Sunday, June 17, 2012

Flying the Friendly Skies

Perhaps the trickiest part, socially, of attending a university program with a blatant emphasis on the environment is the fact that I work part time for an airline. The potential repercussions of telling my classmates that I am, in fact, a flight attendant kept me from truly being open about my life.
Stemming from the discussions we shared at residency, the mindsets of many members of my cohort, and my personal insecurities have limited the level of comfort I have about divulging this information.

This being said, I don’t necessarily love being a flight attendant...but I don't hate it either. 

My hours are long, my work goes unnoticed, and I am just an employee number among thousands of others. On the other hand, the benefits of working for the airline are uncontested: stock option, RRSPs, Health and Dental, and of course the coveted next to nothing price tag to travel.

I have voiced my opinion regarding our environmental impact to my company at an assortment of levels. The company’s environmental strategy is closely linked to budget. “Will this benefit the company financially?” is the predecessor to “Is this an environmentally responsible or sustainable option?”

We have made adjustments to our aircraft to improve efficiency which cuts down on the fuel we require, we use some post consumer recycled paper products and we recycle newspapers and beverage containers at maybe 75% of our destinations. Our head office in Calgary is certified LEED. Could we be doing better? Yes. Way better. Is there anyone seeking environmentally responsible answers? No. Not really. We are pursuing answers for technology, for social media, to improve on time performance, and of course the comfort and safety of guests.

Oil and gas companies in Canada have staffed environmental advisors. I wonder why the same hasn’t been done for the airline I work for.

My time with the airline has almost come to an end. It will be hard to leave the benefits of the company. With my official letter of resignation will be a letter of suggestion, voicing once again, my request to the company to rise to the occasion and consider the environmental in their decision-making.

Perhaps take a page from Delta…

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