“Shame of flying” redirects here. For the anxiety disorder, see Fear of flying.
Flight shame or flygskam is an anti-flying movement that started in 2018 in Sweden and gained traction the following year throughout northern Europe.Flygskam is a Swedish word that literally means “flight shame”. The movement discourages people from flying to lower carbon emissions to thwart climate change.
Staffan Lindberg, a Swedish singer, was reported to have coined the term in 2017.Björn Ferry, an Olympic athlete, was also one of the first notable champions of the concept.Malena Ernman, an opera singer and the mother of teenage activist Greta Thunberg, also announced publicly that she would stop flying. Thunberg helped popularize the movement. The idea would continue to grow as other Swedish celebrities followed suit. The word started to become mainstream amongst English speakers in 2019.
Tågskryt, a Swedish word that literally means “train brag”, has resulted from the flygskam movement. This idea encourages people to travel by train rather than by plane. Furthermore, it encourages people to utilize social media by posting pictures from their train trip and tagging it #tågskryt.
Att smygflyga, which means “to fly in secret”, is also another term that has been derived from the flygskam movement.
In Sweden, more people have used the train and domestic flying decreased in Sweden.SJ, Sweden’s main train operator, reported that it sold 1.5 million more tickets in 2018 that the year prior. According to Swedavia, Sweden’s airport operators, domestic travel decreased 9% from the previous year. Figures of passengers at Sweden’s ten busiest airports decreased 5% in the summer of 2019 as compared to the year prior.
The same pattern in Sweden was seen in Germany.Deutsche Bahn AG railway service reported record high number of travelers in 2019. German airports showed a decreased in passengers taking domestic flights, with a 12% decrease from November 2019 as compared to the year prior.
The airline industry also recognized the movement as a threat. In 2019, at the annual International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Seoul, combating flygskam was discussed. Some airlines, such as easyJet, stated they would spend tens of millions of pounds to buy carbon offsets.
Ecologically, about 2.5 percent of global carbon emissions from humans come from commercial flights. Additionally, planes emit other gases such as nitrogen oxide and contrails that also have an environmental impact. At the time, the volume of flights was projected to expand, although the aviation industry was taking steps to decrease their emissions.