In Sweden, flying has become a social faux pas. That’s causing great concern for Swedish Airports and Scandinavian Airlines.
Swedavia AB, which operates 10 airports in Sweden, noted two startling stats:
- In 2018, Sweden had its weakest overall growth in the number of passengers in a decade
- Year-on-year passenger numbers have dropped for seven consecutive months
Meanwhile, it has been a record year for SJ, Sweden’s national rail service. The state-operated rail company attributes “the big interest in climate-smart travel” to its growth.
In Sweden, this phenomenon is known as “Flying Shame.” As its name implies, a growing number of Swedes now feel guilty about the environmental impact their flying has on the environment. Based on the numbers above, especially compared to the growth experienced in neighboring nations, this appears to be a real issue. In fact, the World Wildlife Fund reports that 23% of Swedes have abstained from traveling via air over the last year to reduce their climate impact. New words in the Swedish vocabulary include “flygskam” (flying shame), “tagskryt” (train bragging), and “smygflyga” (flying in secret).
To combat its perception as a polluter, SAS has taken several steps, including:
- Seeking to use more biofuel
- Replacing older, less-fuel-efficient aircraft (MD80s were retired)
- Switching heavier seating for lighter, slimline seating
- Asking customers to pre-book food (to avoid waste and extra weight onboard)
- Investing in energy projects that counteract the CO2 emissions generated by its Eurobonus loyalty program members
SAS Boss: Flying Will Evolve, Not Disappear
Speaking to Bloomberg, SAS Chief Executive Officer Rickard Gustafson noted the challenge:
Airlines, like other infrastructure, are needed in order for us to have the societies we want, with growth, transparency, openness, clarity and tolerance. It’s important that people can continue to meet and that the world can continue to travel. But we can’t continue to just travel without adjusting to a sustainable way.
That change will not occur overnight. Today, for example, there is simply enough biofuel available to meet the needs of SAS. But SAS is working with Swedish biofuel maker Preem to ramp up production. It hopes to cut carbon emissions by 25% (from 2005 levels) by 2030.
The journey toward a fossil-free footprint will be long, but I’m a technology optimist. One day a scientist will figure out how to replace the current jet engine, and I think those planes will become available to all of us in, say, 20 years’ time.
SAS cannot risk watching to see whether “flying shame” will be a short-lived fad or a long-term lifestyle change. The question is whether its changes will be enough to convince skeptics that it is doing the best it can to offset its carbon footprint.
I wish more Americans would have “flying shame” so the flights weren’t so crowded!
Good for the Swedes.
We need flying shame ‘trolls’ to go around to blogs and Instagram accounts and post “tsk..tsk… and some statistics” even those woke Folk need a wake up call.
Actually, pre-booking food sounds like a good idea. I like it on the few flights (AA, BA) where it is available.
That’s what smart people do. Worry about the environment. Not about seat recline…
The logical evolution of that thought is to feel guilty about one’s own carbonfoot print and trash production and and conclude suicide is the only way to go.
I hope you all see the insanity of these guilt trips!!!
If flying is bad for environment you can bet all the idiots in the red states will take to the skies even if they have never too go just to run it in to the coastal elites.
Has any study been done that committing mass suicide is bad for the environment? It’s worth a try.
Ever been to Japan/Tokyo/Kyoto? Crowded cities, yet very very clean. They also use kei car in cities, besides public transport. Kei car is a very low emission car. And their suicide rates also high, along with their work rates. So if you can’t be any use/good for society, best killed yourself.
It’s the same crap in all Asian cultures. Modern day slavery:
Here in the US the slavery is through other means. If you don’t work you won’t have the basic necessities provided for. So you are forced to work and redd necks justify it through puritan means. Fundamentally humans are still living in medieval times even if all the red states idiots think themselves to be better than the arabs.
Even if robots could do all the work and there was enough to provide for everyone the puritans would force people to do unneeded work to earn their basic necessities. At that point you wonder if they are just sick in their minds.
So any able bodied person who doesn’t have food, housing, clothes, medical care, and other basics provided to them by the government for their entire life is a slave?
Everyone should have their basic needs taken care of. Let’s call this base case. Then anyone who works harder, smarter or by chance is more lucky should make a lot more than that base case. The base case used to be negative for blacks during slavery. They had to work harder just to be at the same level that whites took for granted. The base case should be zero is what today’s Republicans want. Having to worry about being able to afford to eat is a strong motivator to work hard, that’s what Republicans mean. And it is. But that’s what slavery is. The base case for many ‘woke ‘people, as you put it, is positive. Let people not worry about basic needs and they can find the best vocation they are good at and motivated to do. This is basic capitalism. Put the resources where they have the most utility.
Too bad you got banned from OMAAT. What you say holds true, and no one else puts it quite as, eloquently, as you.
Using the same word to describe the status of someone who was literally property and could be beaten, raped, or killed without consequence and someone who works 9 to 5 so they can support themselves is the height of absurdity.
Apologies, this reply was meant for Debit and I hit the wrong button.
Oddly enough, I don’t feel the slightest shame when flying longhaul in a premium cabin.
I guess I’m not “woke” yet.
Clearly you are unfamiliar with the concept of a mileage run.
Me either. I’m hoping for even more of the “Flying Shame” crap to go viral, they can stay home and leave additional seats available for those of us who will continue to travel.
The Swedes have gone mad on so many levels lately, so this is no big surprise. They also have 15-year old kids running around Europe, skipping school for the environment. They do certainly not look smart. Norwegians for instance, who should be very comparable culturally, looks like they feel absolutely no flying shame, and keep flying more and more each year.
So, what’s wrong with the Swedes? «Fåglarna vet» (maybe the birds know) …
Compared to those worried about seat recline and whether reclining is right or wrong, Swedes are more than smart.
So should I feel guilty about the carbon footprint of my upcoming flight on JAL first class?
Shame on me, as it were?
Sounds like AOC and the dangerous extremist far left would have a more receptive audience to her green new deal over there. She should move!
The current voluntary offset payment is entirely insufficient. There should be a compulsory tax on every seat, scaled up for premium cabins.
Similarly, any ‘driver only’ car rides must be taxed for emissions ( probably driver plus one, also).
These things will come in a very short time. Europe is leading the way but the US will follow suit ( at least one leading politician there has proposed something similar; she’s great ).. Young people are embracing these ideas with enthusiasm.
How much of a tax would you propose (just a ballpark figure) for a first class longhaul award redemption?
If Gustson thinks that emissions-free jet engines will be powering commercial airliners within 20 years, he doesn’t have the most basic understanding of aircraft technology or energy.
BTW, nice to see there’s still a place for Debit. That blogger who banned him is a spoiled child with zero common sense or life experience.