Why flight shaming is well-meaning but ultimately misguided

Flight shaming is a new craze among environmental activists. Essentially, what they are trying to do is encourage people to stop flying, and use other means of transport. This movement started in Sweden, and was called ‘Flygskam’, which quite literally translates to ‘flight shame’. Although this movement has the right intentions, it might be ultimately misguided. If we look into the facts of the matter, we then begin to realize that people cannot simply just stop using airplanes as a mode of transport. There are a number of reasons for this, and we have collected them all together.

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The logistics

Parents have come forward to give their view on the matter, and they all make a lot of sense. One mom of four has illustrated the view perfectly, so we can all understand it a little better. She explains that being confined in a tiny carriage with loads of strangers and four kids is extremely stressful. She paints the picture further, by explaining that her toddler doesn’t sit still for long at all, and they would need to pack loads of snacks for a long journey. If she were to have to go on a train journey, changing trains would be a nightmare. Flying is much more efficient, even if it is for a long time. This story has given a lot of parents a lot of sympathy. It highlights a lot of logistical problems that come with using a different mode of transport instead of airplanes.

The financial issue

Flying isn’t cheap. You have to take into consideration the cost of getting to and from the airport, the cost while you’re waiting for your plane, and the food onboard can inflate costs super quickly. Even on the most budget airlines, the prices all rack up. People usually expect that other modes of transport will be cheaper, but that isn’t a simple deduction. If you are traveling by train, you have to make sure you don’t travel at peak times, as this can boost the price up massively. In theory, the cheapest way to travel is to book as early as possible, but if you are wanting to travel when kids are on summer vacation, the prices will skyrocket. If you are flexible with times and dates, you are lucky. You will be able to travel at the cheapest rates possible, by any means of transport. However, if you are restricted, then traveling by air is the cheapest way of getting around. It is also the easiest.

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The ethics

It is true, more and more people are becoming concerned about finding a more environmentally friendly way of traveling. People are extremely concerned with the ethics surrounding this too, so are doing more research into what can be done. However, choosing isn’t always easy. People have to take into consideration the destinations they are choosing to go to before they decide the mode of travel. With more people investigating, more people are ethical in other ways. They are choosing to shop locally, rather than hitting franchises and big brand superstores. If people contribute in these ways, it will improve the world slowly and gradually. For some people, being pressured to find another mode of transport aside from planes just isn’t practical. For couples or even lone travelers, it may be appealing. But for large families or single parents, other forms of transport just aren’t practical. If more people are pressured to use another form of transport, then they may decide to give up traveling altogether. This means less tourism for struggling countries, and their kids not experiencing the world as much as they should.

We know that people flight shaming are trying to do the right thing, but they need to learn all of the positives and negatives first. They cannot just assume everyone can afford, or are physically able, to travel abroad without using airplanes. We understand where they are coming from, but we can see why it may be a little misguided.