Sustainable holidays and flying

Many of us have become more aware of the carbon impact of travel – particularly flying – as the ‘flight shame’ movement continues to grow. According to Eurostar the train journey from London to Paris produces 4.1kg CO2 per passenger compared to 63.6kg for a flight. The Energy Saving Trust has carried out a comparison of different journeys between London and Edinburgh. These ranged from 144kg CO2 for a flight to 29kg by train.

To examine these issues further, in November 2020 LCON hosted a webinar entitled, ‘What’s the harm in flying?’. We were delighted to welcome Dr Sally Cairns from the Institute of Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, and our trustee and climate psychology expert Rebecca Nestor, to explore the environmental impact of flying alongside its psychological appeal and emotional power. You can access the recording, summary and slides here.  

So what can we, as individuals, do? Suggestions include:

  • Acknowledge the pain and loss associated with flying less or not flying at all.
  • Talk to friends and family and lead by example.
  • Pledge not to fly for a year through Flightfree UK – helping to build the message that not flying is socially acceptable.
  • Support and follow organisations like Aviation Environment Federation or Airport Watch.
  • Join local groups protesting airport expansion.

We plan to look in more detail at some of these suggestions, to help us all reflect further and contribute to the solutions as much as we can. If you have ideas or would like to get involved, please get in touch: .

Finally, we have a page of stories and resources about our own experiences of low-carbon travel. Read and be inspired!

Deutsche Bahn campaign to promote domestic tourism, from article by Contagious.