End frequent flyer programs

We are in a climate emergency; the UN reported this week that current pledges have us on track for a catastrophic 2.4-8C rise in temperature by 2050.

We know what needs to be done: rapidly convert to sustainable electricity, rapidly reduce fossil fuel use, and rapidly decrease animal agriculture.

One part of doing that is ending a culture that glorifies fossil fuel consumption. Frequent flyer programs glamourise excessive air travel. They frame overconsumption of resources as a way to achieve a higher social class.

Frequent flyer programs use words like “status”, “elite”, and “prestige” for passengers who make ridiculously high demands on the earth’s resources. With private club access, seat upgrades and priority boarding, they use the trappings of social mobility to encourage destructive behaviours. Of course, the greatest benefit offered is even more air travel.

Does it work? Yes. Some travelers take scores of transcontinental or intercontinental airplane trips to get to the next level of achievement and unlock a new set of privileges. Vice covers a points hacker who flew 280,000 miles in one year.

The airline industry is highly regulated, down to how many square cm of bread must be visible on an open face sandwich. National and international regulators need to start ratcheting back frequent flyer programs, and aim towards a ban by the end of the decade. People who fly should quit the programs now.

One thought on “End frequent flyer programs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s