Last month, Australian airline Qantas announced a new partnership with Dubai-based Emirates. A collaboration that means Qantas is moving many of its connections from Singapore to Dubai, which will change the stop-off point for many people going to Europe to the Middle East.
It’s an exciting time for the quintessentially Aussie carrier, and those who use the airline on a regular basis; they’re going to have a whole new region to explore on layovers.
To celebrate this new business deal both airlines are holding a Gala Dinner, which I was invited to as their personal guest. I know! Excitement.
BUT, I can’t go.
I want to. I’d love to, but it’s in Sydney, I’m in Melbourne.
Then, the usual question popped into my head: “Can I really go celebrate the joining forces of two airlines? It’s not particularly in keeping with the concept of eco travel.”
Not that they were requesting I cover it, but, usually, if you I get a nice invite I like to show some gratitude, either through social media channels, instagram or in a post. This is effectively promoting their brand, which I am very happy to do if it’s something I advocate the use of, but what of airlines?
Would I be right or wrong to promote not one, but two airlines if I accepted the invitation. Would I be selling out for a sumptuous dinner?
I use both Qantas and Emirates, as well as Singapore Airlines, for long-haul flights, so I would be backing something I believe in.
My question is; would it be wrong to promote an airline on an eco travel blog?
Last month, at the Australian Festival of Travel Writing, during one of the debates on the ethics of travelling today, a panel of seasoned travel writers were asked by a member of the audience whether they thought it was right to travel by plane, and if they did anything environmentally-wise to compensate for their flights.
I wish I had written down the exact question, but it was more their answers that were illuminating, and my own reaction.
All of the travel writers had no qualms about travelling by plane, after all, they write about their travel experiences for a living so travelling by plane is part of their job.
And for the first time, because I now live in Australia, I realised I have absolutely no guilt about travelling by plane. I used to, but not now.
I’m originally from Europe and still have family and friends there, so of course I’m going to fly. I need to. And until I trust carbon offsetting schemes – which I don’t – I will do my bit for the environment as I always do, in ways that I know will matter… every day.
When you live in Europe or in America, it’s possible to drive or take public transport to many destinations. If you live in Australia, you’re stuffed without air travel.
It’s the one and only way out of the country.
And if you want to travel within the country it can take days and weeks to get to the next nearest city from some places.
Until you live in Australia and fly over it, it’s almost impossible to fathom the size. On one trip to Malaysia from Melbourne it took about six hours to cross the country, and most of that was over desert with TWO intersecting roads scored through the landscape, stretching for hundreds of miles.
There is nothing else, but red earth and bush for hours.
And if you attempt to drive between some places, running the risk of breaking down, you need to be super-prepared for survival, especially in the red centre.
In the north of the country, where they get flash flooding during the wet season, the only way in and out of certain areas is by plane or helicopter as the roads are either impassable, or non-existent having been washed away with the rains.
Until you see Australia from above, it’s hard to understand how vast and barren it is.
And so, sure, I would love to celebrate with Qantas and Emirates in their new beginnings, but alas, not this time.
Why not? Air travel between cities is so bloomin’ expensive!
But then, that’s another story.
What’s Your Opinion?
I always put a footer at the end of posts, but this time I would really, really love to hear what you think on this issue. Please share your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!
Image: via Gulf Business