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Online flight booking: digital nudging to decrease aviation-related carbon emissions

Christian Meske (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany)
Ireti Amojo (Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany)
Christoph Müller (Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 9 December 2022

Issue publication date: 9 January 2024




Online flight booking websites compare airfares, convenience and other consumer relevant attributes. Environmental concerns are typically not addressed, even though aviation is the most emission-intensive mode of transportation. This article demonstrates the potential for digital nudges to facilitate more environmentally friendly decision-making on online flight booking websites.


The authors used the digital nudging design process to implement two nudging interventions in an experimental setting on a fictitious flight booking website. The two nudging interventions are (1) an informational nudge, presented as an emission label, and (2) an understanding mapping nudge, presented as an emission converter.


This article finds that both digital nudges are useful interventions in online choice environments; however, emission labels more effectively encourage sustainable booking behavior.


The contributions of this article are twofold. In contribution to research, this article builds on existing research in sustainability contexts and successfully evaluates the effectiveness of anchoring and understanding mapping heuristics to influence sustainable decision-making in virtual environments. Furthermore, in contribution to practice, this article contributes knowledge to nudge design and provides hands on examples for designers or website operators on how to put nudge designs to practice in virtual choice environments. Additionally, this article contributes relevant considerations in a high-impact research field with growing importance given the global climate crisis.



Meske, C., Amojo, I. and Müller, C. (2024), "Online flight booking: digital nudging to decrease aviation-related carbon emissions", Information Technology & People, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 29-50.



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