Flight Free UK shares their top tips for enjoying a year of travel without flying

11 February 2020

By guest blogger, Maggie Robertson, campaigner for Flight Free UK

Would you stop flying for a year to fight climate change?' I stood outside my son's primary school, asking the other parents as they arrived. The most common reaction was to avoid my eye, take a flier and hurry away without replying. The second most common was, 'We don't fly anyway!

The Flight Free campaign started in Sweden in 2018 and has since spread around the world, with branches in Germany, France, the USA and Australia as well as the UK. The aim of the campaign is to inspire a social shift away from flying by asking 100,000 people to pledge not to fly in 2020. And it works: in Sweden, in early 2019 there was a fall of 8% in passengers on domestic flights.¹

Maggie Robertson, campaigner for Flight Free UK

Why stop flying? If aviation were a country it would rank in the top ten emitters². And it is growing fast. The International Air Transport Association says the number of passengers could double to 8.2 billion by 2037.³

The British fly a lot. One in twelve passengers on an international flight is British,4 and we have the fifth highest per person aviation emissions in the world.5 And most of our flights are taken for fun, not for work.6

And yet... about half of Britons don't fly at all in any one year,7 and many just don't fly, full stop. So how hard could it be to give up?

Some people find it very hard. Outside my son's school one person said, 'No. I do lots of things for the environment, but not that.' The problem is that, if you fly, it's likely to outweigh all the other positive things you might be doing.8

Train on the St Ives Bay Line

Flying is associated with many things: treats, adventures, sunshine, personal growth, and freedom. But you don't have to give those up. Not flying doesn't mean not travelling. In fact, for some, it can be the adventure of a lifetime.

The Flight Free pledge is just for a year. It gives you time to explore new options for work trips and holidays. On the Flight Free UK website you will find tips and inspiration for your year on the ground. And it is encouraging to be part of a supportive community of people who love travel, and love the planet.

Anna Hughes, Director, Flight Free UK

And if you are already among the UK's many non fliers, carry on! And please join us and take our pledge. You will help us show the world that it is quite normal to stay on the ground.

Flight Free UK's tips for enjoying a year of travel without flying:

· Fall in love with trains. Take a picnic, maybe some wine, a good book (or some work), have a snooze, or gaze out of the window and daydream.

· Coaches can also be a practical, flexible and rewarding way to travel, and are often less expensive.

· Embrace the journey. Plan what you will do when you arrive. Relax and chat to fellow travellers. Pay attention to changes in the landscape and the language.

· Find the websites and apps that help you plan your journey, manage tickets and reservations, and negotiate local transport when you arrive. We like RailEurope, Seat61.com and Citymapper.

· Love where you are. The UK has an incredible variety of landscapes, coastline, food, history... and weather! Sometimes the most beautiful places are not far away.

Could you pledge to be Flight Free in 2020?

Follow Flight Free UK on Twitter @flightfree2020 and Facebook /flightfreeuk


1 | Guardian 4 June 2019 #stayontheground: Swedes turn to trains amid climate 'flight shame'

2 | Reducing Emissions from Aviation, European Commission

3 | International Air Transport Association (IATA) press release 24 October 2018

4 | Data from IATA, reported in the Independent 31 July 2019

5 | International Council on Clean Transportation 16 October 2019 'Not every tonne of aviation CO2 is created equal'

6 | The International Passenger Survey for 2018 found 66% of visits abroad by UK residents were for holidays, 23% were visiting friends and family, and less than 10% were business trips

7 | Public experiences of and attitudes towards air travel: 2014 Department for Transport

8 | www.flightfree.co.uk/why_flight_free

More from our blog

Subscribe to our blog posts. We are planning to post about once a month. We will never share your details and you can unsubscribe with a single click.