Move over, murderers, kidnappers, and other violent criminals. Someone else is far more dangerous than you.
Who are these psychopaths atop the ladder of depravity?
Dr. Richard Carmichael — who authored a study titled “Behaviour change, public engagement and Net Zero” last fall — had some choice words yesterday for those of us who take status and mileage runs:
“Mileage runs may be tiny on a global climate change impact sort of level,” he told the New York Times, “but it’s the most grotesque kind of behavior you can imagine, the worst behavior done for no reason rather than you’re rewarded for doing it.”
While private jets — which generally operate only when someone charters one — received a mention in Dr. Carmichael’s report, he specifically saved his ire for frequent flyer programs.
Not Everyone Mileage Runs
Dr. Carmichael proposed last fall “a ban on air miles and frequent flier loyalty schemes that incentivize excessive flying.” Because then people won’t fly as much.
To a degree, he’s right. I probably wouldn’t take three or four mileage runs each year.
But here’s the thing, doc. We take scheduled flights that operate whether or not we’re on them. These planes will fly with or without us.
It’s not like airlines operate special “mileage run only” flights that won’t take off unless they’re full of mileage runners.
You and I probably know several — if not dozens of — mileage runners. Why? We hang out and associate with fellow travel enthusiasts who value things like comfort and service — which are easier to attain with airline status.
But not everyone mileage runs. I know several of my fellow Boarding Area bloggers don’t mileage run. Many of my friends and family members who travel regularly think I’m crazy for taking 13,000-mile runs over the course of a weekend. They wouldn’t fathom taking a mileage run.
Ban the Miles? Fine — I’ll Still Fly
If frequent flyer programs were banned, I’d still fly. I frequently work in cities hundreds of miles away and must get to those locations (No, I don’t have time to drive there or take a train.)
Plus, our family is spread across the country. We don’t have the luxury of taking off weeks at a time to drive somewhere and visit them or take the train.
Airlines Are Getting More Eco-Conscious
Air carriers are starting to get into the act and look toward more eco-friendly options for their operations.
NBC News’ Jeremy Deaton writes that “Biofuels could cut carbon pollution from airplanes by upwards of 60 percent, potentially helping them pollute as little as buses and trains… It is possible to make jet fuel from vegetable oil, algae, rotting fruit — even used diapers. Biofuels could cut carbon pollution from airplanes by upwards of 60 percent, potentially helping them pollute as little as buses and trains.”
Look, I’m excited about the potential that biofuels present. Do I want airlines to produce fewer emissions if possible? Of course. Personally, our house is powered by solar energy and lit with energy-efficient lights. We’ve cut back on paper and regularly recycle.
But until airlines crackdown on their carbon footprint, the New York Times piece suggests “you can far more easily switch your home heating system to solar and eat veggie burgers instead of beef.”
Blame the Bloggers!
René and I are part of a group the Times has in its crosshairs.
This is priceless: “Airlines encourage class envy, offering incentives to travel bloggers and other influencers to show off the wonders of the business- and first-class cabins.”
For the record — despite what some misinformed trolls will desperately insist — we’ve never been offered anything free by airlines in exchange for writing about them. (No wonder! Have you seen how we sometimes deride and criticize them?)
Rant Over — Now It’s Your Turn!
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. What do you think? Am I off-base? Did I miss the point? Or are mileage runs harmless?
While you tell me, I’ll find some more mileage runs and enjoy a beef hamburger. 😉
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