Editor’s comment: Flygsham fever

Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

As the UK, with the exception of Scotland, looks forward to the last Bank Holiday weekend of the year, many will be jetting away hoping for a little R&R before the new school term starts.

According to a 2019 survey of more than 4,000 UK residents, 80% had some concern about climate change, so no doubt many will be racked with guilt over their use of flights, with aviation responsible for 12% of transport-related emissions.

And they will not be alone as flight shaming has become a bit of trend in recent months. High profile causalities even include the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have been accused of hypocrisy after taking four trips on private jets in less than a fortnight.

The emissions generated by such trips compared to commercial flights seem to be at odds with the couple’s call to tackle to climate change.

In June, KLM CEO Pieter Elbers wrote in a letter that “we invite all air travellers to make responsible decisions about flying.” Even airline operators are aware of their role in climate change concerns.

Travel shaming has gotten a boost recently from 16-year old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who is currently travelling by sailboat to the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

The ‘Greta Effect’ is leading to many to reconsider their flying habits, but it’s difficult to reconcile these with worries about global warming.

Travel may broaden the mind, but it may soon be that we stay on the ground to do so.


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