What Good Is A Carbon Offset Program If British Airways Doesn't Tell You About It?

British Airways has come under fire for not informing customers of its carbon-offsetting program, possibly for fear that people will fly less if they knew the real environmental impact, according to the Times of London.

From the Times:

The Times rang BA booking offices in three countries and found that none of those answering the phone was familiar with offsetting, even though the scheme was launched with a fanfare in 2005. A saleswoman in BA’s New York office had never heard of a carbon offset and asked whether it was a device that the passenger wanted to carry in his luggage.

The program is no more obvious on the carrier’s website:

The Times had to click through four pages before discovering the order form. It can also be accessed by entering “carbon” in the search engine but that requires prior knowledge by the customer. The Tory MP Nick Hurd confronted Mr Buchanan during the inquiry, saying: “The reason why there is such low take-up of your scheme is because no one knows about it. I am a customer of British Airways and I have tried five times to engage a member of staff at check-in, which is the natural point to ask about this, and was met with a completely blank expression on every occasion.”

So, British Airways? What’s the point of offering carbon-offsetting if you’re loathe to tell anyone about it?

Carbon offsetting? I haven’t got a clue, said the BA booking clerk [Times Online]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Toof_75_75 says:

    Maybe they just realize the idea of “carbon-offsetting” is bullshit, so they are saving themselves the trouble…

  2. shoegazer says:

    I am sick of the eco propaganda that supposedly responsible companies peddle to their consumers, especially here in Britain. The idea that you can pay your way out of global warming is particularly idiotic. Next up – organic mineral water, made from the tears of free-range African orphans, and bottled in used biodegradable tissue paper.


  3. humphrmi says:

    Huh? I don’t get it. Over the last weekend I spent several hours investigating an appropriate flight from Chicago to Heathrow (return) and kept tripping over their carbon offsetting section (found by going to britishairways.com and clicking on “Information” – but if that’s not explicit enough) while trying to figure out my plane configuration.

  4. humphrmi says:

    Well, I guess a-hrefs don’t work so good in comments. Well anyway you get the idea.

  5. Hawk07 says:

    I’d be better off if I didn’t know about carbon offsetting either.

  6. MalcoveMagnesia says:

    If they don’t get enough suckers to pay these “voluntary” contributions, there’s probably already a push to make these things mandatory.

  7. Bulldog9908 says:

    A better question is “What good is a carbon offset program?”

    I mean, regardless of your opinion on the human impact on global warming, a carbon offset program is just idiotic.

  8. unchi says:

    carbon-offsetting is the “indulgence” of our generation. how do we avoid global warming/purgatory? with money!

  9. acambras says:

    …possibly for fear that people will fly less if they knew the real environmental impact

    Sorry, but if I go to visit my family, I have to fly. I don’t particularly enjoy air travel, so I’m not going to fly more. But I don’t think I’m going to cancel travel plans over this.

    I think that for most people (those of us who don’t own jets), flying is a necessity, not a matter of personal discretion.

  10. DJFelix says:

    The reason is that people like me will stop flying them. I fly to England twice a year, and had no idea they had succumbed to the eco-communist propaganda of carbon offsets. Looks like I need to buy more carbon debits.

    If you are one of the capitalism-hating communists who looove carbon offsets, you will take the time to sort it out, and they know that. People like me who loathe the idea don’t want it thrown in their face. BA knows that, and has taken the appropriate action.

    They get to save face with the communists, and keep the capitalists too. Brilliant!

  11. guroth says:

    The less it is known, the easier they can pull it off the budget if they have to.

    Meanwhile if other airlines start doing this they can say “we’ve been doing it since xxxx!”

  12. mathew says:

    I booked a BA flight recently, and carbon offsetting was offered to me during booking. Maybe the complainers need new glasses?

  13. Major-General says:

    Frankly, given that it takes less fuel to fly me per mile than the most efficient car I can buy, I really don’t care to spend more money to buy carbon.

  14. banned says:

    If you want to offset carbon emissions, how about those 3 R’s, or pick up litter once in awhile, walk to the store over drive, plant a tree, compost, I can go on and on. Don’t pay extra money to some greedy corporation whose sole interest is shareholder opinions and an occassional PR stunt.

  15. synergy says:

    @rocnrule: IAWTC