We all know that flying first class has a much bigger impact on our bank accounts, but new research suggests that it can also be more damaging to the environment than economy travel.
Quartz reports that sitting in first class means that your carbon footprint is much higher than if you travel in economy, largely because the more expensive seats take up more space and first class passengers tend to take more luggage. The extra weight means that more fuel is burnt during the flight, while the reduced number of travelers who can fit in the first class cabin, especially if some seats are left empty, means that more fuel is burnt per person.
As a result, the Daily Mail reports that the average economy class passenger has a carbon footprint of 0.76, and a business class traveler has a carbon footprint of 2.30 - while a first class passenger has a carbon footprint of 6.89. This means that first class passengers have a carbon footprint that is around nine times higher than those who travel in coach.
The research was carried out by The World Bank, which is attempting to reduce its own carbon emissions. According to The Washington Post, World Bank staff took more than 189,000 flights in 2009. Of these, 73.6 per cent were in business class, and another 6.9 per cent were in first class. Most of the first class travel has now been eliminated.
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