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Airlines slam proposals to ban air mile programs and tax frequent flyers

In a report published Thursday by Imperial College London for the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), academics proposed several measures that governments should implement to reduce the impact aviation was having on the environment. ( More...

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s2v8377 21
Have the British completely lost their minds??? This is the best idea the pispompous idiots at the Imperial College of London could up with. Maybe they can solve Brexit next with the same logic.

If the British government was realistic about carbon emissions perhaps investing in more efficient airports where planes don't have long taxi delays on the ground and holding points in the air like at Heathrow. They've known for years that LHR needed a third runway and haven't done anything about it until recently.
David Reed 11
This has to be the most stupid counterproductive idea I have heard yet. This is the sort of ridiculously silly remedy that just turns people off from the whole concept. Interesting that they don't mention doubling some of those low cost 29 GBP fares..that might avoid another whole misery airline start-up.
Nige Lites 7
I doubt that the sort of people who recklessly and impulsively decide on a whim to take a cheap flight to indulge in a Lads Weekend in some notorious Baltic Party Town, with total disregard for the catastrophic contribution they are causing to the future of the planet, are likely to say "Wot, no Air Miles!, OK, we won't go."

Meanwhile, the family who take one or two flights a year, for a well earned holiday, to broaden their horizons and encounter other cultures, or occasionally visit relatives or friends who live overseas, won't even notice the lack of Air Miles, they never earn enough to gain any benefit because the few Miles they do earn expire before they accumulate enough to actually redeem any reward.

As for the true Frequent Flyers, who do collect their Miles and gain the attendant benefits, they would most likely travel because thy have to 'be there' to do their job. Their flights are paid by those they work for, and The Firm would not pay for the flight if there was a cheaper or more suitable alternative, such as some kind of tele-presence, or hiring someone local with the same skills and expertise.
BTW I suspect the majority of these folk actually fly at the back of the bus, so the little perks they enjoy from their Miles are small recompense for trials and misery they endure on their way to work. Losing their Miles would not be enough to make them quit the job, just ensure they arrive a bit grumpy.

The idea of taxing frequent flyers is fraught with compromise or contradictions.
A UK Sales manager who has to fly to company HQ in Dusseldorf once a month flies about 500Km each way. Someone flying to Sydney to visit a son or daughter covers 17,000Km each way. Their return trip is only a little less than the same mileage than the Managers flights for nearly 3 years.
Where do you set the threshold for a Frequent Flyer Tax, in number of Flights per Year, or Miles Covered.

However much you penalise the frequent flyers The Firm will just suck up the cost of the flights it considers essential and pass it on to consumers or end users.

Other items of possible concern with a Frequent Flyer Tax arise when considering how you track this, I could imagine that there may be Data Protection and privacy issues that might arise. The UK Government may be able to extract the numbers pertaining to every passenger departing and arriving in the UK, but how would they track those passengers flights beyond their borders.

A situation might arise where instead of taking a direct Long Haul flight to Singapore and incurring that Tax penalty, a traveller may fly there Via Paris so they are only Taxed by the UK on the first Short Haul sector to France.

And what of the Anti-Competitive Pricing aspect of this. If two individuals booking the same Flight at the same time are charged significantly different prices, just because of who they are and their previous flight history, there would be outrage.
OK, I realise that there are already examples that occasionally come to light where customers of airlines, and other industries and services, discover they may be charged differently for the same product, often in these cases some Regulator is invoked, or even laws passed to overcome the inequity. Now they are proposing to institutionalise this same thing.

Personally I don't think these proposals would make any significant difference to the behaviour or choices made by the flying public, it would just piss off those that noticed, before they shrug their shoulders and carry on as before.
All it would do is cause another minuscule increase in the overall cost of living for all, as the cost to business is passed on to the consumer.
Nige Lites 6
I've just re-read the article and see that I overlooked one significant detail, that the Frequent Traveller Tax would not apply to those who travel for 'Work', oops, so that would make some of my comments redundant.

However it also begs a couple of other questions.
First, just what proportion of the travelling public are 'Frequent' Leisure Travellers.
I've got to assume that anyone who can indulge in frequent leisure travel would need a significant disposable income, and have an occupation with some flexibility to arrange enough free time to make good use of their travel. I suspect they are a fairly small sub-set.

Then there is the matter of what counts as 'Work' or 'Leisure', how to you classify it, and more importantly how to you verify it.
Would it be self declared at booking:

"Are you travelling for (Tick one) [Work] [Leisure]"

Would you have to provide some kind of supporting document to show you are working.
If you had a business trip where you then stay on for a few extra days to slouch around on the beach after your meetings are done, would that incur partial Tax...

If we assume that a 'typical' frequent leisure traveller might be perhaps some Senior Manager, Consultant, Entrepreneur or highly paid Freelancer, then they could easily say that during every one of their jolly holidays to some exotic location they may also have a Client Meeting, Site Visit, or be Investigating New Markets.

It all makes the original proposal even more ridiculous, as it would be almost impossible to police, and those that might be affected would probably be sufficiently well off to afford it whilst hardly noticing the extra expense.
airpound69 2
“Catastrophic contribution” - yeah, just like the polar caps melted completely in 2014, right? Our life style is so catastrophic that our life expectancy also keeps going up and all of the people who talked about “global warming” caused catastrophes were completely wrong.
Oh but what do I know, let’s just give more money to the government in order to save the planet while they are surprisingly uninterested in reforestation even though Europe destroyed about 87% of it’s native vegetation - and fixing that would be darn cheap.

In the mean time let’s just not question their narrative, make our lives shittier and pay them more money to save the future generations from the climate change boogeymen.

Side note: our planet is already doomed and it will end at some point when the sun expands before it dies - if nothing else happens before then such as an asteroid, another ice age and so on. If you are worried about the future generations, quit having kids - or at least have your kids not have kids.
Nige Lites 1
Sadly text does not always carry 'tone of voice'
In my opening paragraph there was intended to be more than a hint of sarcasm, holding a mirror to the perpetrators of this nonsense who would charge anyone seeking just a little enjoyment abroad to be personally responsible for the imminent death of the planet.

Me, I fly about 50,000 miles a year at 35,000ft, for work, and I don't feel too bad about it in the grand scheme of things, maybe I should...
Also I fly about 30-50hrs a year as a PPL turning dinosaurs into noise for the fun of it.
The airfield I fly from is just that, a field, with lots of grass and trees happily slurping up much more CO2, I believe, than the little aeroplanes that live there spew out.
the article and the premise upon which it is written are a bit off base,especially the last paragraph regarding first class passengers and the article..i am old enough to remember the days of the b707, which always seemed to have quite an emissions cloud from the engines,but times and the manufacturing of aircraft and engines have changed,as have automobiles...
Don Quixote 13
Yes, ban air mile programs and tax fliers through the roof. Do you see what's happening everyone? THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO BE ABLE TO FLY ANYMORE!
dee9bee 8
....Or drive, grill a steak...
James Simms 11
I support PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals
The climate change/global warming crowd can't seem to come up to a solution to the issue that doesn't involve stripping away every modern convenience from the past century. Don't eat meat, don't fly, live in a shoebox on a small lot, preferably somewhere that you can walk/ride a bike to work, don't use air conditioning, etc, etc...

They are going to have a very difficult time getting any normal individual to take them seriously until they drop the sky is falling/live like it is 1699 philosophy.
Don Quixote 0
dnorthern 13
Another example of how mind wrenching idiotic liberal academicians can be
Jim Highfill 12
Lots of degrees, zero common sense.
bbabis 11
As a US citizen it is very refreshing to see that we don't have all the Wackos.
Steve Hailey 2
Yea right!
n9341c 2
As an American citizen who is interested in the success of my country's industries, particularly aviation, I STRONGLY encourage the UK government to embrace and adopt the committee's suggestions as soon as possible.
pino tattari 3
It is not the first time that I hear a proposal like that. I classify this kind of proposal as "throwing money to the problem" (there is a problem? let's tax someone or --- in the best case --- let's give economic incentives).

The biggest problem of this kind of proposal (taxing flights to save the environment) is that they do not consider an almost obvious fact: when you take a plane, usually you have no other (reasonable) alternative.

Let's face it: flying is no fun. As Douglas Adams said

> It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever
> produced the expression "as pretty as an airport". Airports are ugly.

You must be at the airport 1-2 hours in advance, that means leaving home at least 3-4 hours in advance (maybe more). The procedure is not complex, but involved: check in, send the baggage, pass security (stay in the line, strip down, take the pc out, take out your shoes, ...) go to gate and wait on not-the-most-comfortable chairs, do the flight, wait for the package and spend another hour to reach destination.

Even if the flight is short (45 minutes), the overhead is huge and it can arrive to 7-8 hours. Given this, if train connections are good you are faster with the train up to 500-600 km and it gets comparable until maybe 1000 km. If you have a direct train with no connection, honestly I prefer spending 1 or 2 hours more in a confy business class chair rather than running through airports.

What does this mean? It means that when you take the plane the boundary conditions are such that you have no other (reasonable) choice and you will take the plane anyway, even if heavily taxed. Result: less money for you, no impact on the environment.

Sure, you can go from Europe to US by ship, but it will take you few weeks... If you can afford that...
Chris Taylor 2
The usual drivel from overeducated and overprivileged entitled socialists who have never done so much as one day of productive work in their lives.

The main culprits for carbon pollution are China, India and Russia, countries admired by these socialists.

Another cause of pollution is the fact the world human population is at an unsustainable level and still rising.
WhiteKnight77 1
Does this remind anyone of the Green New Deal? With business being a global community, I would like these people who push such as getting rid of aviation as to how someone in BFE is supposed to get to Perth Australia to meet with a client if they cannot fly?

Do these people undertand the number of people they would put out of work? We are talking millions globally. Do they realize that other countries may not buy into it and keep flying aircraft, even if just in their little corner of the world?
robin cooper 1
i am appalled that my alma mater would publish such poor science. they should consider the following FACTS,
The world population has grown from 1.75B in 1920 to 3.61B in 1970 to 7.4B today, a staggering doubling every 50 yrs. Carbon dioxide levels were 305ppm in 1920, 325ppm in 1970 and 415ppm in 2019.
The average person generates the heat equivalent of a 100w light bulb, continuously.
So what are the conclusions???
Only the super rich can “pollute” ie Justin Trudeau can fly 2 jets on his campaign
airpound69 1
Let’s all give the government more money to save the planet :)

Not sure whether this climate change thing was a scam from the get go or if opportunistic people saw a way to empty the pockets of the morons suffering with “climate anxiety” (lol) by taxing them and selling electric crap (which in a lot of countries is fed by coal plants or windmills that alter the rain patterns and kill birds). God only knows what they’ll do when the demand for electricity sky rockets due to the increased number of electric cars and their sources fail to meet it.

Also, why those experts never talk about reforesting Europe which is the champion when it comes to destroying it’s native vegetation? Nope, let’s just increase taxes to save the planet! This reminds me of the whole Amazon drama where idiotic europeans claimed Brazil wasn’t preserving it’s forests (even though that’s not the case at all) yet forgot Brazil has at least 60% of it’s native vegetation remaining while estimates for the whole Europe are around 13%.
Steve Hailey -4


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