Alaska Airlines Is Removing This From Flights, Starting Tomorrow
The carrier says certain items will no longer be used during in-flight water service.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot about how we take to the skies. But even as some aspects of air travel begin to return to normal, airlines have been making headlines for some of the major permanent changes they've been making to their operations—especially when it comes to what's allowed on board. The latest comes from Alaska Airlines, which recently announced they would be removing certain items from all of their flights within days. Read on to see which products no longer fly with the company's rules.
Alaska Airlines is removing plastic bottles and cups from water service on their flights, as of Nov. 4.
In an effort to step up its commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility, Alaska Airlines announced that it would be removing single-use plastic bottles and cups from water service on their flights. The major carrier says it will instead serve the paper-packaged Boxed Water Is Better brand and use recyclable cardboard cups for water service when the new rules take effect on Nov. 4.
A spokesperson for Alaska Airlines clarified to Best Life that plastic cups will still be used for soda and alcoholic beverages, as those liquids will leak through the recyclable paper cups.
The move will see 1.8 million pounds of plastic products saved from landfills and the ocean.
The company said it reached its decision to ditch the products from water service after a 2019 self-assessment of the environmental impacts the carrier had. "By and large, plastic water bottles were the largest contributor of waste," Todd Traynor-Corey, managing director of guest products for Alaska Airlines, said during an announcement to the press. "And even though a big percentage of them were recycled, many of them did end up inevitably in the landfills or in the ocean."
As the fifth-largest airline in the U.S., the company expects the change to have a significant impact: Traynor-Corey said the change will remove an estimated 22 million plastic cups and 32 million plastic bottles from flights through 2022, according to The Washington Post. To put it in aviation terms, he said: "That's 1.8 million pounds of single-use plastics per year, or the equivalent of [the weight of] 18 Boeing 737s."
This isn't the first move the airline has made to become more eco-friendly.
When it comes to keeping an eye out for the environment, Alaska Airlines has something of a history for setting the standard for in-flight practices. "We were the first airline to eliminate plastic straws and go strawless, and what we learned from that is we can actually influence the industry to move in a direction," Traynor-Corey said during the event. "And we hope that this change of Boxed Water also does that and that other airlines follow in our footsteps."
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Alaska Airlines says its planning other changes to its operations to help cut emissions.
But Alaska Airlines says it's not stopping at removing plastic bottles and cups in its commitment to improving the environment: It's also striving to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and be the most fuel-efficient airline in the U.S. by 2025. The carrier says it's moving towards its eco-friendly goals by investing in replacements for fossil fuels, researching the use of artificial intelligence to fly more fuel-efficient routes, and by adding more fuel-efficient planes to its fleet, The Post reports.
"It's not one item that will help get us there," Bobbie Egan, director of external communications for Alaska Airlines, told The Post. "We're looking at it holistically through waste and water and also tackling the biggest issue, which is climate emissions, which is what we contribute to the most."