THAI: Smooth as silk or a sow’s ear?

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WE ARE only 18 days into 2016 and already I find that I’m doing exactly what I intended not to do, by which I mean, flying. I don’t have a choice. I have to be in Bangkok for a meeting on Wednesday, and the train just isn’t going to cut it for me on this occasion.

As always I checked to see if Thai Airways (THAI) had managed to re-attach their voluntary carbon offset tool to their flight booking and payment engine so that you can pay for your flight and your offset in one transaction.

Alas, that is still not possible. You have to make a second transaction. This wouldn’t be too bad if the sum involved was substantial. When I flew to Australia in 20008 the price of carbon was high, and the offset payment was nearly US$100 for the return flight.

I didn’t mind making a separate payment for that, but according to the THAI calculator, the total amount payable for the offset on a Chiang Mai-Bangkok return flight is a paltry US$0.74. Yes, 74 cents! This just doesn’t make sense.

They ought to have a minimum contribution, say US$10. And of course they need to change their system to enable offset payments to be made in a single transaction along with the flight.

One more thing. Many airlines give passengers a choice of where their offset payments go. THAI don’t do that. All payments to their program go to a biogas project in Ratchaburi. Not everyone likes the look of this project, not least because it involves the industrialized rearing of pigs for meat.

THAI may be as smooth as silk, but so far as I’m concerned you shouldn’t try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. So, I’m going to do what I did last time I flew with them. I’m going to carry forward the US$0.74 and settle it along with other flight offsets at the end of the year, using a professional offset company like carbonfootprint.com in the UK.

[If you’d like to know more about the THAI Voluntary Carbon Footprint Program, here’s a link to their website ].

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