VIEWS: Efficiency of a Summer Vacation

Dispatch from SSC Intern Crystal Kirsch

Every year my family travels from all parts of the U.S. to come together for a long weekend. This year I traveled from the DC area to Door County, Wisconsin for the family vacation. This trip required:

- driving a small car from College Park, MD to Arlington, VA,
- flying from DC to Chicago,
- driving from Chicago to Naperville, IL to meet family members,
- and finally driving a medium-sized SUV from Naperville, IL to Door County, Wisconsin (and repeating the whole process in reverse to get back to DC).

Looking at this process on paper, I wondered why I didn’t just fly straight to Wisconsin rather than having a long drive through another state. It seems so simple but the airlines seemed to disagree. No airlines would offer me a direct flight to my destination and I would be wasting far more energy flying to other locations just to end up a few hours above Chicago.

So I pose the following question: do you believe airlines have become more or less efficient by offering fewer direct flights so customers must make more connections over the recent years?

As for Carbon Footprint calculations of different travel/transportation methods you can visit