A couple of years ago, the Second World War slogan “Keep calm and carry on” appeared on just about every piece of tat you could buy.
We all got bored of it, but as we enter the new decade, another wartime slogan: “Is your journey really necessary?” may be ringing in our ears. The phrase was used to deter civilians from travelling by train, allowing troops and supplies to be prioritised.
Seventy-five years on, it’s a question some consumers are beginning to ask as the era of flight shaming begins.
Travel is not quite facing an existential crisis, but it now has to prove itself like never before. Already, some clients are rethinking their travel plans on environmental grounds and, in the opposite of the wartime campaign to get people off trains, Sunvil Holidays is one company offering rail travel options instead of flights this summer.
Environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg may not have impressed many suits in the room at the recent Davos summit, but her arguments are influencing the planet’s youth. The effect has already been seen in her home country, where Swedavia’s 10 Swedish airports saw passenger numbers fall 4% in 2019, with the main decrease being in domestic flights.
There are signs the debate is also changing here, as the recent kerfuffle over the rescue of Flybe showed.