17.07.2007 -17 °C
There's a new breed of travellers. And apparently, they haven't heard of greenhouse gases.
"Mileage runners" string together as many cheap flights as they can in order to rack up their miles. Where the average traveller just wants to get from A to B, the mileage runner will get from A to B by way of stop-overs and connecting flights in C, D, E, F and G. Apparently, “If you like puzzles, it's lots of fun.”
Not all puzzles ought to be indugled in, no matter how much fun they are. Robbing a bank with a high-tech security system appears to be quite fun (or so Hollywood tells me), but it’s not exactly ethical, is it? Charles Starmer-Smith from the Telegraph calls mileage running “inexcusable”, and I’m inclined to agree with him.
The original Wired article about mileage runners sparked quite a debate, as quite a few people commented on the environmental effects of this excessive flying. Somebody called Jerome posted this response to the environmentalist critics:
Listen, scheduled flights are going to fly whether or not the aircraft is full. If anything, mileage running reduces the environmental cost per person. Just like how it's more environmentally friendly to carpool with 3 people in a Range Rover than everyone driving their own Prius.
It’s a convenient kind of logic, but very short-sighted. Less people flying means airlines will be forced to start cancelling services, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Having people fly simply to get some frequent flyer benefits artificially inflates the demand for flights. (As an aside, one person driving a Prius is still better than 3 people sharing a Range Rover. A Prius emits 4 tons of greenhouse gases per year, as opposed to the 13.10 tons a Range Rover produces.)
It seems the whole notion of taking personal responsibility for your “carbon footprint” hasn’t quite sunk in with some people.
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