Teen’s solo transatlantic flight draws attention to unnecessary ‘ghost flights’

Kai Forsyth experienced it on a recent British Airways flight from London to Florida. The 19-year-old freshman had the entire plane to himself, with only the pilots and flight crew on board keeping him company during the nearly 9-hour flight.

“The cabin crew said I was the only person on the flight,” Forsyth wrote in a TikTok video about his Jan. 9 trip. Indeed, as the phone spins from side to side, a sea of ​​empty seats fills the frame.

Meanwhile, the crew seemed to adore the solo traveler, offering him an “unlimited” supply of airplane snacks and at least one flight attendant indulged in popcorn and movies with Forsyth, it said. -he declares.

“It was eight o’clock so I put in a bed. Literally the most comfortable I’ve ever seen on a plane,” he added.

Although the experience may have been a delight for Forsyth, the so-called “ghost flights” – the flights that carriers must fly if they want to keep their assigned routes and airport gates – have become a flashpoint for environmentalists across Europe. They are calling for regulatory changes to prevent polluting planes from operating flights that would normally be canceled as omicron has caused demand to plummet. Airlines are also lobbying the European Union to adjust the rules until at least the fall.

According to European Commission guidelines, under the “80/20 rule”, carriers must operate 80% of their slot for at least 80% of the time. This was changed at the start of the pandemic and more recently adjusted to 50%, but these numbers still exceed the number of flights needed to meet current passenger demand. Additionally, the pre-pandemic rate is expected to be restored by March 2022.

Environmental campaigners are trying to stop this from happening and have started an online petition, saying ”ghost’ flights don’t benefit anyone. It’s a wasteful and wasteful practice, and rights reform history on landing slots will put an end to it.”

He continues: “In times of climate emergency, we need to drastically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, and in the context of our ever-shrinking carbon budget, it’s unbelievable that planes are flying empty.”

Earlier this month, Lufthansa revealed that it had operated 18,000 flights this winter that would otherwise have been canceled for lack of passengers, including 3,000 on Brussels Airlines, which it owns.

This prompted the Belgian Federal Minister for Mobility to raise the issue with the European Commissioner for Transport. In a letter, the Belgian official described the current rules as “economic, ecological and social nonsense.”

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