To Flight Shame or Not to Shame?

The Swedish model could have a huge impact in the UK on choices to fly. I wonder how they made flight shaming work… it seems like a cultural choice more than just giving your friend grief for flying. How do you think you could influence your friends?

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Not even a cultural choice so much as a cultural value or norm. Something that isn’t really addressed in this article!

My family in law are Swedish and they explain that Swedes have an inherent and strong connection to the environment so flygskam, for them, is just a natural extension of that. Also goes hand in hand with Swedish terms like ‘Lagom’ which means “just enough” or “everything in moderation” and the word ‘vemod’ which is a melancholic appreciation felt by nature.

Again, this respect for nature, being outdoors, consuming only what they need etc is all ingrained in people as they grow up; through their family traditions, what their taught at schools etc. Really interesting stuff but difficult to replicate in other countries that don’t have these core beliefs and values!


This is a really tough one. For me a lot of it is about context. I have friends whose close relatives are on the other side of the world. I wouldn’t dream of shaming them for flying to see their loved ones when my grandchildren are just round the corner and I can see them whenever I like. But flying off on long-haul holidays for the sake of it - I’m not so sure. I’ve done a lot of flying in my time and I know I need to cut back drastically. With my partner I love travelling to Europe several times a year. We are now resolved to go by train as much as possible even though this is a bit costlier and takes longer. If only the train fares could come down a bit! If it was possible with cheap flights I can’t see why it shouldn’t be possible with train travel. Somebody tell me?


I think “flight consciousness” instead of “flight shaming” is better aim!

On a related note (shaming environmentally-conscious celebrities and activists about their carbon emissions), a friend shared the attached image today, and I think it’s spot on!!

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We should follow Germany with increased taxes on flights and lowering the cost of train travel. I struggle as I’m a travel photographer and have worked for 20 years promoting the most glorious places on this beautiful earth. Travel, adventure, discovery and celebrating, sharing and communicating with other cultures is one of the best things about being human and yet we simply can not afford to carry on flying. We need more staycations and low carbon, slow travel alternatives.