Have you ever thought about how what you pack affects the world around you? It may seem to make no difference whether you have two checked bags or just a carry-on aside from the obvious simpler processes in the airport. However, the weight in every suitcase you bring has a direct impact on your carbon footprint when you fly. 

In the United States the average person emits around 386 kilograms of CO2 each year from internal flights. Wouldn’t you like to reduce this number by simply lightening your luggage?

Think about it, the more weight you put in an airplane the more fuel the plane will need to burn to stay in the air. Even reducing by a few pounds can make a huge difference. If 100 passengers packed 10 pounds less, the total load would be 1,000 pounds lighter!

Another consideration––having your luggage in the haul or the overhead compartment won’t make a big difference in the fuel consumption but consider your luggages’ journey to end up on your flight. It must first be weighed and put on a conveyor belt that will then take it to a luggage cart and then the plane. All these steps require power, energy and more fuel. The weight of your bags affects how much of all these resources it will take to get your bags onto the flight PLUS getting it back to you when you land. Therefore, you should try to avoid checked-in bags whenever possible and bring just your carry-on with you.

Something that will also help make your trip greener is thinking about what you pack and how much each item weighs. Try to consider all your options and replace your heavy things with lighter ones, for example, a Kindle instead of books. 

Looking for options to go green whenever we have the chance is an easy way for all of us to protect our planet for generations to come. So, next time you fly somewhere, remember that being a responsible traveler also involves looking out for how much weight you carry and how it affects your carbon footprint when traveling. Challenge yourself and pack as light as you can. 


How your baggage can change your carbon footprint when you fly. (2020, August 30). Retrieved March 9, 2021, from https://news.chooose.today/How-deciding-on-only-carry-on-or-checked-in-baggage/

Ritchie, H. (2020, November 9). Where in the world do people have the highest CO2 emissions from flying? Retrieved March 9, 2021, from https://ourworldindata.org/carbon-footprint-flying#:%7E:text=We%20see%20large%20differences%20in,each%20year%20from%20internal%20flights.

Bitler, T. (2020, January 2). How to Reduce Your Air Travel Carbon Footprint. Retrieved March 9, 2021, from https://www.eaglecreek.com/blog/how-to-reduce-your-air-travel-carbon-footprint.html