For many of us, the cheap flights revolution changed our lives. But now that we’re aware of the damage flying does to the planet, we’re having to rethink our addiction to finding the lowest cost flights every time we travel. Finding a flight with goetica is one way to give back as you save.
Cheap travel changed our lives
There’s no question that the arrival of cheap short and long haul flights back in the 1990s opened many of our minds. They helped us become digital nomads able to live and work all over the world. They enabled us to afford to travel and have life-changing experiences on retreats, with people who were totally different from us, and to experience unspoilt nature.
Because we’ve been able to travel cheaply, we’ve had money to spend in some of the poorest parts of the world and played a part in developing tourism that has changed lives for the better.
All of these experiences have motivated some of us to want to give back to the planet, to help people and species threatened by the globalisation of which we’re a part.
But, today, some of us have become addicted to cheap flights. We search constantly for bargains and are ready to take off at the drop of a hat or a yoga mat.
It’s hard to imagine not taking cheap flights. But, increasingly, we’re finding it hard to ignore the harm flying does to our planet. According to Project Drawdown, the world’s leading resource for climate solutions, ‘Today, some 20,000 airplanes are in service around the world, producing at minimum 2.5 percent of annual emissions. With upwards of 50,000 planes expected to take to the skies by 2040 - and take to them more often - fuel efficiency will have to rise dramatically if emissions are to be reduced.’
The growing phenomenon of ‘flight shaming’, which originated in Sweden in 2018, is one response designed to make us feel guilty about flying. It’s debatable, though, whether flight shaming will have any impact on the most dedicated flyers. Especially when, as Drawdown points out, the number of planes is growing anyway.
So what do we do when we have no choice but to fly or we simply want to book a cheap flight but we want to do so as ethically as possible? Booking our flight through goetica is one answer.
By supporting goetica you also support a social enterprise company guided by the equality, transparency and the need to make a positive impact on climate change.’ Matija Agbaba, Elvin Jamakosmanovic and Carlos De Aguilar, goetica co-founders
The goetica difference: #goodanimalkarma
As well as enabling you to compare prices from dozens of online travel agents and over 736 airlines, goetica invites you to view the CO2 impact of your flight and be aware of which are the most CO2 efficient planes. The search engine also uses a far more advanced formula and database than many current emissions calculators. But, given that goetica is all about ethical travel, you might wonder why its founders set up a search engine for flights in the first place.
The answer, as co-founder Matija Agbaba explains, is that ‘We want to use the money we earn from commissions we receive to do some good in the world. For us, this is helping stray cats and dogs by supporting world-wide sterilisation programmes and rabies vaccinations - hence our mantra #goodanimalkarma. This way our users get to break the chain of suffering and maybe also save some human lives while they travel.’
goetica’s long term strategy is to encourage other modes of travel - trains, buses, shared vehicles. Certainly within Europe these can be faster, more efficient ways to travel than flying. But the founders also know that the number of flights in Europe is set to grow 1.9% per year, with the amount of passengers growing by 8% per year between now and 2040. Globally, the number of people choosing to fly will double in 2035 from 3.8 billion in 2016 to 7.6 billion.
So why potentially contribute to the growth in cheap flights?
‘I see goetica as one way to disrupt the dominance of the largest meta-search engines such as Skyscanner, Kayak and Expedia who don’t currently offer data on CO2 emissions,’ says Elvin, another co-founder of goetica. ‘If we make people aware that they can factor CO2 emissions into their choice of flight, we could begin to create a critical mass that might influence airlines to in their decision as to which planes to buy for their flights. Ultimately, it comes down to consumers. If they switch to goetica in their thousands - which would be amazing - this demand would inevitably influence supply.’
Doesn’t switching to flights that are more CO2 efficient cost extra? ‘It may mean you pay a little more, sure, but your carbon footprint could be as much as 50% less,’ adds Carlos, another co-founder.
Apart from the CO2 aspect, are there other benefits of using goetica’s search engine for flights? ‘Absolutely. We can show flights that allow pets in the cabin as well as the airline’s policy on pets and how you pay for a ticket. Our search engine is at least as good as the others but we’re constantly improving it. Right now you can filter for wifi, USB charging, video and extra legroom, which most other search engines don’t allow you to do,’ says Matija.
‘Looking to the future, we’re going to focus much more on CO2,’ adds Carlos. But, in general, we’re constantly making the site faster, adding more and more information to help users make the right decision for them and exploring ways to help more animals in more places around the world. Our mission is and always will be #goodanimalkarma.’’
What about flight shaming, Carlos? ‘While I think it’s noble for anyone to reduce their footprint by taking trains and buses, for instance, this isn’t a realistic option for most of us and people are not going to stop flying. I’d say flight shaming is dangerous because, if it takes off (pun intended) it will stop us putting in place real solutions like modernised fleets, more sophisticated engines and ultimately electric flying powered by renewables. In any case, trying to force people into doing anything always creates a backlash. It’s far better to offer people alternatives, including the power to invest the money they save on flights into green and ethical initiatives. We should also be using our power as citizens to demand airlines are taxed at higher rates and that tougher legislation is put in place to regulate flying.’
‘On just 30,000 flights we could save 2,5 million tonnes of CO2 if everyone opts in for greener planes which is equal to planting 11 million trees. There are choices already which consume on average 34% less CO2 for your flights.’ goetica