Leave it to tiny Costa Rica to up the eco-quotient ahead of the curve.
Costa Rican carrier Nature Air has proclaimed itself the world's first carbon neutral airline. One-hundred percent of its carbon emissions is offset through the reforestation and protection of tropical forests in the country's Osa Peninsula. The airline started its carbon-neutral program in 2004, and has also improved its flight plans to be more fuel efficient.
Now, you might think it's a stretch for any airline to claim complete carbon neutrality, since planes—all planes—really do belch the stuff. But Nature Air is in a much better position than most to own the niche. For one, the planes are smaller and don't fly at high altitudes, which I've read results in fewer emissions and less overall damage. And the airline is keeping its reforestation and protection efforts in Costa Rica, which makes the offset loop something that locals and visitors benefit from firsthand.
And here's a heads-up for adventuring families: Nature Air has started discounting tickets for kids. Children ages two through 11 are eligible for a 25 percent discount off regular fares.