Fly the environmentally friendly skies with TerraPass

Flight TerraPassYou asked, we delivered: you can now buy a Flight TerraPass to offset the carbon emissions from your air travel.

The Flight TerraPass comes in a variety of flavors, which you can match to your own level of emissions. For only $9.95 you can offset a cross-country flight or several short-haul flights. For $139.95 even modern-day Gullivers can fly guilt-free.

Every Flight TerraPass comes with a gift. For example, you can offset an entire lifetime of flying and receive a deluxe folding bicycle to take with you on your travels. More typically, you get a spiffy TerraPass luggage tag with your purchase. And if you don’t need the gift, you have the option of trading it for additional carbon reductions (and extra environmental mojo).

Here’s a mini-FAQ about the new product:

Why should I offset flight emissions?

Because air travel has a really big impact on the environment. On a per mile and per passenger basis, flying is about as bad as driving. Large jets burn a gallon of fuel every second. A cross-country flight burns about 100 gallons of fuel per passenger. And because the emissions are spewed high in the atmosphere, they have a more severe impact on global warming.

As society becomes more mobile, flying makes up an increasing proportion of our overall carbon footprint. Air travel already accounts for at least 4% of US carbon dioxide emissions, and is expected to grow to 10% over the next few years.

How can I figure out which Flight TerraPass is right for me?

Glad you asked that. Check out our handy flight emissions calculator, which allows you to quickly tally the emissions from a set of flights between any two points on the globe. Enter all your flights for the past year in a matter of seconds and see what your impact was. Then offset it.

How do you calculate the emissions from air travel?

The full details are here. Briefly, the TerraPass supercomputer figures out the distance between your origin and destination. Depending on the length of the flight, it then comes up with a per-mile carbon index. By multiplying the length of the flight by the carbon index, it is able to estimate your share of the flight’s emissions.

The carbon index is based on protocols developed by the World Resource Institute. It is only meant to provide an estimate. Actual per passenger carbon emissions depends on the type of plane, the distance flown, the plane’s occupancy rate, flying conditions, other factors.

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  1. Jean - July 12, 2006

    The Flight TerraPass is a great idea! How about a Boat TerraPass? Recreational boaters are a politically well-organized group, wtih strong economic impact in their communities as well as a growing appreciation of the complexities of our interconnected world. From personal watercraft to cruise ships (even sailboats burn gasoline), people who get out on the water — or who work in the industry — are keenly aware of the threats posed by global warming.

  2. jenmom - July 12, 2006

    Calling all dorks! I need a calculator that compares flying vs. driving to a location?

  3. Sally Perkins - July 12, 2006

    Also, you can buy a $9.95 Terrapass to offset CO2 from your yard toys (lawn mower, edger, weedwhacker, etc.). For those of us with yards way too big to “push-mow”, this is great. :)

  4. 1985 Gripen - July 12, 2006

    This is a great idea. Only one problem: all of my flying is on company business (I don’t own the company, I’m just an employee). I do fly a lot for my job. How can I sneak a TerraPass onto my expense report?
    As it is I only bought a “hybrid”-level TerraPass for my non-hybrid company car to cover only the personal mileage I put on it. There’s no way my boss would allow me to buy a TerraPass on the company dime unless I can figure out a way to sneak it on there! Any suggestions? Anyone? :-)

  5. 1985 Gripen - July 12, 2006

    Here’s a great idea (IMHO): sell the Flight TerraPasses at major airports. Set up a stand (or kiosk or something) starting at the biggest U.S. airports (Atlanta, O’Hare, LAX) and work out from there. The luggage tags are a great idea. They help advertise TerraPass.
    A side benefit of an airport kiosk would be to advertise the automobile version too!

  6. Adam Stein - July 13, 2006

    Cool idea, Jean, although probably too small a market for us to chase after. Boat owners are, of course, welcome to calculate their fuel usage and then buy a Flight TerraPass to offset it. We’ve had many customers do this sort of thing. See, for example, Sally’s comment about her lawn toys.

    Jenmom: I’m a dork, and I’m here to help. The trouble with comparing flying to driving is figuring out what the appropriate comparison to make is. What car are we comparing the flight to? How many people are riding in the car? In general, flying in a plane is roughly equivalent to driving alone in a Toyota Prius. So planes are slightly more fuel-efficient per passenger than most cars, unless you have more than one person in the car. Also, short flights are less fuel efficient than long ones, so it could make more sense to drive short distances than to fly, particularly when you start to factor in things like emissions created getting to and from the airport.

    1985 Gripen: have you considered stealing office supplies and selling them for carbon offsets? Just kidding. The best thing to do would be to convince your company to make a carbon offset purchase through TerraPass’ business program.

  7. Dave - July 16, 2006

    Here is a question that I can’t find the answer to. How bad are cruse ships in terms of fuel use per person onboard. [Crew & passangers]. Also, how are their emissions in general? I would assume pretty bad, but I can’t find any data on the web.

  8. Adam Stein - July 18, 2006

    Dave -
    This isn’t easy info to come by. I seat-of-the-pants estimated it by digging into Star Cruises most recently quarterly report. The report gives the companies operating expenses, the percentage of operating expense that goes to fuel, and the number of passenger days they sold during the quarter.
    Using these figures, I estimate that Star Cruises pays a daily average of $41 for fuel per passenger.
    That number is probably roughly right, but you can’t translate it straight into what you would pay at the pump. For one thing, I’m not even sure what fuel cruise ships run on. I think it’s diesel. For another, cruise companies enter into complex financial arrangement to insure them against major fluctuations in fuel prices. So the $40 should be used as a rough guide.

  9. Katie - June 27, 2007

    This is sweet. I was on the Social Venture Network’s website today and came across this contest for socially responsible business leaders: http://www.svn.org/imaginewhatsnext. It looks like a great way to reward new businesses for working toward the greater good and TerraPass would be perfect!