TerraPass launches partnership with Expedia to bring carbon balanced flight to all travelers

  • August 28, 2006
  • News
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TerraPass and Expedia partnerBig news, people: Expedia and TerraPass have partnered in a program to offer Flight TerraPasses to travelers when they buy plane tickets.

Although the travel industry has undertaken limited experiments with this kind of offering before, this is the first program of its size and scope to offer measured, verified greenhouse gas reductions to all travelers. Expedia will offer TerraPass to every U.S. traveler who buys a plane ticket through their web site.

This is an important development for the travel industry and for the fight against global warming. Air travel has exploded in popularity as the cost of plane tickets has dropped. But planes create a large and growing proportion of global warming pollution. For frequent flyers, plane travel creates more emissions than their cars.

Previously, there was not much travelers could do about their contribution to this problem. Now there is.

Please help us spread the word about this exciting program. A lot of people will be watching to see how it does. If it’s successful, more industries will take note of the consumer appetite for real, substantive action on global warming.

SnazzyThe co-marketed Flight TerraPass comes at three purchase levels: 1,000 lbs of CO2 for $5.99; 2,500 lbs of CO2 for $16.99; and 5,000 lbs of CO2 for $29.99, enough to balance about 2,200 miles; 6,500 miles; and 13,000 miles of flying, respectively.

At the smallest purchase level, your purchase comes with a nifty co-branded decal. At the two higher levels, you get a magnificent co-branded luggage tag, made of durable, high-quality silicone.

To buy a Flight TerraPass through Expedia, you just book a ticket as you normally would, and look for us on the “Customize your trip” page under the heading of “Featured Activities & Services.” You can also buy a TerraPass through Expedia separately from your plane ticket by clicking on the “Activities” tab and selecting dates and a destination.

A bit about our partner Expedia, for those of you who are new to this whole internet thing. The company has quite a pedigree. They were the first online travel agency, and they remain by far the largest. They’ve been selling travel online since 1996, when the entire internet consisted of six computers administered by a thirteen-year-old boy named Kevin.* Travel was the first truly successful mainstream retail category on the Web, and Expedia has been a pioneer not just in online travel, but also in sustainable travel.

Savvy customers have been able to buy Flight TerraPasses through our web site for a few months now. But this new partnership gives us a reach that is really just unimaginable, which is great for customers, for us, and for the environment. Congratulations to Expedia for taking leadership on such an important issue.

The future of the partnership depends on its success, so we encourage our readers who have not yet balanced out their flying to make their next ticket purchase through Expedia — and make it carbon balanced. Spread the word!

* I’m embarrassed to say this, but I’m pretty sure I stole this joke from Dave Barry.

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Comments Disabled

  1. Anonymous - August 29, 2006

    Why are the TerraPass products available through Expedia different than the ones available through TerraPass? The lowest level Flight TerraPass is $10, but the cheapest one from Expedia is $6. Why the difference?

  2. Adam Stein - August 29, 2006

    They contain different amount of carbon. The smallest flight offset available at TerraPass contains 2,500 lbs of CO2. The smallest flight offset available at Expedia contains 1,000 lbs of CO2. They’re meant to offset different flight distances.
    Also, the various purchase levels come with different gifts, which also account for small differences in price.
    Finally, there is always some overhead in working with an external partner. Fortunately, we’ve been able to keep this to an absolute minimum.

  3. Ameet - August 29, 2006

    I’m not seeing it on the Expedia site under “Activities”. Can you give us a more specific URL?

    I am really thrilled about this tie-in, but think that Expedia ought to really let it stand out, have the link be clear at each point of purchase on their web site, not be something you have to know about ahead of time to find on their site.

  4. Adam Stein - August 29, 2006

    Hey Ameet,
    We agree! But Expedia actually is giving a lot of prominence to this offering. It’s just a large ecommerce site, so there’s a lot going on.
    There are (at least) three ways to find the TerraPass offering on Expedia:
    1. Book a flight. You should see us pop up near the top of the options on the “Customize this trip” page.
    2. Go to the Activities section and choose a destination. We’ll most likely be in the Travel Accessories section.
    3. Go to the Vacation Packages section and choose a package. Again, you’ll find us on the “Customize this trip” page.
    We’re looking at additional ways to promote TerraPass on the site, so stay tuned.

  5. Aaron A. - August 30, 2006

    I was really excited to see flight TerraPasses in the first place, but this could be big. For just a few dollars more, people can get the warm fuzzies of knowing that they’re doing something about climate change. Even if they don’t buy, at least it’ll get people thinking about climate change and TerraPass.

  6. Drew - August 31, 2006

    This is great… But it doesn’t quite address one of my main needs.
    I am a pilot of a single engine (non-turbine) aircraft and would really like an easy way to offset my CO2 emission for my plane.
    I think there are quite a few people like me in the general aviation community.
    So, here are the details:
    I know how many gallons of AvGas I use: Unlike my car, I am keenly aware of how many gallons of fuel I put in the plane. I think this would be the easiest way for me to calculate the CO2 emission of my plane.
    There is no odometer in my plane. All pilots track our time in the air, but most are pretty clueless as to the actual number of miles traveled over a long period of time.
    Note: Light airplanes use low-led gasoline, not unleaded.
    So, what I would like, is a simple way to purchase a terrapass that would offset X gallons of avgas used.
    Can you help me?

  7. Adam Stein - August 31, 2006

    Yes, we can. We’ll be in touch shortly. Thanks for getting in touch.

  8. Pam Hendrix - September 2, 2006

    For information about the harmful effects of contrail pollution from aircraft, your readers should watch a NOVA documentary entitled “Dimming the Sun”. Together with Al Gore’s movie “Inconvenient Truth”, these two documentaries have made me realize the urgency of protecting our earth NOW!

  9. Carolyn - September 2, 2006

    Hi, First off, I think this is a great and necessary concept and congrats on bringing it to the main stream. The thing that keeps me from using TerraPass to offset my carbon emissions is the source of the offsets, particularly that you purchase credits from the Chicago Climate Exchange. As someone who has been involved in deciding whether my organization joined CCX and in talking with many others, it appears that only companies and organizations that think they will achieve the target reductions under their business as usual plan will join. I don’t think CCX is driving companies or organizations to reduce above and beyond what they were already planning to do for other reasons. Thus, we run against the issue of additionality. I don’t think CCX credits are really credits, because they likely don’t represent additional reductions. I see the main value of CCX as familiarizing businesses and other organizations with emissions trading, not achieving significant emissions reductions. For your credibility, I would recommend sticking with RECs or other certifiable offset projects.

  10. Adam Stein - September 2, 2006

    Hi Carolyn,
    We appreciate that you’ve put a lot of thought into these issues, and this criticism of the CCX is certainly valid. This criticism does not, however, extend to the projects that TerraPass funds, which are specifically chosen for their additionality.
    You have to bear in mind that the CCX is several things rolled up into one. One the one hand, it is a voluntary organization of companies that have pledged to reduce their emissions. This is the aspect of CCX that you have some credible concerns about.
    But the CCX is also a platform for registering and trading carbon reductions, and it does this job admirably well. For example, a large portion of the offsets that TerraPass buys on the CCX are generated by dairy farms that capture methane emissions from cows. These offsets have nothing to do with the voluntary reductions from corporate members of the CCX. They are simply traded on the exchange.
    We go into greater detail on this topic here:
    Again, we appreciate your deep consideration of these issues. Please be aware that we share your concerns and have gone to great length to address them through proper portfolio design.

  11. Alexandre - September 6, 2006

    Do you know if this service is available for Canadian, at expedia.ca?
    Can’t find the terrapass option easily on the expedia.com website.
    Alexandre, Vancouver

  12. Tom - September 6, 2006

    Hi Alexandre:

    Unfortunately not yet. You can buy just the service separately at http://www.expedia.com/expedia



  13. dave - January 26, 2007

    yes, global warming is a big issue anywhere in the world. A few dollars could be a great success and is affordable too.

  14. nap - February 3, 2007

    Hi there. I was really excited to see the TerraPass option when buying tickets for this weekend. I’m just not sure when or how I’m going to get my cute luggage tag. I’m all about accessorizing, you know.
    Thanks for the partnership with Expedia. Good idea, affordable, convenient, and I’ll tell other people.

  15. Purifier - February 17, 2007

    great option for buying ticket, thx.

  16. Howard - April 17, 2007

    Hi everyone,

    The most dangerous thing about Carbon Offsetting is that it gives people ‘the warm fuzzies'(not my words – see post 5), while not actually doing a great deal to address this urgent problem.

    Ultimately we have to emit less carbon (and other greenhouse gases – air travel is a major source of them, plus their damage is amplified at high altitudes). Carbon Offsetting is merely a way of buying yourself out of the problem, or exporting it to someone else.

    There are strong doubts on the environmental credibility of many offset schemes. Large scale plantations have decreased biodiversity, displaced people, and when planted outside the tropics their contribution is scientifically uncertain.

    Even the very best, most environmentally friendly offset schemes should only only ever be considered a ‘last resort’ when flying is unavoidable. If you really care about the environment, limit yourself to one return flight a year and no-more.


  17. Adam Stein - April 17, 2007

    We hear this criticism frequently (about 400 times per day, I’d estimate), and the funny thing about is that it’s always presented as incontrovertibly true, even though it’s pretty obviously wrong.
    The argument are always some form of “offsets are a distraction from the real solution” or “the problem with offsets is that we really need to be reducing our emissions.”
    Here’s the reality: conservation is not the “real” solution to global warming. There is no real solution to global warming. Global warming requires a broad-based set of solutions that include efficiency, conservation, and low-carbon sources of energy.
    By stimulating efficiency and low-carbon energy, offsets are *part* of the real solution. Not the entire solution, but part of it.

  18. Lisa D. - August 25, 2008

    Who would use magnificent to describe a luggage tag? The used-car sales pitch is not necessary and detracts from the merit of this worthy program. As we all are in a wait-and-see mode before we judge carbon off-setting programs, marketing campaigns must have integrity.

  19. Adam Stein - August 25, 2008

    It’s meant as a joke. The luggage tags are not, in fact, magnificent. They could more accurately be described as “spectacular,” or possibly “mind-altering.”

  20. Jim Grant - March 18, 2009

    Regarding comments #6 & #7 in 2006. Have you worked out what the carbon offset for a gallon of 100LL is?
    I have the same question as Drew.
    Jim Grant