow did happen, airlines would find other ways to reward customers for flying with them – whether cash rebates, instant discounts, buying into “membership clubs” for perks (like EasyJet Plus).

    Finally, a point that often gets missed is that redemptions are among the greenest flying around (second only to staff standby travel!), since they are capacity controlled and based on seats the airline does not believe it can sell for cash (except where minimum seat provisions are in effect e.g. 2 club world/flight on BA). If people are going to travel, far better that they are encouraged into seats that would otherwise be empty than to contribute to the demand curve and result in an increase in supply.

  32. No matter what you stand, just remember banning FFP is like banning guns, banning tobacco, banning all drugs, banning the use of “Ladies and Gentlemen”, ……
    —Attempt of Libtards to limit personal freedom with political correct stances and “moral high” ground.
    I mean, you either take the whole package, support them thoroughly, or disapprove them thoroughly.
    Anything in the middle is mere inconsistent and extreme level of selfishness

  33. On a distinct but closely related note, I think award travel is potentially environmentally friendly. If we assume leisure travel won’t be banned any time soon, as a political reality, then a secondary goal of the environmental movement should be increasing fuel economy of jet travel—trying to get everyone where she wants to go while spending the least amount of fuel. Most of the fuel spent in jet travel goes to transporting the weight of the plane and the staff, so it’s certainly better in terms of carbon expenditure to fly one full plane than say two half-full planes. By my understanding, airlines tend to open up award seats when they know they will not otherwise sell those seats for cash. So passengers traveling on award seats are taking seats that would otherwise go empty. If at least some of the time these travelers would otherwise pay for a seat on plane 2, but instead choose to take otherwise empty seats on plane 1, they’re decreasing the demand for plane 2 through award travel and improving fuel efficiency. A fortiori for business and first class award travel. Someone who knows more about the airline industry please correct me if I have this wrong.

  34. They forget that people use air travel to connect with families on the other side of the world, medical, funerals etc
    Then I read one Norwegian activist claiming that when he flew over to London in October , it would be the last flight this year ?! Therefore in 3 months he can carry on again

    Whilst they have a point , they cannot dictate where we want to travel to and whether we chose to eat meat or not
    Amongst all these demonstrators are anarchists and complete nut jobs

    There are millions of people working in the airline sector. Many would be happy to put them all out of work, close down all airports and go back to the Middle Ages

  35. @standard The hole in the ozone ended up being a largely seasonal phenomenon. They fearmongered before they completely understood what was happening. This appears to be the same modus operandi as the climate change fearmongering.

    Most likely in a few decades we will know that any changes to the earth’s climate will have primarily been the result of natural phenomenon.

  36. If these people want to go to extremes, why don’t we tell the billions of people in the developing world who are just starting to experience air travel (have a look at the tremendous air travel growth in India/China) that no, us London elitists are brighter than you and we think you shouldn’t be able to see a higher standard of living. That’s my take.

  37. Do it. Just do it. I have long expecting such a move. Just banning airline FFPs of Britain, just banning airline FFPs of the States.
    I longed for the move.
    Aeroflot Bonus Member

  38. Let’s ban shopping malls in favor of online shopping while we’re at it. Think of all the emissions wasted when everyone drives to the mall individually. Much better to have them all order online, and a single truck drives to each house on the block delivering the orders.

    What is the net gain if we ban climate change activists?

  39. I see your post has driven the droves of conspiracy theorists into the comments section. By the way, I thought the whole “motive” for the “hoax” is supposed to be to increase taxes? Here is a suggestion that has nothing to do with that — so of course, the narrative changes quickly and freely (consistency is never a priority), and now the motive is apparently to sadistically control private citizens just because. Oh, and don’t worry — these people waving their arms about this are *definitely* not the “alarmist” ones!

  40. It’s funny how people react so defensive here.
    The climate is affected by aviation. Period. It’s a fact.
    It’s also a fact that FFP’s do motivate to fly more. Also a fact.
    So you can conclude that FFP’s harm the climate, so the point of the activists is totally valid.
    But do we like it as FF’s in this community? No of course not, we love flying!:)
    So there is the conflict.
    It’s similar when governments around the western world (And beyond) started to ban smoking in various places around 15/20 years ago.
    People were offended and “taken their liberty away” etc.
    But now it’s the new normal.
    I expect this the same way to be with flying.
    Things will change.
    So instead of being defensive, embrace this change and accept its the new normal.
    Change is good. And sometimes difficult to accept for everybody.

  41. @BobTL – I think I’ll put off embracing the change for a bit. I have a RTW trip booked through ANA coming up in May. USA to UK, France, China, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and back, all in business class for 145,000 AmEx points.

    Best use of points *ever*.

  42. I propose we resurrect the great Chairman Mao’s great leap forward program. The emissions reduction from those actions were tremendous (never mind the 30million sacrifices) . After all, change is always good. (sarc)

  43. 1 billion cars travel the earth every day, and yet some people believe there is no negative effect from this pollution.

    You have to be astonishingly dense to claim that pollution is a hoax. But yet, it seems many readers of this site are part of that small, uneducated group. It’s really sad.

  44. Prediction, that this post will have the most comment, full of nasty comments, manners are unheard of, people that have no knowledge of said subject will be experts cause they saw it on youtube. Hope I am wrong

  45. Wow @Lucky just hit the trifecta in one day. Maybe it’s a bit too much in a short time? What next, Trump 2020, minorities, income inequality, over population, Bernie Sanders, Airbus Boeing, Brexit, or back to HK.

    Now back to the issue. This topic mostly applies only in Europe where there is an efficient alternative to air, that is rail. In the rest of the world, we have a much worse rail system that there is no alternative to flying. It is pointless to argue since these people still flies. They can’t even put a tree in where their mouth is. And red meat is still a big contribution factor to climate.

  46. @ Grumpy Texan Travel (and other anti-science nutjobs herein)

    Acid Rain. Not a conspiracy theory from your childhood. A real environmental issue. Identified by science and fixed by a combination of science and government intervention (including Clean Air Act 1990). Unfortunately, a 20 plus year delay in action as vested interests campaigned against reality.

    Ozone layer. Again. Science finds the culprit. Ozone crippling chemicals regulated (CFCs). Disaster averted. Thank you science.

    Amazes me you muppets are happy to enjoy the fruits of science and technology (antibiotics, medical breakthroughs, etc), but reject science because when it doesn’t fit with your personal idiocy.

    A lot of you, apparently, in your country of nearly 50% creationists…sad…

  47. @Clay

    You say they’ve all been hoaxes, but remember the ozone layer crisis? An actual crisis of a the ozone layer deteriorating. And want to know how we solved it? Humans, countries all banded together, agreed that it was an issue, and banned CFCs. And surprise surprise, 30 years later the ozone layer has repaired itself. Almost like we could do the same thing for climate change…

  48. Wow this post has driven so many anti-science conspiracy theorists into your comments section, it’s frightening. These are presumably the same people who refuse to get their children vaccinated.

    I won’t go into ge basic and proven science underpinning human-caused climate change, but as many other (better educated) commenters have pointed out there are already multiple examples of humans working together to solve climate crises that we’ve caused (eg the ozone layer).

    Having said that, it seemed clear that in this case climate activists are attacking the wrong areas in terms of air travel. As bad as it sounds, the vast majority of growth in air travel in the past 20 years has been driven by LCCs and ULCCs, and the fare wars they’ve caused. Therefore the quickes solution to disincentivize growth in travel would be to re-regulate fares and make flying the more expensive proposition it once was. Unfortunately, this would deprive millions of the chance to travel abroad for the first time, and it doesn’t fit with the (often illogical) “social justice” skew that many climate change activities artificially bolt-on to their arguments.

  49. Congress and a future President can quickly stop all flying with passage of laws. Same for cars and trucks. We shall see if they have the courage of their convictions and how the American people will react to this when it happens. I wonder how the reaction will compare to the reaction to Prohibition?

  50. The mental abuse that these eco-loonies are putting on the children, including St. Greta, should be sufficient to allow for some kind of legal prosecution.

    I am gratified that the majority on here have not fallen for the AGW drivel.

  51. Of course is having a status with an airline elitist and of course is doing milage runs horrible for the environment.
    But then again who gives a f*ck? It’s all good as long we are on the winning end of things. And no, this isn’t meant to be cheeky -> I too don’t give a flying (pun) f*ck when I am sipping on my $25 cocktail in a 5* Hotel after a relaxing business flight.
    And that sums up the current situation in the world quite nicely: Why would us rich people (and we are all uber rich on the world scale) make compromises when it comes to our luxuries? Afterall – we earned it 😉

  52. This is the kind of silliness that makes “average” people ignore or stop respecting what these “activists” are promoting. Instead of talking down to people (e.g. Greta) and trying to understand them, they belittle them and make them out to be evil for trying to earn a living.

  53. “A majority of miles are issued through non-flying means”

    I would really like a source saying that was true anywhere but in the US. I seriously doubt that is true in the UK (where the report comes from) or anywhere in Europe.

  54. @Airfarer. The truth can be harsh but it’s a fact aviation is polluting and affection the climate. That might be an inconvenience truth for you but it’s reality. Change is going to come whether you want it or not.
    You are of course entitled to think that youngsters are being brainwashed but that doesn’t take the reality even a little bit away.
    As mentioned above, the US doesn’t have a modern railway system, because of many reasons, but maybe change will come.

  55. More practical and immediate approach would be to ban airlines to charge notorious prices for direct routes so that people don’t go through transits out of their way. It’s called negative externality and it’s one of a very few exceptions that even Chicago economists would agree on government intervention

  56. Nobody is forced to travel by air if they dont want to.

    Let us be! (I have my next 12 flight segments booked! :))

  57. Working in this industry for years and being a heavy frequent flyer (without mileage program access), I am trying to give a personal view on this.

    I do agree that the airline industry has a big stake in environmental topics and that a clear responsibility must be taken. However, I also think that the airlines already contribute massively to more ecological flying. Maybe this is out of financial motivations rather than idealistic ones, yet, it cannot be ignored that the airlines are continuously lowering their carbon emissions every year. More efficient fleets are the way to go for the airlines and the manufacturers know that as well. As long as fuel is a major cost driver in a highly competitive market environment, airlines will automatically aim for efficiency. If we go back to protectionism and regulation again, this will have the opposite of the desired effects.

    In addition, we see heavy investment in initiatives that make the skies more efficient. This includes CORSIA but also SESAR and NextGen, which will allow for optimized routings and approach patterns that can lower fuel consumption by 15% by eliminating unnecessary holding.

    Furthermore, I still do not know why climate change activists are targeting aviation to the extent they do. Probably it is easy for them as the simple mind generally needs an easily identifiable culprit. Depending on the source, the entire aviation industry contributes between 2 and 4 % of global carbon emissions. Even meat consumption contributes massively more than that. At the same time, we should not forget the enormous benefits our society experiences through aviation. Increasing global welfare, connectivity of goods, information, and culture would all not be possible without aviation. People tend to forget how much airfreight (medical supplies, samples, parts, goods) are shipped by air on a daily basis.

    While I am not a fan of low cost carriers, the CEO of Easy Jet recently made a good statement. He said that the demand for mobility in the 21st century will not just disappear. It will increase. People will not suddenly want to go back to the ages when transatlantic travel was a once in a lifetime experience for the rich and seeing family or experiencing different cultures were a rare occasion. This will not just change because a minority of people wants to push extreme measures to achieve their own idea of a world controlled by green ideology.

    Conclusively, I am trying to say that the benefits of aviation to society, economy, and global welfare far outweigh the disadvantages. The airline industry is on a good way and is already doing significantly more than others to limit their impact. Society will not go back to the dark ages.

  58. People and all other living animals sort of pollute/generate trash, but eliminating all pollution is never going to happen. And eliminating frequent flyer plans won’t eliminate all air pollution. In a sort of irony, if airlines eliminated frequent flyer programs, some airline loyalty program captives may even fly more as the direct financial cost of flying could perhaps drop overall as customers become less subject to “loyalty programs”.

    To Peter/grizzly: With regard to your claim/wish of “Live by political correctness, die by political correctness”, you should be thankful for political correctness. In the absence of political correctness — even in this neo-PC era — you’re more likely to be subject to the whims of the governmental authorities who care to beat you, rape/sodomize you, lock you up, execute you, or otherwise make your living existence and those you care about less comfortable than it has been.

  59. @ Airfarer

    The real sadness is that idiots deny science and then pollute their children with fairy tales about religious and political nonsense.

    You should be teaching your children the capacity for independent critical thought, not indoctrinating them with your right-wing trash and religious faith-babble.

    Such is the arrogance of denying the younger generation their own voice in the debate.

    Such is the nastiness of launching personal attacks on children having the courage to put forward their views.

    What debate? There isn’t one when you insist on denial of reason. Oh yes, you’re stuck in your belief systems and unable to think for yourselves. No debate possible with the stupid, ill-informed, ill-educated and those lacking in any intellectual capacity.

    What a sad and twisted mob you are…and such a shame that do such damage to the future to the very children that are so determined to shit over from a great height.

    Maybe those in denial of science should be denied access to the benefits of science. And be forced to live in a world where none of the hard-won environmental successes of previous decades apply.

  60. After I stopped laughing for an hour…

    It would make more sense to look at the real issues here. Not only listen to the left side of the politics who often “change “the story to fit their agenda. Mostly it’s plain economics and the real issue is not addressed. It only will have an effect if all countries will do something AND if we address the real issues.

    So now back to the real important stuff.

  61. I will gladly stop flying airplanes for business and private pleasure (all for civil purpose) and never eat meat again once the CO2 footprint of the military sector is tackled. It is well known whose military is by far the largest in the world (with 700+ bases outside their territory) and how many hundreds of thousands barrels of oil (tens of millions liter) are consumed every freaking day. Same organization force their allies to increase their own budget such that they can better „export democracy“. How about the climate snowflakes criticise them first before tyrannise us. HOW DARE YOU!

  62. @ Lucky

    Your headline is a bit disingenuous. The Committee on Climate Change is an independent body established by the UK parliament to provide independent advice to the UK government. As a statutory body, it is weird to describe them as “climate activists”.

    The report they commissioned is from one of the world’s top engineering/science-led universities.

  63. Thier lack of understanding that maybe 1% of flights are for this reason is what really scares me.

    This craziness makes me want to abstain from voting in 2020 or vote for Donald. This type of idiotic non scientific reactionary approach makes me fearful of Democrat party rule.

  64. @ Platy

    There is no need to call someone names because you are disagreeing on their views.
    What is it with internet that people are calling names when there is a difference of opinion?
    In what way does that contribute in any way?

  65. Lop to the leftist for saying the right is anti science. Lol lol lol. You must not study genetically modified food, genetics or any other science with an inconvenient truth.

    As for global warming, renamed climate change after the facts no longer fit the narrative( global temps increasing less and less) all of the science is highly suspect.

    Also remember that all universities are leftist because of selection bias andvthe only way to get grant money is to placate the leftist. So… Alternative data is buried or criminally modified like was done in the UK.

  66. Climate change is the biggest hoax ever, just an excuse for governments and big corporations to control us. Once communism failed they had to come with new excuses for the same thing… anti-racism and environmentalism are the premier means of that.

    Great scientific response to the lies of climate change:

  67. To the extent that people are redeeming award tickets for seats that would otherwise have gone empty, the marginal impact of one more person on board is small.

    Not that I’m recommending it, but If you banned all premium sections on all flights, you would a) discourage business travel significantly; and b) get more efficient energy usage per passenger mile flown. I wouldn’t favor their elimination, but expect there will be a new tax/surcharge on them before long.

    It is an extremely tiny part of the overall number of passengers that do mileage runs for status, but if there were some way to target and discourage that, it would be a good idea.

  68. @ BobTL

    Only balancing the ledger, mate, given the trash talk already posted by the idiots of the right wing, citing various posts above:

    “socially totalitarian”
    “puritanical wannabe tyrants”
    “borderless, no-family, spiritless, new world order”
    “Marxist Leninist fanstasies”
    “ignoramooses and diehard libertarians”
    “loud obnoxious hypocritical minority”
    “alarmist morons”
    “anarchists and complete nut jobs”

    Now – if anyone wants an informed debate they can read the whole report by downloading it from the official UK government website (of the CCC) and come back with a reasoned opinion:

    “Behaviour change, public engagement and Net Zero (Imperial College London)”

    This is a government-commissioned report, not some fringe leaflet. It’s purpose is to address strategies for 2050 targets:

    Behaviour change in Net Zero

    “…The IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels strengthened the case for pursuing greater efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In May 2019 the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) updated its advice to the UK Government detailing the recommended timing and scenarios for a net-zero emissions target to contribute to the global ambitions set out in the Paris Agreement. The CCC recommended a UK target of net-zero emissions by 2050 and this has now also been adopted by Government which is now legally committed to delivering it. It is in this context that this report considers the contribution of behavioural and societal shifts to delivering the long-term UK Net Zero target and how policy can support these changes. It identifies opportunities for where shifts in behaviour could deliver deep emissions reductions and recommends policies that could help to deliver them.

    The UK has reduced emissions by 40% since 1990 while its economy has grown. This progress has come largely from things that have not involved consumers changing their behaviour – notably decarbonisation of electricity supply. The UK is not on course to meet the legally binding fourth and fifth carbon budgets and rising to the challenge of Net Zero scenarios will require major progress in all sectors and for behavioural shifts to play a much greater role. On a global basis, household consumption accounts for almost three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions. The need for changes in household consumption is even more pressing in wealthy countries such as the UK and there is an urgent need to identify and implement solutions for promoting greater engagement and action from citizens and consumers.”

  69. Lets ban volcanos and termites too since they create a lot of greenhouse gas.

    The military too. They’re one of the biggest (human-made) polluters on earth.

    Oh, wait…They kill people, so they’re good for the environment. Can’t have overpopulation.

    Waaaaait! If climate change will kill all of us, that’s even better for the environment!

    OK. Lets keep the frequent fliers program.

  70. @BobmcBiber

    FWIW I have experience in genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, genetic modification, etc., at post graduate level.

    Shame to burst your stereotypes.

  71. …now to the actual report, which had been quoted out of context, the media picking up on the most obviously sensational angle at hand.

    There are about 50 recommendations in the actual report. On aviation growth the primary recommendation is:

    “…An Air Miles Levy which escalates with the air miles travelled by an individual within a three year accounting period could provide strong price signals to curb some demand by less price-sensitive frequent flyers, encourage shifting from long-haul to short-haul destinations and fund research into low-carbon aviation technology, while sparing the large majority of travellers any extra cost…”

    Now the offending recommendation (page 12) doesn’t actually say ban frequent flyer schemes, it says:

    “Introduce regulation to ban frequent flyer reward schemes that stimulate demand.”

    Not the same thing.

    Now can anyone else here with so many opinions and so much angst to vent be bothered to read the actual report?!

  72. PS. Note: the UK target of net-zero emissions by 2050 has been adopted by the (right of centre) UK Government which is now LEGALLY COMMITTED to delivering it. Hence canvassing the options…

  73. Frequent flyer miles should not be earned through credit card spend but only from actual flying. If, as has been suggested, airlines are only profitable through their association with banks and finance companies, then it’s a pretty scathing indictment of the industry: maybe they need to contemplate significantly increased fares to get back in the (real) black, rather than consigning a huge number of people to unsustainable credit card debt. It goes without saying that the rapacious vultures at the top of the frequent flyer food chain wouldn’t like it.
    President Elect Warren might just do something about it…I hope so.

  74. @platy

    That was great, the rant of the left losing the plot. But at least it was cogently written.

    I am as far from religious as it’s possible to get. Hitchens is one of my life’s heroes. The title of St. Greta was a concession to you ecoists who seem to have elevated her to an icon in the Church/Temple whatever of Global Warming.

    It’s your nonsense that’s making 8-year-olds cry – not mine. Children, including Greta, should be protected, not exploited as the greenies seem to enjoy.

    What a sad, joyless life there must be on the other side.

  75. @ Airfarer

    No, mate, I base my decisions on an evidence-based approach and Richard Dawkins was my hero (Hitchens was great too).

    You can tell the younger generations that you were one of the denialists when they ask why you didn’t do more.

    Now, have you actually read the report?

  76. @ Paolo

    Literally billions of dollars flow from credit card issuers to the airline frequent flyer programs through the sale of miles. The co-marketing is also entrenched.

    The airline loyalty programs aren’t going to give up that revenue.

    Evolved programs are no longer programs based on flying!

    What would be interesting is if governments viewed miles as financial currencies rather than of zero cash value – then financial regulations would come into play, and potential tax liabilities, etc., especially with an estimated 50 trillion miles in play (worth $100s billions depending upon your valuation per mile).

  77. If those climate activists really want to do something, then they just kill themselves and make sure they don’t get children before they do so. Think of how much that saves in emissions, for generations to come!

    Honestly, aviation and farming are getting too much blame by uninformed screamers who just want their photo on the front page. Just like most of the help after the tsunami in Thailand went to getting fishermen new boats, as that looked good on the photo. As a result, everyone there is a fisherman now and the sea is almost empty, while none of the fishermen actually can make a living anymore. Thanks a lot for the ‘help’, you bunch of altruistic media whores.

    I’m not too convinced that frequent flyer programs actually cause people to fly more. Flying also costs a lot of money and time, which basically limits people to start with gaining status in the first place. As a lot of programs are based on revenue now instead of mileage flown (or a combination of mileage and booking class), there’s no longer really a point in saying that it causes us to fly more and further because we need to make miles in the air. We need to spend $$$ in the air now. This eliminates the connection that environmental fundamentalists claim exists between frequent flier programs and flying extra much and far. Trust me, I won’t be spending a ton of money on a product if I don’t need it. If I’m allowed to fly first or business, then I will do just that. Most business/first already includes all the benefits (plus the hard product of the seat!) that a status card offers. So then there’s no need to invest amount x to get a shiny card to get me the benefits I already paid for. Most airlines offer to pay for lounge access or fast track or seat choice anyway when flying economy, so there you can basically just buy the ‘hard’ benefits on the flights you need to make, which might be cheaper than randomly flying for amount x to get a shiny card to get those benefits you just paid for. And it saves a lot of time, too. 🙂
    For ‘soft’ benefits, like waiting list priority: if you don’t fly so much at random to earn points, then the chance of irregularities also decreases significantly, which in turn reduced the amount of times one needs to use this. So really, there’s no connection anymore between programs and being urged to flying much extra.

    A lot of programs now offer a different status point program compared to points for spending. As such, flying long distances and a lot. An extreme example here might be coming from SK. I get equally many points when flying BGO to SVG (about 50 miles) in economy compared to CPH-LAX (about 100 times the distance). 100 points it is…

    Also note that some frequent flier programs don’t offer status to their pax, but ‘advantages’. For example Norwegian offers free seat choice after 12 legs in one year, or free luggage, or free fast track. But not status. There’s no shiny cards involved there. And you lose the advantage again if you don’t qualify again within 12 months.
    Cebu Pacific is the same. You just get points for your flights, based on the money you spend. And you can use those points as currency for not just flights, but also add-ons or physical products. No shiny card there, no status.
    Trust me, I won’t voluntarily sit on a plane 12 times in a row just so my next flight will have free seating or a free piece of luggage to check in. Just think of how many assigned seats I could buy for that…

  78. @platy I feel bad for you. Your field has been gutted by political correctness. A total disgrace. You know less than people 50 years ago in your field.

  79. People fly because they have to fly. Yes, there might be a flight taken to secure program status. But to just fly for miles is like stepping over a dollar for a dime – or quarter as it might be.

  80. President elect warren??? Lololol trump will destroy her on education. Will easy win suburban moms.

    Can you imagine her debating Trump om education??? Her complaining about cost… Hmm laughing.. Moderator asking why he is laughing.

    He clearly says “she make 400k a yesr for teaching 1 class. I dont need to say more to realize that she is the problem with education not the solution. …. But I will she only got that job by lying about being a native American both hurting the fair chance of others amd mocking the native American people as she is 1 /1024 native American. so American people you want to know why college cost so much and admissions are so difficult to obtain.. Look at her that is the face that has robbed your child of the future.


  81. While you are all debating this, I have an easy solution. Call up Thanos and get him to do his infamous finger snap to wipe out half the earth’s population. Then we won’t need so many planes to fly everyone around.

    I remember in 1985 when “the experts” said we’d be out of oil by the year 2000. while I believe we definitely have some issues climate change wise, I do think you have to look at prior experts’ track records. They aren’t always right.

  82. Bobmcbiber,

    Let’s not pretend as if you weren’t already a big Trump fan regardless of the environmental issues being faced in the world. A few European fans of banning frequent flyer programs isn’t what makes you and keeps you as a fan of a Trump Presidency and his re-election. Putin’s Comrade Trump has already come to count on you and the legions of people who have a bizarre psychology of accommodation when it comes Trump, whereby you’ve accommodated his weirdo, anti-American behavior to such extent that you think any defeat of Trump is a defeat of you and your ideological affiliations.

    Be a realist, not a Trump-like snowflake. 😉

  83. This got to be the worst “report”. Of all the thing that contribute to climate change, they make a report of the one that that contribute the least to it. A very few does mileage runs. And they only make them is they are close to meeting the requirement. No one flies all year around as a mileage run, they fly because they need to.

    I wonder if ANY of these activists or people the did the report are actual “frequent flyers”.

  84. Wow. The right wing, below-the-line trolls are strong on this one! Appreciate many of them live in Social media echo-chambers, thriving off conspiracy theories. I can never understand why you wouldn’t prioritise around a better environment…regardless of whether you see it as a crisis or not.

  85. If they could at least get American to do away with unnecessary married segments on Saver awards I could buy into that.

  86. Don’t worry everybody… Clay has been on this earth for 48 years out of its 4.6 billion year existence, and he hasn’t witnessed climate change so were all good. Fly all you want.

  87. First, they came for my neighbors CFC filled hairspray and I did not speak out
    as I didn’t use hairspray.
    Then they came for R12 Freon in cars and I did not speak out
    as my old Suburu didn’t have AC.
    Then they came for plastic straws and I did not speak out
    as I don’t usually use straws and kinda like the paper ones.
    Then they came for the frequent flyer programs and I did not speak out
    As my elite program had devalued so far that it didn’t pay to be loyal.
    Then they came to try and recycle the metal in my Chase Sapphire Card – and there was no one left to speak for me as they are all on vacation in the Maldives using airline miles and hotel points.

  88. @TM…Interestingly, by viewing little more than a century of weather data, the climate change activists expect us to believe their narrative. There’s appears to be a moral equivalency.

  89. What would benefit the climate more – getting rid of the airplanes or the cows? I’d gladly quit eating meat if it came to a choice between flying and meat to save the environment. And I don’t buy into the premise that frequent flyer programs result in people taking more flights. I only fly when I need to not because I’m in FFPs.

  90. If the climate change folks were serious, they would put this pressure on the higher polluters like China and India. They know that there have been and will continue to be huge strides to reduce pollution over time. This whole guilt and shame nonsense has to stop.

  91. In completely unrelated news, people hate change, lack critical thinking skills and refuse to see what’s right in front of their noses. What a time to be alive!

  92. @ TM , as @JAmes N stated, roughly 1000 years of data, on a 4.5 billion year old planet, ( less then 2/10000 of data points) and somehow we’re all doomed?

  93. Going after our airplanes, pickups, straws and hamburgers is exactly what the oil companies want.

    The point of flight shame in Europe is that they often are using flights when there are electrified railways that could serve their journeys.

    First we make the railway journeys electric, fast and reasonably priced. Just like was done with Eurostar London-Paris.

    Then people will take the train instead of flying for many trips.

  94. if all humans died tomorrow the earths climate will still change. its been changing since before mankind and it will change after mankind. banning flying, cars, planes, oil, meat farming and everything else will not stop climate change.

  95. At least United is doing everything it can to reduce the amount of people using their frequent flyer program to obtain flights, it’s probably all just for the environment 😉

  96. “But if we’re going to take a radical approach to climate change” then we have to outlaw breathing. Every time you exhale, you spew out “pollution” (sic) ie CO2. Shame on you for destroying the earth just because it pleases you to breathe.

    “Climate Activists Want to” control every aspect of our lives. It’s not about the environment, because if it was, they’d not be prattling on about FF programs, they’d be yelling at China for building a new coal fired power plant every week of the year. But they never mention COMMUNIST China, since the whole point is to destroy Capitalism. Which would eventually destroy our whole Western Industrial Society, that generations before us worked so hard to create. This worked so well in Venezuela that they want to impose it on the entire Western World.

    Why did the Roman Empire become so powerful? Because it was much warmer then than it is now, leading to abundant food production, so they could take men off the farms and put them in the Legions that conquered virtually all of Western Europe.

    Why were the Vikings able to create colonies in Greenland, which is now mostly glacier covered? Because it was much warmer then, for a while, then it is now. When the Climate cooled down, and the glaciers returned to cover their fields, then had to return home to Denmark and Norway.

    There is no such thing as a “climate denier” (sic). Everyone believes that climate not only exists, but changes. But only the climate “activists” think that they now what is going to happen next, and therefore it’s their right to force the whole world to Kowtow to their insane demands.

  97. @RobertHanson, you’ve got a strawman of “woke” college kids crusading against “capitalism” as some sort of boogie man. Yes, there was a little ice age, yes the climate changes over time. Anyone who isn’t totally ignorant of natural history understands that.

    Human-driven climate change is occurring at a pace seldom seen before and coupled with other environmentally destructive practices, really is going to change the way we live in the world. The frightening thing is that it seems to be accelerating.

    The US Government’s own studies released have already convincingly argued that Climate Change could cost over 10% of our GDP by 2100. We’ll both be be dead of course, but this is not some fever dream or “hoax” as some moron above stated. People only argue against Climate Change as a real challenge if they’re ignorant or desperate to deny reality because they just don’t want to consider any changes to their lifestyle.

    No banning FF Programs is a marginal adaption, but aviation as currently operated is a big driver of carbon emissions which drives CC and all of its negative outcomes. It is insane how many people on this thread don’t get that simple fact, but would rather bloviate about strawmen.

  98. Some of the funniest and greatest comments on any article this year. Too many to mention all but I love Air Mika’s comment.

    And Peter’s, “Live by political correctness, die by political correctness” is a very powerful piece of wisdom.

  99. Lucky could earn some extra money by selling Trump the email addresses of these old white climate change-deniers.

    And you wonder why the Millennials can’t wait for the Boomers to die off.

  100. @Guthrie

    Hilarious! “Climate change deniers” LMFAO! You must be a “Reality Denier” because none of these climate change myths have ever come to pass as it’s complete garbage, LOL. I hate to inform you, but Santa, the Tooth Fairy & the Easter Bunny are fictitious as well. Earth & Climate are fine, carry on

  101. There are a couple of interesting NYTimes articles about the environmental impact of flying.

    One talks about the amount of trash generated on each flight
    “From disposable headphones and plastic cutlery to food scraps and toilet waste, the average airline passenger leaves behind over three pounds of garbage”

    Another talks about how airline emissions are outpacing estimates:

  102. I mean, if you eliminated frequent flyer programs, I still have to get from point A to point B. So, I still need to fly. I agree that “back in the day” more people did status runs but is that happening as much as it used to?
    Regardless, banning it isn’t the solution. Once someone figures out how to make a “green energy” airplane (looking at you Elon Musk), they will be one of the richest people on the planet. The incentive is there, just the technology isn’t and trying to get flights banned essentially isn’t going to help.

  103. We need to provide incentives for more environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft. This includes requiring that a flight cannot have X Grams of CO2 per Passenger, and replacing older aircraft:
    Think (By 2030):
    All A320CEO/737 Classics/Next Gens replaced by A320NEO/737MAX or other new generation aircraft, including but not limited to the A220, Comac C919, and Irkut MC-21.
    All 50-Seaters replaced by either newer aircraft with less fuel consumption and equal capacity or more capacity and same fuel consumption.
    All Previous-Generation Widebodies, and to a lesser extent, the 757, replaced by A330neo/777X/787/A350 or others.
    All MD-80s/90s/717s replaced by new aircraft.
    Stopping the use of single-use plastics onboard aircraft and switching to more sustainable meals, which can still be animal-based, encouraging people to fly less and take public transport, and considerably upsizing the mass transit systems in America, and switching entirely to biofuels should help solve the aviation problems or at least reduce the carbon footprint of flying. All of this shouldn’t be too expensive and many previous gen aircraft will be replaced by 2030.

  104. When Bernie and Elizabeth and George Clooney and Al Gore and Lady Gaga and Barack and LeBron and Leonardo and the whole hypocritical flock of these hectoring clowns stop flying in private jets among their multiple mansions, get back to me. Until then, f them and the jet they flew in on.

    When the people who tell me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis, maybe I will believe it’s a crisis.

  105. “What do you guys think”. Lucky shame on you for using A gender specific Term in addressing your audience…shame shame shame!!!!! More PC garbage to follow for sure.

  106. @ Jay


    The intention of the report was to propose ways in which behaviours could be driven in individuals: thus consider frequent flyer programs that increase demand among other suggestions. Hence the main recommendation to create disincentives for multiple flight behaviours – a bit like a congestion tax in busy cities like London.

    Corporate level responsibility assumed to go hand-in-hand (not in scope of the report).

    In backward governments like Australia (right-wing big coal apologists) funding of clean energy, etc., being stripped back, such is the connection between self-interest in coal / oil companies and the right-wing parties who enjoy their cash donations and live in denial of the need for any environmental action.

    Here in Australia did come and supply a battery to the state of South Australia to support the use of clean energy and help to meet the issue of variable demand across a range of temporal scales.

  107. If you see a problem in this case climate and you do not do everything possible to reduce your impact, yet expect others to alter their lifestyle instead, you are part of the problem.

  108. The Earth is 4 1/2 billion years old, give or take a year or 2. I have no doubt that the climate has changed radically during that time. Global Cooling was what the nuts were concerned about in the ’70’s. The Polar Ice cap was going to expand to Europe and North America. Now that same Ice Cap is melting? Climate Change is the biggest Conspiracy Theory that has been successfully bought by Socialists and Communists and spread to gullible followers.
    We all can be conservationists at certain levels. Who wants dirty air or water? Not me. And my family will do what it can to conserve, reuse and leave better when we leave than when we arrived. But I can only roll my eyeballs when someone like AOC tells me when the Earth is going to end in 12 years unless address this sham.
    I refuse to change my lifestyle when their solution to this Hoax will have the outcome equivalent of slowing down an 18 wheeler traveling on an Interstate Highway by throwing a mosquito into the windshield.

  109. @ Bobmcbiber

    Genetic engineering is not my field – just one of many areas in science and industry in which I am directly experienced.

    It has not been “political correctness” that has gutted genetic modification, but an endemic failure of that field to produce results: in short and in very simple terms (since there appears very little collective or individual intelligence in most of the comments in this thread), the genetic system is too complex (one gene affects another, etc) for the kindergarten level analysis applied typically in the field. Genes don’t work in isolation of each other. Environmental impacts (drought, salt) on, say, crop plants, don’t work in isolation of one another. Performing reductive methods will only work on the occasions when you stumble across the rare cases of linear and very simple subsystems.

    And would you call doing due diligence (for example, trials on a new medical drug) “political correctness” or do you expect innovation to be released into the community untested?

    Read the report. Educate yourself. And come back with some actual insight or informed opinion. I know that isn’t fashionable in the current political milieu, but it will still be science and technology and not a blind faith in negative politics or god-given fairies that will enrich your life and those of future generations.

    Your ignorance and lack of cogency are stupifying.

  110. Lol. I might just take a flight from one airport to another just out of irritation with these busybodies. They will not be happy until we are back in the 12th century. Regulate every facet of our lives. Ridiculous. The economic impact on many places, such as islands and such that rely on tourism would be devastating. These people have no economic sense at all.

  111. For people taking frequent short haul flights within the UK, I assume a lot of people are doing so for business. Therefore price increases wouldn’t be a deterrent.

    Train links can be very good if they’re connecting the cities you’re traveling between but if you needed to go from Belfast to London, it’d take most of the day if you avoided a flight.

  112. +1 @RobertHanson

    You know what’s a real shame? A bus load of climate ‘warriors’ going over a cliff… with an empty seat. The lunacy of this cult is astounding – carbon tax? Offsetting carbon footprints? I shouldn’t take advantage of cheaper flights, because I really don’t need too? We’re all going to be dead in 12 years?

    Eff it – I’m going to fly my ass across the country for a big steak, a huge cigar and a beer in Vegas, fly back later tonight, collect my FF miles and not give two fcuks about climate change.

  113. I agree with @the Nice Paul when he says the headline is a bit disingenuous. If you are following this issue you’ll know that a 2014 UK study from their Department for Transport revealed that 15% of the UK’s population took 70% of the flights, and the frequent flyers levy (as it’s being called in the policy proposal, not an elimination) was being considered to “constrain” frequent flyers, not end the programs. The UK press has published widely on considerations to make frequent flying more expensive, perhaps a sliding scale, not eliminating or penalizing those taking just one or two vacations a year.

  114. These fools don’t even know our ff programs were already attacked. My budget flight from Asia to Europe got zero miles with Delta even though I intentionally booked with a skyteam partner. It seems my cheap flight didn’t give me any miles! not even my usual 20%! I guess I’ll have to get a new cc to make up for it.

  115. Wow, who would have thought that the modern day Neanderthals and dinosaurs (see above) could be aroused from their complacency by the idea their flying habits could be disrupted!
    Of course the US airlines especially are doing a pretty good job of making it more and more difficult as devaluations and rule changes continue apace.
    New ideas thrown out there stimulate discussion and that’s what is important. The ranting of the likes of Bob are not.

  116. With so many divided thought here, it would be a good experiment if @Lucky can rig the 2020 election with fake news in his blog.

    You should realize that Delta has many partner tier. They don’t even list them alphabetically on for you.

  117. @ HereHare

    Be careful. You’re in danger of advocating a position based on facts and reason!

    And yes, the title of the article is utterly misleading.

    – The report isn’t by activists, but commissioned by government.
    – Frequent flyer programs aren’t being banned – rather proposals for how travel behaviour can be moderated put forward
    – The proposal was to ban programs which STIMULATE DEMAND

    Some thoughts…

    Loyalty schemes are of value to airlines since they affect the members’ choice of supplier: the research shows that when a member has successfully made a redemption they are more likely to pay for a ticket with that airline for their next flight.

    Loyalty programs are about directing choice, not stimulating overall demand.

    Individual travel behaviours are driven by cost considerations (a July 2019 survey in the USA by Bankrate found that 42% of those surveyed had skipped a one-night or more vacation in the previous 12 months due to cost).

    Increasingly, airline loyalty programs are divorced from earn on the airline anyway in favour of a wide range of partner earn and credit card earn.

    Also, 46% of airline members let their miles expire (September 2019 Bankrate survey).

  118. I fly frequently (95%) of the time for business. 50-70% of my points I donate to family members, who otherwise may not be able to afford to travel. Fortunately I’ve been more successful, but that being said, I don’t fly around to maintain status. That’s a complete waste of time. I also have issue with their thought process. They want to tax longer haul flights and encourage short haul flights. The biggest use of fuel is taking off and the climb out. Plus alternatives exist to short duration flights. It doesn’t make any sense. Last, let’s address the elephant in the room. We were never able to have kids, so we focused on our careers and our own lifestyle. Having kids is the biggest environmental impact you can have. You can take away every plastic bag, straw, airplane, etc. If you keep increasing the population of the earth exponentially, it won’t matter. People would be better off having one or two kids and having airplanes! Next we will take away hospitals, because after all keeping people alive is bad for the environment. Last, we should take away reward programs for shopping. Because eating too much is bad for the environment.

  119. Wow, this piece certainly has gotten the climate denialists into their customary apoplectic frenzy! Sadly, they regurgitate the same echo-chamber drivel that pollutes much discussion in English-speaking countries.

    Looks like the denial brigade deserves multiple Nobel prizes, since they apparently know better than the vast majority of practising atmospheric physicists and climatologists….not to mention U.S. DoD, NASA, the Royal Society and a host of other professional organizations

    For a blunt assessment of how debased this “debate” has become, see

  120. Guwonder. I am a fence sitter but I know liars when I see one. Guthrie…. Fu. I am conservative milenial. Like most we are silenced in real life but only talkmon Twitter and in voting booths. Conservatives are the science party amd nin hysterical party

  121. @platy who said anything about engineering you dummy. Wowowowowowo read my comment snd get back to me. When your “field” cant even admit that 31 of the last 32 people in the Olympics 100 meter dash have been of African heritage… Your field is OVER. my dingleberry contributes more. Only left wing bs gets funded sooo your field is garbage. You’re not @platy you’re patsy

  122. I’m not sure how minor the problem of frequent flyer programs is and I agree, you’d probably be biased here. However even if it was rather minor it would also be an easy to implement policy which affects only very few, rather wealthy people. Cumulatively, such policies will have a significant impact. I love flying, thus I know I will only reduce my traveling if measures are taken that make flying less affordable. So for my part, I’m in favor of all measures that make flying more expensive, including banning frequent flyer programs.

  123. @Ben – great to see the italics on “on some level” but surely should have put italics on “probably” as well…

    why is it i never see climate activists going after govt entities that are bad for the environment? instead of criticizing the govt that owns the roads for all the tremendous exhaust pollution from everyone in traffic (see every major smog city in the US) they’d rather petition for stupid crap like clean-idle engines that shut off while sitting – dumb.

    i do think planes pollute and a lot but FF programs? dog chasing their tail there.

  124. 1. With the continued monetization of FF programs, there are fewer and fewer people don’t any sort of mileage runs (for example), and they are something that a ring fraction of one percent did in the first place anyway.

    2. Why not ban our curtail the absolute biggest source of carbon emissions worldwide? The one that no one talks of. The cement industry?! The production of cement on its own is responsible for 30 percent of all global carbon emissions!! That is between 15 and 20 TIMES the global aviation industry, and absolutist no one talks about better, cleaner ways of producing cement. Why not levies on the use of cement, taxes on using it, etc, etc?

    I see people going after may production (often vegans), the travel industry, etc, etc. But I never ever see any mention of the cement industry….

  125. Lucky, dont you think youre shooting yourself in the foot with this? flying is your livelihood, and youre here promoting people to fly less???? im sorry but wtf???

    driving, eating meat, flying, and so many everyday things are destroying the environment. its impossible to quit it all otherwise we wouldnt be able to live. how about focus on 3rd world countries who are polluting so much more because of their old infrastructure??

    please dont let this website become a liberal-SJW trashhole.

  126. In this discussion board, I haven’t noticed anyone discuss the fact that the movement to reduce/eliminate flights to prevent further climate change is largely limited to a few countries in Northern Europe with populations that are small relative to the larger world. For example, the Flygskam movement taking place in Sweden is taking place in a country with a population of approximately 10 million people. Meanwhile, the number of passengers handled at Indian airports has increased from a total of 168.92 million passengers in FY 2014 to 344.7 million passengers in FY 2019. As a husband of a lady from that country who visits her relatives annually (from the U.S. to India), this movement to reduce/eliminate flights will never affect these types of long-haul flights that do not have any alternative. I think the movement has good intentions and touches on a very important issue (emissions from aircraft and their effect on the environment/climate), and I certainly hope that it leads to more investments in alternative methods of short-haul and medium-haul travel like high-speed trains. But commercial air passenger traffic numbers globally will only continue to increase regardless of this movement to reduce/eliminate flights in the West. In my opinion, more of an effort needs to be made by governments, aircraft producers (like Airbus and Boeing), and the commercial airlines to make the planes more environmentally efficient and emit less pollutants. This will be much more effective on a global scale than trying to reduce/eliminate flights.

  127. Surprised no one has mentioned Rick Steves’ open discussion of travel /climate change dilemma. His recent decision is that his company will pay $1 million a year ($30 per person on their tours) for carbon offset programs.

    Also surprised at the sad climate denialism and science Ignorance here, along with the slippery slope fallacies. I despair for the US.

  128. This same claptrap is being spewed out by the despicable Jeremy Corbin, (opposition Labour Party UK leader). This fool wants to take everything from everybody, is a vile communist, and uses greening the planet as an excuse to up his gain. Sadly these twisted people are manipulating the masses, and the gullible are voting with their feet

  129. The first stark image that showed me the extent of global warming which is indeed real and accelerating happened many years ago while I was returning to the States from Europe on a F/C FF ticket of course. Looking out the window, Greenland, which had always been white at that latitude and time of year, was indeed VERY green!!! I was shocked as it had not been long since my previous trans-Atlantic. Speaking of flying, I also noticed how “CLEAR” the skies were on approach to LAX recently… smog, obviously a result of California’s strict emissions standards.

    My take-away form these two flights is that governments and individuals do best for the environment when supporting public transport which result in cleaner air, reduced carbon, less traffic frustration, even when it’s 250 people getting into a metal tube instead of their cars!

  130. With all my respect to anyone I think that’s the silliest idea ever and the reason I say this is because I don’t think FFP are the cause or will help overcome this. That’s like activists saying we want hotels to not change bed sheets everyday or towels. If people want to hurt the environment they are going to do so in a million ways and not by frequent flyer points. If these activists really want to make a change I suggest they go and see the major conferences and get aways happening around the world talking about this issue where guests are flying around in their private jets that might be an easier way to start.

  131. Is the climate changing? Yes, just like it has done since the Earth had a climate. It has been in a constant state of change since it’s existence. It is pretty naive to believe that air travel is doing much of anything to affect it. One volcano eruption puts more pollutants in the air that all air travel has ever done.

    But if you snowflakes are still believing this nonsense, ask yourself a couple of questions.

    1. What should the mean temperature of the Earth be?
    2. Some 10,000 years ago, North America was mostly covered by a sheet of ice up to a mile thick. What happened to that ice and why did is disappear? Was it cave men driving SUV’s or flying across the country?

    When you try to honestly answer these questions, you will see the futility of your hysteria.

  132. I don’t think that one 200th of the pollution that I represent on a flight is going to be any different than the driving around I do when going on vacation.

  133. If you read the full report, the Animal Farm activists are also looking at dairy and meat consumption, kids lunches and a whole bunch of other regulatory methods to reduce emissions. And here’s the stupid part of the whole idea; when I was traveling hundreds of thousands of mile a year working at a former corporate job, the last thing I wanted to do was use my rewards to fly somewhere else. I’d rather take a cruise with my family, rent a cabin or a house boat or a million other things to do versus getting on an airplane. It’s a crock of you know what and the UK has hamstrung itself on a commitment level it will never reach.

  134. If you ban frequent flyer programs you are not preventing the airlines to fly. Every flight has some number of seats available for frequent flyer, if you ban them the same tickets will be empty or sold by the airline.

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