By Epigram Travel
The Croft Magazine // We urge you to follow Greta Thunberg and take trains to transport you across the Continent.
There’s a word in Swedish called flygskam. Literally, it means ‘flight shame’. And shamed you should be if... well, like everyone else at the moment... you’re still using budget airline tickets to get around without thinking. They’re cheap, easy and effective. But at the end of last year, world leaders met in Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit. Among the statistics presented was that aviation contributes 2 to 3 per cent of the world’s total carbon emissions. It’s percentage, however small, we can do without. And this one is not their responsibility to solve, but ours.
The budget airline phenomenon has only been with us since the turn of the Millennium. It’s easy to forget, as in twenty years, it has created out of nothing a new way to rival luxury extravagance, totally eclipsing the old way. The tickets are dirt cheap, and it has opened up travel (sadly, perhaps, if the beaches of Spain are to go by) to the average commoner. The Americans don’t yet have them, nor do either of us have low-cost alternatives to travel intercontinentally. But there’s no denying the criss-cross myriad of routes across Europe has turned this part of the world into an airspace that operates much like a bus network. Well, we got rid of Concord, unravelling decades of human technical progress. And now it’s time to get rid of budget airlines too... I mean, would we really call the cattle class of Ryanair human progress anyway?
"It’s time to get rid of budget airlines too... I mean, would we really call the cattle class of Ryanair human progress anyway?"
We’re not removing the slick Franco-British elegance of Concord. We’re asking Stelios, Michael O’Leary and their army of eastern air crew to get looking for new jobs. And what will we do when they’ve gone? Well, we’ll take the trains of course. Greta Thunberg only travels by train... so does Michael Portillo. And what a role model he is, gliding effortlessly south with a glass of champagne, reading his Bradshaw and gazing occasionally out of the window. You might have noticed that Boris has stealthily renationalised our rail network, but for the time being it remains outrageously expensive. Well, that’s as may be. Because we’re an island on a drip. And, from London, you can travel onto a Continent where trains are interconnected, cheap and (thanks to a multitude of decisive dictators), incredibly efficient.
We’re not suggesting sailing to New York. But next time you plan a trip to Europe: ask not for the flight times, but for the train times instead. Laziness doesn’t solve emergencies.
Featured Image: Epigram / Xander Brett