Just yesterday, I wrote about how we could well see airlines increase their prices across Europe and whether we could see any spillover effects on the rest of the world. While that article was primarily about compliance requirements driving up costs, this piece of news borders more on ‘greenwashing’. A California class action lawsuit is alleging that Delta airlines is liable to pay damages to customers for misrepresenting facts in their marketing campaigns.
Class Action Lawsuit
As per this report by the Washington Post, the plaintiff alleges that Delta misrepresented facts in their marketing campaigns by marketing itself as a ‘carbon neutral’ airline. The lawsuit alleges that this simply wasn’t the case. Moreover, Delta used this brand positioning as a way to get customers to pay extra for their tickets.
But the offset market is replete with inaccurate accounting and exaggerations, according to the lawsuit, brought Tuesday by California resident Mayanna Berrin. This means Delta has not been carbon-neutral since it first promised to become so in March 2020, her attorneys wrote in a complaint. “Nearly all offsets issued by the voluntary carbon offset market overpromise and underdeliver on their total carbon impact,” they wrote, citing studies and reports.
The Pundit’s Mantra
It’s no surprise to me if airlines are trying to cleverly use environmental compliance regulations to charge higher prices. However, I wonder how easy it will be to definitively prove these claims in court. Most big businesses hire legal teams to make sure they’re carefully treading the line without crossing it.
While the California lawsuit may be a start, only the outcome will tell us if this is the beginning of a trend. Will customers increasingly start holding airlines’ and hotels’ feet to the fire? Or will the industry get away by simply staying within the guardrails by using smart legal and accounting tactics?
What’s your take on environmental compliance when it comes to the travel industry? Do you buy their commitments or view it with increased cynicism? Tell us in the comments section.
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