Wednesday, March 07, 2007

If You're Going to Fly, Fly Right.

Which generally means, don't fly with Air Canada. From experience.

It can also mean that if you're flying with Westjet, you should book through

Basically put, from my potentially-flawed understanding, whenever you book a flight with Westjet as a result of clicking their link on the Offsetters site, Westjet will donate an amount to Offsetters to...huh...offset your "contribution" to the environment.

That sucked. Let them explain it...

Offsetters has become a WestJet Affiliate to help you offset the climate impacts of your travel. Book through the link below, your ticket will cost the same. Offsetters will invest income from our WestJet Affiliate relationship into making your travel climate neutral.

Now typically when I mention something like to people who don't have much of an interest in the environment, I get the standard "how do you know?" routine.

Well, I don't. But being that it's not costing me more, I also don't care. And if Westjet is sneaking in an extra cost, I can always look to their competition, particularly if I want to book a flight to Sydney, Nova Scotia and have my luggage end up in Australia. They'll (Westjet) offer a price and I'll decide whether I'm paying it.

Besides, you're already getting hosed when booking flights as it is. We all know this, right?

Airport improvement fees?? At what point will they be pleased with the improvements to the point where they can stop charging me? Obviously the day after never!

I recently looked into flight to Washington DC. I found a good price on one, but that was before having a busload of additional charges thrown on. check it out:

Canada Airport Improvement Fee 15.00
U.S.A Transportation Tax 35.80
U.S Agriculture Fee 5.93
Canada Security Charge 7.94
U.S Passenger Facility Charge 5.33
Canada Goods and Services Tax (GST/HST #10009-2287) 29.04
September 11 Security Fee 2.96
U.S.A Immigration User Fee 8.30

U.S. Agriculture fee?? What do you think I'm going to do, take a dump in a field?? What's that all about??

I seem to have gone off on a rant somewhat...Here's a bit more detail, from Offsetters' FAQ section:

From the customer’s perspective, a “climate friendly” booking is identical to a regular one in terms of cost, availability and high quality service. The only difference is that when the customer books their flight, the contribution from WestJet to Offsetters makes their flight “climate friendly”.

The travellers do not get an individual acknowledgement of their climate friendly offset. There are two reasons for this:

  • WestJet protects the privacy of flyers and avoids any breaches of confidentially from passing their travel identity and itinerary back to us.
  • The offset payments are made by WestJet and it is their donation which is acknowledged by Offsetters.

And here are some of the projects they help fund in order to set off emissions.

I avoid flying now like I would avoid getting hemorrhoids. And it's not even really a "green" thing for me, I just find that the experience is too unpleasant.

But for times when it's necessary, I'll go this route. I have a wedding to go to next year that I'm already looking forward to (and you won't catch me saying THAT very often...) and I plan on using this method to book my flight, if it's still available.

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