Air tickets over certain distances are still much cheaper than the train or a trip by car.
(AFP / CHARLY TRIBALEAU)
A large majority of young French people are ready to reduce their air travel, which is considered too polluting, without giving it up definitively, according to an ObSoCo survey carried out for Greenpeace in February 2022.
81% of young people aged 18 to 35 are “prepared to change their travel practices for environmental reasons or are already doing so”.
This is reminiscent of the movement born in Sweden in 2018, “flygskam” (“the shame of flying” in Swedish), which intends
condemn the impact of air transport on global warming
responsible for 2 to 3% of global CO2 emissions.
For Armelle Solelhac, founder of the Switch agency, which specializes in forecasting and strategy in tourism, “many young people say they want to prefer softer means of mobility to preserve the environment”. But “the reality is that what still guides their choices – and understandably so – is their financial means” and
“air tickets over certain distances are still much cheaper than the train or a trip by car”
Economic argument, not ecological
66% of young people who are considering a different means of transport than the plane are considering it for cost reasons. They are not
only 13% think it is for ecological reasons,
according to the ObSoCo survey. “After Covid, the average age of travelers on low-cost airlines has even become younger”, according to Armelle Solelhac.
“Young people do not choose their destination based on the ecological impact of their stay.
The carbon footprint is even the last mentioned criterion
in choosing a mode of transport”, according to ObSoCo, which notes that a “slight majority of air travelers (51%) declare that they are sensitive to the carbon footprint of their flight”. But 38% of young people interviewed say that they “feel a sense of guilt when they fly and
one in five feel pressure from those around them”
“They practice a form of self-censorship, on social networks we will no longer see them on the tarmac or in airplanes next to windows, we will see them in photos directly from tourist destinations”, notes Armelle Solelhac. Conversely, “people glorify the fact of getting around in soft mobility”, she says, citing “an executive who recently highlighted on a professional network the fact that he had gone to a wedding in Morocco by bicycle”.
This is Thibaut Labey, 37, who lives in Morbihan and founded the Chilowé guide specializing in “outdoor micro-adventures”. The traveler remains amazed by the success of his publication on the network, including from the point of view of negative reviews.
Not flying “remains a touchy subject, people have the impression of being attacked by your approach”, he says. “I’m not trying to make people feel guilty, guilt is not a good driver of change,” he says.