Wednesday was the busiest day since Flightradar24, a site that monitors real-time air traffic, started tracking flights. On July 24, more than 225,000 flights took to the skies, according to a tweet from Flightradar24.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) July 25, 2019
An image captured at 14:25 UTC on Wednesday (aka 10:25 a.m. ET) offers a glimpse of the incredibly crowded European airspace, with cargo planes and helicopters, sightseeing planes and people jetting off to vacation or work or headed home to their couches. The landmark travel day breaks the record set just a few days earlier, when Flightradar24 reported that June 29 was the busiest flight day since the company began watching in 2006. That day boasted 202,157 aircraft, a number that shrinks in comparison to Wednesday’s 225,000 flights.
While air travel is a modern wonder, and it is impressive to see the skills of the air-traffic controllers at work juggling all those planes in the air simultaneously, it’s also slightly alarming. The climate is in a state of emergency, and as more planes than ever recorded filled the air, temperatures in Europe also hit their highest points ever recorded. Temperatures in the U.K. were over 101 while Paris broiled in 105-degree heat. There’s no denying that air travel is terrible for the environment, and while ecotaxes and biofuels and carbon offsets and hybrid planes and other alternative forms of travel are slowly taking hold, if we really want to save the planet that we’re flying all over the place to see, perhaps we should fly less.