Virgin America Awarded "Most Eco-Friendly Airline"

by kelley

We were happy to learn that one of Global Basecamps’ favorite airlines, Virgin America, has been awarded “Most Eco-Friendly Airline” by We were already in love with their great customer service and unparalleled seatback entertainment system, so this is major icing on the cake.

It turns out that a Virgin America flight from New York City to Los Angeles emits about 680 fewer pounds of carbon per passenger than United. Their young fleet consists of many Airbus 319s, which are 15 percent more efficient than the similarly sized Boeing 737. These numbers add up, making Virgin America about 25 percent more fuel and carbon efficient than the average domestic fleet.

Virgin America’s sustainability practices go far beyond their fleet, however. They are the first airline to list its carbon footprint according to internationally accepted standards via The Climate Registry and have retrofitted their Burlingame headquarters to meet LEED Silver and U.S. Green Buildings Counsel standards. Additionally, SmarterTravel points out that, "the airline recycles waste from all flights into and out of San Francisco and Seattle, which make up 47 percent of its departures. Travelers can also offset their travel while en route via the seatback entertainment system [through our mutual partner,] and are able to order organic, sustainable, or locally produced food and beverages from the in-flight menu. Most offerings use biodegradable containers and minimal packaging." If that's not enough, you'll find environmentally-friendly soap in all of their in-air bathrooms and get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that some of the money you shelled out for your ticket is being invested in renewable fuels research and other initiatives that combat climate change.

In response to the award, Dave Cush, President and CEO of Virgin America, stated, "as a new airline and the only California-based carrier, we've made sustainable practices a focus in our operations and training from day one. Although no airline can be perfect, we're pleased to be recognized for our green efforts to date and we will continue to make environmental best practices part and parcel of our business model as we grow."

Want more? Read up on Virgin America's sustainability programs and don't forget to check out the rest of SmarterTravel® editors' 2010 picks, which include the best airlines, airports, reward/loyalty programs, providers and reward cards, among others.

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