Prince Harry Faces Major Backlash Over New Eco-Travel Initiative

prince harry at travalyst launch
Chris Jackson / Getty Images

A summer of bad public relations for the Sussexes looks like it will extend through the fall as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were just slammed for their latest initiative. Today in Amsterdam, Prince Harry announced the founding of Travalyst, a booking system that helps people choose eco-friendly sky travel, per The Daily Mail. However, the timing could not be worse for the Sussex duo as the pair had just been criticized for their extravagant private jet use.

Anticipating backlash, Prince Harry claimed that he travels on commercial flights “99 percent of the time.” He also addressed his previous private jet use.

“Occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family are safe. It’s genuinely as simple as that.”

However, Prince Harry reportedly took both a private jet and private helicopter to the Google summit held in Italy this year, where he gave a barefoot speech on the climate crisis. Neither Meghan nor Archie joined him for the trip.

Other royal fans had pointed to the fact that the Cambridges recently took commercial flights without problems, both to Mustique and then to Scotland.

“Harry your brother who is 2nd in line to the throne just flew on a Flybe jet, [I’m] sure if there were security risks involved they’d have plonked him on a private plane so what’s your excuse?” said a Twitter user, per The Daily Mail.

harry and meghan in morocco
  Facundo Arrizabalaga / Getty Images

Travalyst is a collaboration between Booking.com, SkyScanner, CTrip, TripAdvisor, and Visa to find ways to help create greener travel. Though it will not help with curbing carbon emissions, it will provide carbon credits and suggest ways to help local communities.

That said, many scientists have been open in their disdain for the “carbon credit” programs, claiming that they are useless, per The Guardian. Some have even said that they hurt the environment, as travelers believe it is a carte blanche to excuse wasteful travel.

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Nonetheless, Prince Harry praised the carbon credit initiative.

“I’ve always offset my CO2, I think part of the group discussion we had earlier was ‘what is off-setting CO2?'” he said.

“There are so many people out there that hear about it, don’t know about it. In my mind it’s the right thing to do and we need to make it cool, but it can’t just be a ticking-the-box exercise.”

The timing of the new program has many raising their eyebrows, as Harry and Meghan had just received an onslaught of bad press over the summer for their heavy private jet use. The Sussex family traveled on four private jet trips within 11 days — first to go to the glitzy island of Ibiza and then to visit musical superstar Elton John in the south of France.