CHICAGO, April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of Earth Month, United Airlines today announced an enhancement to its carbon-offset program that allows MileagePlus members to redeem their miles for offsets to cover the carbon emissions associated with their air travel. The company's existing program provides all United customers the opportunity to calculate and purchase offsets for their travel and cargo shipments, and now customers can use their frequent flyer miles to help the environment.
The new carbon-offset mileage-redemption program, the first of its kind to be offered by a U.S. carrier, supports projects that benefit renewable wind-power generation and forest conservation. When MileagePlus customers choose to offset their emissions after booking on united.com, they may select from a list of United Eco-Skies partners to redeem their miles for the offset.
"Our customers know that when they travel on United, they are giving their business to a company with an environmental commitment that is focused on fuel efficiency, advancing biofuels, and looking for more sustainable products and services," said United's Managing Director of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability Angela Foster-Rice. "This new MileagePlus carbon-offset program is another way we are providing our customers an opportunity to make a difference when they travel by contributing to emission-reducing projects."
United has been global leader in innovative carbon-offset solutions, and late last year became the first U.S. carrier to offer its customers a cargo-emissions calculator. The airline's carbon-offset solutions are designed in collaboration with Sustainable Travel International, a leading global non-governmental organization that specializes in innovative sustainable tourism and conservation solutions for destinations, businesses and travelers.
In addition to its carbon-offset program, United Airlines has demonstrated leadership in the environment by establishing ambitious, leading-edge initiatives and programs. United's recent achievements include:
United in 2013 was recognized as the Eco-Aviation Gold Airline of the Year by Air Transport World for its leadership in environmental efforts.
United's new eco-friendly InCycle® coffee cup, made from up to 50 percent recycled materials, is now available in United Clubs and on flights.
The company in early 2014 became the first airline in the world to fly with the split scimitar winglet technology that cuts fuel consumption by up to an additional 2 percent over the airline's existing fuel-saving winglet technology.
Since 1994, United has improved its fuel efficiency by 33 percent.
The company in 2013 reduced CO2 emissions by more than 925,000 metric tons and reduced fuel consumption by more than 95 million gallons through fuel efficiency initiatives, exceeding its goal of reducing fuel consumption by 85 million gallons.
The airline increased orders for new Boeing and Airbus aircraft that are 15 to 20 percent more fuel efficient than those they'll replace, and now has more than 260 of these new, fuel-efficient aircraft on order.
United is a leader in the advancement and use of alternative fuels, making history in commercial aviation with its partnership with AltAir Fuels to bring commercial-scale, cost-competitive renewable jet fuel to its Los Angeles hub later this year.
Since 2006, the company has recycled more than 23.5 million pounds of aluminum cans, paper and plastic.
The company launched its Eco-Skies Community Grants program in 2012 as a way to encourage United employees who volunteer their time and efforts to environmental organizations in their communities. To date, United has awarded nearly $100,000 to environmental organizations.
About United United Airlines and United Express operate an average of more than 5,300 flights a day to more than 360 airports across six continents. In 2013, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 139 million customers. United is delivering a more flyer-friendly experience, offering more premium-cabin flat-bed seats and extra-legroom, economy-class seating than any airline in North America. In 2013, United became the first U.S. global carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi, including on long-haul overseas routes. The airline also features DIRECTV® on more than 200 aircraft, with more live television access than any airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and, in 2014, will take delivery of 35 new Boeing aircraft and welcome 28 new E175 aircraft to United Express. Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel for 2013, and readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United's MileagePlus program the Best Frequent-Flyer program for 10 consecutive years. Air Transport World named United the Eco-Aviation Airline of the Year Gold Winner in 2013. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 195 countries via 26 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.