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Flight shaming hasn’t hurt Delta’s profits, but the airline is feeling the shame

Delta makes its own corporate internal travel carbon-neutral.

Flight shaming hasn’t hurt Delta’s profits, but the airline is feeling the shame
[Photos: DDP/Unsplash; Altair78/Wikimedia Commons]
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The mortification of flight shame is having no apparent effect on the profits of Delta Air Lines, the world’s second-largest airline by revenue: At today’s Delta Investor Day, the company forecasted strong 2020 profits.

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Flight shaming is a major concern of European airlines. Swedish passenger numbers declined 4% midyear, and last month Air France CEO Anne Rigail said “I think it’s our biggest challenge,” adding that her husband and children first informed her of flight shaming, and that corporate clients may cut back on flying as part of their own eco-friendly initiatives.

Unlike Air France, Delta primarily flies routes with no high-speed train alternatives, and the company is not feeling the squeeze as of yet: Delta expects to grow 4-6% next year, well over analyst estimates of 3.6%, with $6.75-$7.75 earnings per share. “People are more inspired to travel,” CEO Ed Bastian told Reuters.

Flight shaming has, however, influenced Delta’s corporate ethics. Its press release included the following tidbit:

“Delta will be making all travel related to the 2019 Investor Day carbon neutral through verified carbon offset credits with The Guatemalan Conservation Coast Project, which protects 54,000 hectares of threatened rainforests, conserving over 400 bird species and supporting local farmers.”