Flygskam: The Movement that's Making People Swap Planes for Trains

Flygskam: The Movement that's Making People Swap Planes for Trains
The flygskam movement is taking over social media platforms, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The Scandinavian term has been seen trending high on travel vocabulary lists. Will ‘flygskam’ change the way the world travels?

OT Staff
January 30 , 2021
04 Min Read

After hygge, there's a new Scandinavian word that's becoming popular in travel circles. People can be heard swapping the term ‘jet lagged’ with the Swedish word ‘flygskam’. The literal translation of this Swedish word is 'flight shame'. This can be better described as the uneasy thought arising from the awareness that air travel is not climate-friendly. Hence the use of this phrase might be treated as more ‘woke’ than simply ‘cool’. 

Read: 10 Holiday Ideas to Perfect the Art of Hygge

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This anti-flying movement is picking up pace owing to social media and a few important youth influencers. For instance, you must have read about environmental activist Greta Thunberg and her boycotting air travel. She took a 32-hour train ride to the World Economic Forum in Davos, while the other leaders attending the same climate summit arrived in private jets.

Read: Why you Must Book a Vistadome Coach for your Next Journey

Another like-minded influencer is Bjorn Ferry, an Olympic biathlete, who has replaced air travel and given in to the charm of overnight trains. 

A BBC report mentions Roger Tyers, a climate sociologist who took a “no-flying fieldtrip” to China. He spent two weeks by train each way. It might sound like a daunting expedition, but he is glowing about his train trip, says the report. “It was a fascinating journey,” he says. “I’ve seen some incredible things that you just wouldn’t see getting on a plane.” He lists a slew of other advantages: digital detox, reading, talking to different people, no jetlag. “And just appreciating the size of our planet and how diverse it is.”

A large ‘flight shame’ movement comprising young influencers and travellers is brewing. This entire debate of ‘on the wheels’ versus ‘in the air’ has coined another term ‘tagskryt’, which stands for ‘train bagging’. Several people have started sharing stories about their train journeys. Some have even been insisting on a frequent flyers levy to discourage air travel.

Read: 5 Lesser-Known Scenic Train Journeys in India

Next time you are on Facebook, check out the groups where people share about their travel chronicles via trains. The idea of 'train bragging' is aimed at enjoying the journey and embracing it as a part of travelling to another destination, not merely landing in some other airport. 

Some might think it is a little easy for Europeans to pledge to a no-fly resolution due to the excellent train network, others propose that the notion of ‘flygskam’ will bring us closer to the concept of travelling and enrich our touring experiences. Many in Europe have responded with a massive decrease in flights as their choice of travel as the amount of carbon emissions contributed by airplanes is harmful for the environment. 

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