The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.

Green Life

Gotta Fly: The Most Eco-Friendly Airlines

For many of us, flying is fact of life. I actually love flying because it means a bit of quiet time. I get so much work done – well now that we have Bear, it’s a little different. We walk up and down the aisle and make friends. But when I used to fly solo, it was so romantic in the sky: the clouds, the sun, the quiet. If I was sad, it was a great place to process thoughts, journal or sit silently. Just the idea alone that we are able to fly in the sky still baffles me. It’s just so crazy that we are in a tin box up in the clouds…amazing…and a little scary too.  While all of these thoughts about flying run through our heads, one thing we may not think about as we rush to our gate or sit with our forms of entertainment on the plane is the impact of those flights on the environment.

Fortunately, some airlines are starting to reduce waste and environmental impact. In 2012, Greenopia eco-ranked America’s and Europe’s airlines. Criteria included fuel efficiency, green design, green food offerings, and carbon offset programs. Here is how the airlines ranked, from most to least eco:


  1. Virgin America
  2. Alaska Airlines
  3. United Airlines
  4. Jet Blue
  5. Delta
  6. US Airways
  7. Southwest
  8. Air Canada
  9. American Airlines


  1. Lufthansa
  2. British Airways
  3. Virgin Atlantic
  4. Easy Jet
  5. Cathay Pacific
  6. Ryan Air
  7. SAS
  8. Air New Zealand
  9. Aer Lingus

*take note that Air France continues to ship monkeys to laboratories for experiments that are often immensely cruel. All other major airline companies have stopped this. I just learned about this and am shocked!!

You can find more details about the rankings in this article. And anytime you fly, be sure to calculate your carbon footprint, so you can do your best to offset it.

What are your favorite eco travel tips? Share in the comments below.




Photo Credit: Virgin America


  • Dan Westford

    Let’s face it, most airlines burn roughly the same quantity of fuel. The remidy is to fly less and eat less animal based food products (animal production has a far bigger carbon footprint than all transportation put together).

  • TheKindLife

    SO sorry- this was not evident during our time of research. So grateful for the community to bring this to our awareness. PETA is a great resource that I do take advantage of, thanks for referencing, just a genuine mistake. Thanks for understanding!

  • Janie Brooks McQueen

    Sometimes Atlanta, Georgia gets a bad rap–speaking of travel/non-travel, remember the snow gridlock fiasco earlier this year? It was so crazy, we got a pretty hilarious parody on SNL–but our state is very progressive in lots of ways. One is our Len Foote state park Hike Inn, Georgia’s first eco lodge, which not only gives city dwellers some needed respite from crowds and traffic (which is terrible on a good day), but shows us how it’s done: