Here’s something so outside my range of interest that I had never even thought of it.

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg’s campaign to make people feel “flight shame” if they travel by plane has led to the reduction of bookings in her native Sweden. Now the U.S. airline industry is worried that the trend could take hold in this country.

“Flight shame”?  Let’s talk about this for a moment.

Every day I take people to the airport — most are going away on business, while others are jetting off to places like Aruba, Hawaii and Europe for their dream vacation, or else are taking their kids to a Disney Vergnügungslager  in California or Florida.  Others are going to visit family in far-off cities or countries (in some cases family whom they’ve not seen for years), while others still are proud grandparents off to annoy their children and spoil the grandchildren to death (as is their duty).

Does this sound like a bunch of people who would be “shamed” into foregoing their flights, all because some adolescent twerp thinks they shouldn’t be doing them?

Now I can see a couple of cases where there might be some kind of pullback on travel:  a corporation, for example, buys into the climate shame mantra, and as a form of virtue-signaling tells their employees to cut back — unless, of course, such an activity would have a serious impact on their bottom line, in which case… uh huh, you guessed it.  (“Yeah, boss, XYZ MegaCorp has canceled their million-dollar account with us because they haven’t seen any of our reps in a year…”)

Tell me that  wouldn’t set the stoat among the rabbits.

Another group who might be shamed into reducing their travel would be the International Backpack ‘N Sandals Set, who would otherwise be off to Explore Other Cultures And Enrich Their Lives, or do the eco-tourist thing [gag].  Quite frankly, this could only be A Good Thing in that normal people such as me would not have to sit for the following six hours next to someone who smells like a badger (and the male  travelers of this ilk are even worse).  Also, all those exotic eco-destinations would either go out of business (unemployment!) or have to raise their rates to compensate for the drop-off, making their business model affordable only to the extremely wealthy.

I can’t see Val d’Isère, Monaco or Kitzbühel losing much business, by the way:  the rich always carve out exceptions for themselves;  or else they just don’t care, nor do they buy into the eco-shaming, or both.  (About now, Mr. Free Market’s ears should be burning.)

Returning to the article:  it’s all very well for, say, Sweden  to experience a drop-off in air travel — there are many other ways to get from Sweden to other countries in Europe — but then again, all those countries are only a couple hundred miles apart.  However, the U.S. is not Scandinavia, nor even Europe:  I have to drive a couple hundred miles just to get out  of Texas, for instance, and further than that just to reach any other major city like Houston or San Antonio, still in Texas.

Finally, of course, we have the well-known hypocrisy of these holier-than-thou Greens, who think nothing of hopping on board a private Gulfstream just to attend a conference where they can scold other  people for burning fossil fuels and destroyiiiiing the planet.  Little Greta’s last scolding-trip to the New World, for instance, used more energy in total than a hundred and eighty families flying to Disney World for a week each*.

All that said:  if this foolishness does come to pass, what would be the reaction of the airlines to a sudden (and perhaps permanent) drop in passenger count?  We all know the answer to that:  discounted fares and “bundled” vacation packages to attract those lost customers back — with the concomitant drop in their balance sheets’ profit lines.

And wait till Delta/American/United discover that eco-fuel costs three times more than avgas, with a similar effect on their precious bottom line.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

*I just made that figure up — kinda like the Greens do in all their Doomsday predictions.


  1. All these adults who are aquiver over what Greta says seem to have forgotten what ignorant, self-righteous little shits THEY were as teens, and therefore don’t realize that Greta is an equally ignorant, self-righteous little shit. Then again, they’re mostly ignorant self-righteous big shits now (like Greta’s parents) and therefore think she’s onto something.

    When I was a kid we were all convinced we were going to die in a nuclear war, or from acid rain, or the hole in the ozone layer, or from nuclear winter, or an ice age, but if we’d stood up and shouted “How dare you?” at our elders we’d have been smacked in the face and told to shut up and go do our homework.

  2. Funnily enough, I prefer to not travel by air. Soon I’ll be travelling to London by train. Travel by plane is much quicker, of course, but I don’t need to be quick, and I don’t need to be treated like cattle.

  3. Well to be fair, you can travel from the Northeast to Florida by train, but you need to build-n another 4 days to your schedule, assuming no delays or derailments ….. or bad weather….or equipment failures……or….. Never mind. i’ll just drive instead.

  4. “Little Greta’s last scolding-trip to the New World, for instance, used more energy in total than a hundred and eighty families flying to Disney World for a week each*”

    Not far off the mark, Kim. I’ve read more than once that Greta of Arc’s sailing trip to and from her premier at the UN had such a large support crew that she at least matched Algore’s average enviro-spend for showings of his PowerPoint deck.

  5. Interesting post. Got me to look up Thunberg’s most recent trip to and from the US by sailboat. She hitched a ride on an already existing IMOCA 60 sailboat the use of which (and crew) were donated by the racing team. So, I suppose, the travel, itself, was at least zero emission given that the boat was already built. That said, spending 2 weeks, each way, on a 60′ boat without a toilet, shower, or heated meals, and 5 or 6 other people? Thanks, I’ll pass.


    1. You also have to take into account something like 5 crew people flew across the Atlantic (2 one way, 3 the other, IIRC) for that little stunt.

  6. One reason for a reduction in air travel – or at least, air travel by employees to employer-mandated meetings – is that Skype and similar internet techniques are more attractive to the employers.

    1. Before she retired my wife was an executive assistant for a high-level executive at a company you’d probably recognize if I told you the name. Her client was constantly flying (and since she WAS a high-level executive she flew first-class), NJ to London to Hong Kong back to London to Tokyo back to NJ, the company spent literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on air fare/hotels/car services per year, just on that one person. You can’t tell me that SOME of those meetings couldn’t have been handled via teleconference. (As an aside, she kept all the miles accrued, so she’ll never need to pay for another flight for the rest of her life). Flying half-way around the world to attend a four hour meeting just didn’t make sense to me.

      1. I’ve done Syracuse to Chicago for a two hour meeting and back, same day. Ditto Forida – think it was 4 hours. Syracuse to LA and back to work in Syracuse the next day. Those forced march trips suck.

        If her client got to keep the miles (I did not), I’d say so what? It’s still not worth it.

  7. If there’s a drop off in flying it may – just MAY – be because flying sucks balls and has for years.

    I’ve flown exactly one time since 2014 and that was a one-way flight to Salt Lake City to pick up a truck I was buying and drive it back home to Denver.

    The flight wasn’t awful but it wasn’t fun either. By contrast, the drive back through the red rock deserts of Utah and the mountains of Colorado was spectacular. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

    Anymore flying is like a trip to the dentist: Something you do because you have to. You dread it beforehand, you suck it up and gut your way through it while it’s happening and after it’s over, you’re glad it’s over.

    Speaking of which, back in 2017 there was an event the wife wanted to go to in San Diego in August. Logistically, it would have required us to rent a car if we’d flown (or to try and beg rides from others, which I hate to do.)

    I sat down and crunched the numbers and by the time I figured flights for two people, baggage charges, airport parking or a taxi/Uber to the airport, and rental car costs, I realized that we could just drive her little Honda CR-V to San Diego a lot cheaper, even accounting for a hotel mid-way on our way out and back (pro tip: Mesquite, NV has some really nice casino hotels that are dirt cheap and it’s just a little past the halfway point between Denver and SD.)

    The only thing it cost us was time (an extra day each way) and I have plenty of vacation so that was a non-issue for us. SO much more relaxing to take the long drive than to deal with all the airport/airline/rental car hassles. And we saved money even accounting for stupid-expensive California gas prices.

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