Friday, June 27, 2008

Plastic-Free on the Plane

Hi! Okay, so I started my journey to Greece on Tuesday night, determined not to use plastic on the flight. First snafu: I forgot to fill my trusty Sigg before getting on the plane. No problem, I fell asleep right away. I slept most of the way to Dublin, but woke up at one point and a plastic cup of water had materialized on my tray table. Oops. I kept the cup to reuse it. Had coffee in a paper cup (not ideal, but no plastic lid) at Dublin airport.

Then flew from Dublin to London Gatwick, no plastic. I ate a banana and an avocado. Delicious.

At Gatwick I checked in for my British Airways flight to Crete. The British Airways people were surprised to see my paper ticket and were like "we don't fly to Crete anymore, talk to Easy Jet." The Easy Jet people said "we have no record of you, whatsoever. Go talk to BA."

I went back to BA and they told me there was a 1 in 2000 chance of that happening. I mean, I had a ticket for a flight that didn't exist. I felt like Sandra Bullock in The Net. And my bag was routed onto a flight that didn't exist! I managed to get my bag back.. had to be personally escorted through security for it. Good thing I ate my final avocado before getting patted down in security.. don't think they would have approved. They did confiscate my spoon though.

British Airways got me a new flight on Wednesday night from London Heathrow to Athens, then Athens to Crete. This meant travel from Tuesday night to Thursday morning, and a total of 6 airports and 4 flights. In my weary delirium I lost my resolve and had a plastic binge, eating an airplane meal on the London-Athens leg. It is extraordinary how much waste we create for a crappy meal on a 3 hour flight that leaves at 11pm, a time when no one needs to eat anyway. The mind boggles. I kept my utensils for re-use and kept my cups. By the time I was done my original plastic cup had a crack in it so I could only get water and had to drink it super fast so it didn't drip!

If the airlines hired me as a consultant, this is what I would say: give people one cup. Make them pay two dollars for extra cups. And don't serve meals on night flights or flights under 4 hours. Just serve a snack that has one wrapper, instead of a meal that has individually wrapped salad, cheese, main course, utensils, fruit cup, etc etc etc. I think people would be more enthusiastic about a modest meal if they knew it was to reduce waste rather than because the airline was being cheap. People's expectations for a decent airplane meal are set pretty low anyhow.

I'll write more tomorrow. Let me tell you, it's hard to avoid plastic on holiday! Straws, butter packets and water bottles abound! And I overlooked my Ritter Sport obsession when I signed on for this silly diet. Plus Claire and I want rubber tubes for the beach. Ooooh lucky ladybug just landed on my computer.. make a wish!

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