Flying with Emirates – How to avoid unnecessary waste when flying 

The topic of flying is a tough one for the eco conscious. The damaging effects of flying on the environment are no secret and I myself have met several people who simple refuse to travel by air. For me flying is my selfish want to see the world but it does not stop me trying to do so as ethically as possible. 

This year I took two flights with Emirates, one from London to Dubai and then another from Dubai to Brisbane, Australia. Prior to my journeys I had heard such great things about Emirates and was excited to see what efforts the company were making to reduce their waste. 

Real metal cutlery on both flights!

My first thoughts when preparing to fly were that it is very easy to blame and point the finger at these huge corporations. Yes, they probably could do better, couldn’t we all? But what good does it do, to sit there and complain about something if we ourselves have made no effort what so ever to make the best outcome of any given situation? So because of this I packed some essentials into my hand luggage so that I was able to refuse single use plastics where ever possible. These essentials included;

  • Coffee cup
  • Water bottle
  • Blanket
  • Book(s)

Seems like a pretty basic list right? Well it is, because it’s really not difficult to make ourselves responsible. I was able to use my coffee cup both in the terminal and on the plane. The staff on both my flights were more than happy to fill up my own coffee cup. Not only did this mean I avoided using the little plastic cups they provide onboard but it also meant that I got so much more coffee because my travel cup is so much bigger! Win!

The water bottle is obvious, as long as it’s empty whilst you go through security you can then fill it up on the other side either at designated water stations or just by asking the staff of coffee shops or restaurants within the terminal nicely. What was amazing about Emirates was that there was a drinking water fountain onboard the plane!!! So any time my bottle ran empty I could just get up and refill it myself! This again meant I was able to avoid the silly little water tubs and bottles that they provide onboard and again, probably got more water than anyone else on the flight, avoiding that horrible in flight dehydration. 

The filtered water station ob-board the plane where I was able to refill my own bottle throughout the flights
The water provided by the airline. a tiny amount in a plastic cup. I’ll stick to my own bottle thanks!

The blanket!! This is probably my favourite travel hack for flights because it brings so much comfort to the experience! By packing my own blanket I didn’t need to use the plastic wrapped ones provided on the flight! It also made me feel better on-board because it gave me so much homely comfort rather than trying to snuggle down in a borrowed blanket. I had popped a few drops of lavender essential oil on it before I flew too so that it was extra soothing when it came to nap time. I could not recommend this hack enough! Why wouldn’t you want to make your flight as comfortable as possible whilst avoiding unnecessary plastic at the same time?

Bringing my own blanket meant I was able to avoid using the plastic wrapped ones provided by the airline.
The final part of my essentials list is a little cheeky I suppose and only really relevant for my first flight from London to Dubai. The flight was around 7 hours long and I didn’t want to use the headphones wrapped in plastic if I could help it. So what did I do? I read. This was pretty easy for me as I’m not a big tv/film person anyway and I enjoy reading so much! The second flight however I did succumb to the in flight entertainment as I had 14 hours to pass by and toward the end just needed something mind numbing to keep me going. In the future I’ll be looking to get an adaptor so that I can use my own headphones whilst on-board.

So, the thing about flying is, yes it’s destructive, but simply placing our feet on this earth is destructive. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re trying to have a positive impact with your travel, do what you can to lessen the weight of that footprint. Secondly, don’t just rush to blame when you can make the most of a bad situation with a little forward thinking. Imagine if everyone on my flight brought a bottle and a cup, the air line could stop providing cheap disposable stuff all together. We are the ones who influence change so don’t be afraid to do your bit! 

Watching the plastic pass me by as I refuse single use!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog post. If you have any other travel hacks for people who fly then please do comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ve got some really great blog posts coming up for you all in the not so distant future as well as some exciting collabs with some of my favourite eco warriors. 

For more updates and pictures of my travels and discoveries, please follow me on Instagram @zero_hero_movement 


Much love


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