Southwest Airlines debuted its green plane last week, a Boeing 737-700 that features a 100 percent recyclable, carbon-neutral carpet, recycled seat covers, and lighter seat components. The lightweight seat covers, life vests, and foam fill will reduce the plane's load by almost five pounds per seat, making the green plane more fuel efficient. According to China View, the green plane should save about 9,500 gallons of fuel each year.
While the green plane doesn't beat the staycation for carbon savings, it is a step in the right direction. The unveiling of Southwest's new plane is only the latest greening effort in an industry that's aware of its carbon problem: In June, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) committed to a goal of carbon-neutral growth by 2020. More recently the IATA said it would approve biofuels for commercial flights by 2010. The airline industry still has a long way to go, and we're hoping that the green plane won't be its last move.
Planning a trip? Before you fly, check out our tips for greener air travel.