A survey by Swiss bank UBS suggested that attitudes towards the environmental impacts of theft are changing rapidly. Before the pandemic, more than a fifth (21%) of 6,000 people polled in the UK, US, Germany and France said they had reduced the number of flights they took the year before.
For that we can thank “flygskam” – a Swedish word which best translates as “shame of the flight”.
Aviation’s carbon footprint grew up 20% in Europe since 2005 and it is increasing on average by 4% per year.
The aviation sector accounted for around 7% of the UK’s total emissions in 2017 and is expected to be the UK’s main source of emissions by 2050.
It is the well-educated middle classes who are responsible for this growth and who feel the “shame of flight” of their unfair carbon footprint.
The good news is that there are alternatives for most ski vacations in Europe: travel by train.
I have traveled to Chamonix, Val d’Isère and Méribel by train, but my favorite trip is always to St Anton. London to Paris by Eurostar, then a TGV to Zurich. The arrival is timed to perfectly fit the train to Austria and this last connection takes you along the shores of beautiful Lake Constance before entering the Tyrolean Alps.
Unfortunately, Eurostar has withdrawn its direct weekend service from London to the French Alps this winter due to the pandemic and has yet to confirm whether it will return in 2021/22, but it is still possible to travel via Paris, by connecting to a TGV to open up to many more destinations.
There is no denying that traveling by train takes longer, depending on how far away from London where you live, and that certainly will not suit some, but compared to air travel it is not only more carbon efficient, but also a lot more civilized.
You can work, sleep, enjoy the incredible views, get up and stretch your legs. You can even talk to your friends and family.
Check-in and security take minutes, not hours, and your luggage won’t get lost, and you won’t get stuck on a trail either.
You don’t have to ditch the plane, but maybe try to travel by train at least once next winter. You’ll reduce your emissions, reduce your “ stealing shame ” and enjoy a much more relaxed start to your well-deserved ski vacation.
When to book your tickets
Tickets for the Eurostar to Paris are currently on sale until the end of February 2022, with plenty of seats still available upon return from £ 78. Eurostar also offers the possibility to modify your reservation as many times as you wish without currency exchange costs.
Tickets with SNCF, the French national railway company, for indirect winter train journeys to the Alps are currently only on sale for this summer, with winter timetables normally published in the fall.
To learn more about Iain Martin’s Ski Flight Free campaign, see skiflightfree.org.