Participant blog: side effects

We’ve asked Study Tour participants to write a blog post for our website with a view on the Tour from their perspective. This week, Lennart will share his expectations and experiences so far.

The average Study Tour blog tells you what our tour is going to incorporate, where are we going (San Francisco – Los Angelos – Sao Paolo – Rio) and what we expect the most of (Dropbox! Blizzard!). My blog however will be different, I will write about the side effects of our tour, how many trees do we need to plant? How many flight attendants keep their job because of us? What’s the amount of money we will drop in the US economy?

First things first, this blog is by no means scientific. All data aggregated to calculate this is from google, all calculations are done at 2:30AM and will be wrong! You have been warned!


Let’s assume that we will be flying an Airbus A380, not that I checked that but emission figures were available for that plane. Let’s further assume that Airbus is not lying when the say that the A380 outputs 75g/passenger kilometer of CO2, which is (again Google) widely disputed. The total distance that we will be flying (only the first part, from Amsterdam all the way to Sao Paolo) is 19.235 km. That means total emission will be 1.442.625 g/passenger, aka 1442kg/passenger.

Alright, that’s a lot, but how many trees do we need to plant… One thousand kilograms of CO2 can be consumed by three to six trees (given that they live for forty years), so to be carbon neutral we need to put down (at maximum) 9 trees per person! Not including any bus rides!


After above sad fact, we can also calculate how many people have a job because of us. There are stewardesses, waiters, hotel clerks and even people who show us around.


Lets first assume that we will be flying a total of 25 hours (only including Study Tour flight, my after trip was not included in this calculation). A starting stewardess of KLM earns 1930 euro per month, but it is not completely clear how many hours that is (I tried looking it up in their labor agreement, but that failed miserably). Lets assume that it is 80 hours total, she (or he!) will earn €24.13 per hour (before taxes), or about €19ish euro per hour (after taxes). An average plane has about 1 stewardess per 50 people on board, so for the 22+6 people that will go on the tour an average of 0.56 stewardess is needed. A total of 337 euro (before taxes) will go to stewardesses on board of planes!


In this search I have concludes that airplane crews have a weird way of being payed. The starting salary of a pilot is about €49.000 a year, but this can rise to over €100.000 euro depending on the amount of experience, the plane that you are flying, etc. etc. So another widely inaccurate assumption must be made… A pilot earns about €5.000 a month, and he flies about 80 hours (assumptions, assumptions), that means that the two pilots on board of our planes earn (a total) of €3125 euros. We however need to normalize this, the plane we will most likely be using is an airbus A330-200, which holds 243 passengers, meaning that for the 22+6 people that will go on the tour we have a total of €360 spendings on pilots. Interesting!


Spendings.. How much money do we sink into the economies of Brazil and the United States? Luckily the study tour made a spendings budget. A grand total of 125.000 euros will be put into this project, of which about €44.640 is not related to travels, representation or other non foreign spending activities. So on average, including teachers that will attend this Study Tour (making a total of 32 participants), we will sink 1395 euros per person in these economies. That’s enough to pay 1.5 American minimum wages, or enough to pay 5.6 Brazilian minimum wages!


So we saw today that we have to plant about six to nine trees, give about the same amount of money per person to stewardesses and to pilots, and keep either 1.5 American, or 5.6 Brazilian people working with the amount of money we spend during our trip. That was it for me, hope you learned something today!

P.s. Did I already mention that sources used here are inaccurate, and calculations made by me will be wrong. If I ever find any references to this on Wikipedia..