Time to End Cheap Flights 450


African cities generally use less electricity than their European equivalents, as people own fewer appliances and have greater need for thrift. Jet engines are essentially the same as turbines used for electricity generation, and the engines on a single jumbo would power a small African city had they generators attached. Remember that next time you fly.

Worldwide aviation emissions pump slightly more pollution into the atmosphere than the entire United Kingdom economy, and aviation emissions continue relentlessly to increase year after year. Air transport is simply far too cheap for the damage it causes and the resources it consumes. You cannot cause more damage to the Earth’s atmosphere with £30 worth of resources, than by buying a £30 Ryanair ticket to Barcelona. If you spend that £30 on fuel for your diesel car, or on coal and burn it in your garden, you will not come close to the damage caused by your share of emissions on that Ryanair flight.

The fundamental reason air travel has expanded to be so harmful is the international understanding that tax and duty is not charged on aviation fuel – unlike vehicle, train or maritime fuel. Even citizens of Saudi Arabia or Venezuela no longer can access fuel as cheaply as you do in effect when you fly.

The notion that it is impossible to tax aviation fuel, as a plane could fly off and fill up elsewhere, is nonsense. There would be a cost to that flight scheduling, and in any event countries could tax planes on untaxed fuel landed in their fuel tanks, not to mention the scope for international agreement on enforcing fuel levies.

The fact that aviation fuel is not taxed is indeed not the sole reason why it is, ludicrously, cheaper for me to fly from Edinburgh to Bristol or London than get the extremely more fuel-efficient train – for which fuel is taxed. The farce and greed of rail privatisation is also a large part of it. But the fuel tax question undoubtedly is a very major factor, and the sole reason you can fly to Barcelona for £30.

The question has become mixed with notions of democratisation of leisure. This should be tackled head on. There is no human right to go by air and have a sun soaked holiday on the Med dirt cheap. The Earth cannot afford to indulge the pollution caused by massive air tourism. The unpopularity of saying this means that few people in politics ever do, but it is nonetheless true. In view of climate change, for the public to expect Ryanair fare levels is obscene.

Mass air travel for leisure needs to be stopped. Maritime, rail and other more eco-friendly means of international communication need to be encouraged. As mankind has not even the political will to tackle these most straightforward of measures on climate change, I really do begin to despair for the future.


450 thoughts on “Time to End Cheap Flights

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  • N_

    Loanshark scum Wonga may be about to go bust. How about arresting Errol Damelin before he can run to an airport? Seize all his assets and lock him up! Filth like him have trousered many millions from the increasing number of poor people in Britain who find themselves living from hand to mouth. Lock all of the bastards who own and run Wonga and other “payday loan” firms up, and drag them out each morning for a kicking.

    • Andyoldlabour

      @N_,
      I totally agree,the sharp increase in payday loan companies with interest rates far in excess of 1000%, is disgustingly immoral, and even more disgusting that the government(s) have allowed them to exist.
      It is “Usury” – Lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest, thus allowing the lender to enrich themselves unfairly.

  • SA

    It is amazing to see that there are still many man made climate change deniers here when you consider that even the big oil companies do not dispute man made climate change.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/mar/23/in-court-big-oil-rejected-climate-denial

    Some of those write things like: How does feeble man aspire to change the climate, mother nature will heal itself? Those individuals have obviously not heard of how man can put life on the planet to an end by just exploding a few nuclear devices. Others argue that it is the fault of the poor, you see there are so many of them, they consume much energy. These elitists seem to think that it is virtuous to be super rich because you do not then need cheap flights. And so on, each using this is a political footbal in a situation that should not really be one of partisanship.
    But at the end of the day, climate change is a scientific fact, those who think scientifically will know how to look at these facts and examine them critically. Others will rely on faith or conspiracy to keep up thier denial.

    • Michael McNulty

      I think it’s because TV cameras will be covering the conference, so when people like Margaret Hodge move around the venue bodyguards will be seen moving around with them, “to keep them safe”. If that’s the plan it invites ridicule, and cartoonists and commentators can easily ask where are the bodyguards for Palestinians? If it is badly overdone (and most security men are not actors nor camera-savvy so there’s no saying what they might do) it could end up looking like a parody from Borat and make the whole plot just plain silly.

    • Ian

      comedians are a great authority on the science of climate change. Sure. Ten years old, the science has advanced a lot in that time.

      • pretzelattack

        there are so few actual scientists who dispute the theory, about as many as dispute evolution or espouse a flat earth, that climate science deniers have to go to war with the comedians they have.

        • Ian

          The only comedic aspect is those people who give us their armchair expertise that it is a ‘hoax’ without any evidence, save linking to some fringe sites or fringe scientists. Then they think their assertion is of equal weight to those by people who have studied and researched for years and have a myriad of evidence at their disposal. Bit like brexit really.

          • Dave

            All creeds need a bogeyman and the new age Marxists, (Melons, green on outside, red on the inside) have invented a climate bogeyman to excuse their half-baked anti-capitalist agenda, which undermines the environment with for example wind turbines in areas of natural beauty.

          • pretzelattack

            it’s science, not a creed. and standup comics are not experts on science, sorry.

          • James Charles

            “For climate change, there are many scientific organizations that study the climate. These alphabet soup of organizations include NASA, NOAA, JMA, WMO, NSIDC, IPCC, UK Met Office, and others. Click on the names for links to their climate-related sites. There are also climate research organizations associated with universities. These are all legitimate scientific sources.

            If you have to dismiss all of these scientific organizations to reach your opinion, then you are by definition denying the science. If you have to believe that all of these organizations, and all of the climate scientists around the world, and all of the hundred thousand published research papers, and physics, are all somehow part of a global, multigenerational conspiracy to defraud the people, then you are, again, a denier by definition. 

            So if you deny all the above scientific organizations there are a lot of un-scientific web sites out there that pretend to be science. Many of these are run by lobbyists (e.g.., Climate Depot, run by a libertarian political lobbyist, CFACT), or supported by lobbyists (e.g., JoannaNova, WUWT, both of whom have received funding and otherwise substantial support by lobbying organizations like the Heartland Institute), or are actually paid by lobbyists to write Op-Eds and other blog posts that intentionally misrepresent the science.”
            https://thedakepage.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/how-to-assess-climate-change.html

          • Ian

            dave – you’re the one with a creed, a bogeyman and a faith based blind belief. Such is the irony of your feeble attempts to avoid the evidence, or learn something.

  • Richard Gadsden

    London to Malaga by train, right now, would be a little under 15 hours by train if there was a direct train. There isn’t and it takes the better part of two whole days, with an overnight stay in Barcelona or Madrid.

    There are a few stretches of this journey that are still on conventional tracks, not on high speed. There is at least four hours wasted (there is a gap between Avignon and Perpingnan in France, where the train goes on slow tracks and loses nearly three hours, the other is that the Mediterranean-coast line in Spain is incomplete. Current high-speed trains in Spain go via Madrid, which is high-speed all the way, but a long detour, wasting at least an hour). That would make it about 11-12 hours, which would be a perfectly reasonable journey; board before dinner, sleep on the train and have breakfast before arrival. If we build HS2 properly (ie a whole national network and not just a couple of lines) then it would be two extra hours to Edinburgh/Glasgow, one extra to Manchester/Leeds/Cardiff.

    A ticket is about £300-£400 return, right now, even with all the complexities of the journey. A reasonably efficient sleeper should be more like £250 return, which is low enough that it could get a lot of passengers if it wasn’t competing with air. It’s (after inflation) about what a return flight to Spain cost in the 1980s when holidays there really started taking off.

    Given that most people are quite prepared to have a day ruined by flying (how many people actually plan anything on the flight day other than finding the hotel and a meal?), spending that same day on a train should attract quite a lot of passengers if they could compete with flights on price.

    Such a train would be dependent on attracting passengers from flying, which means increasing the cost of flying while investing that money in improving the train.

    But, yes, if governments spent the £500 billion or so necessary to complete the european high-speed network, then you’d be able to get from just about anywhere in Europe (excluding Russia and any island not connected by bridge or tunnel) to just about anywhere else in 24 hours. Glasgow-Istanbul and Lisbon-Tallinn are both about 24 hours if there’s high-speed all the way.

    • SA

      Richard
      Rail travel would be a great thing to revive. Sadly in this country it became a victim of Thatcher’s vendetta against trade unions. Instead of rail freight we had a proliferation of road haulage, which somewhat impacted on the developement of passenger rail travel indirectly.
      Another great way to travel would also be car/rail travel so as to utilise your car at the end. I use the Euro tunnel now almost exclusively to travel to France but not further afield although I believe there is also a European network for this. Would be interesting to hear your experience of this.

      • Kempe

        There used to be a Motor-Rail service in the UK but it was axed in the run up to privatisation. It’s one thing I wish they’d bring back. Currently the only alternative is to travel by train and hire a car at the other end but that can be expensive and fraught with problems.

  • Cesca

    Got to 4:14 before thinking crap Ishmael: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GENCkkXmqoo, in what way could the difference you perceive between yourself and bourgeois like me exist? We’re all threatened but the simplistic definition in the vid ain’t helpful, it’s actually much worse and seriously complex.

    Will repost this in the newer thread to make sure you see it, hopefully

  • Sharp Ears

    Duh!

    Arms giant Lockheed Martin’s tribute to John McCain goes down… badly

    ‘It’s rare for a military contractor to go out of its way to highlight ties to elected officials, but US defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin wrote a most heartfelt eulogy to the late John McCain. Its sentiment was not appreciated.

    On Sunday, a day after the American politician’s death, the Maryland-based company took to its Twitter to call the long-serving Arizona senator “an exceptionally courageous leader and a true patriot.”

    But, with the combination of McCain’s reputation as a fierce advocate of US foreign intervention and Lockheed’s line of work, this was never likely to attract the say-something-nice-or-nothing-at-all crowd.’

    https://www.rt.com/usa/436904-lockheed-martin-mccain-eulogy/

  • Geoffrey

    Yes,well talking of train journeys I went to the Ukraine by train. Slow but easy,and comfortable. London Berlin cost €280 it as the cheapest I could get because I booked late (however because the train arrived in Berlin was over 2 hours late I got a 50% refund). Berlin Warsaw €25 ,very good reasonbly priced lunch, Warsaw Lviv €60 overnight about 12 hours comfortable but had to wait about 4 hours at the the border while they changed the wheels, but that was fine and I was allowed to help spade coal into the furnace that supplied the heaters.
    Lviv to Odessa great comfort overnight in brand new train ( a present from the EU) about €70 arrive and you can walk to your hotel. Odessa to Kiev again overnight €60. Straightforward.
    Finally Kiev London on BA about €80.
    Great on your own and saves on hotels,with a family a bit expensive and slow. Yesterday a Ukrainian friend told me he had bought a return to Kiev on Wizz Air I think for €60 !
    I enjoyed my journey and learnt a lot.

  • Steve Hayes

    This post is so redolent of everything that is wrong with the people pushing the Climate Change ideology: in a word, hypocrisy. Craig Murray is, of course, one of the people who use jet travel. I do not know what his personal contribution is to greenhouse gas emissions, but I strongly suspect it is way above that of the average human being. When one looks at CO2 emissions per capita, it is clear who is causing the problem: the United Kingdom is the eighth worst, for example, (after the USA, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany and China respectively). But if you want to see what a world without CO2 emissions would look like, the countries to look at are Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Chad, etc. When those pushing the Climate Change catastrophe narrative stop contributing to greenhouse gases, the rest of us might take their warnings a little more seriously.

    • glenn_nl

      Climate change is not an “ideology”, Steve, it’s a fact. That fact is not changed by whether an individual produces more or less CO2 themselves.

      Your logic needs a bit of work too – are you saying you’d only accept that exercise and a good diet is necessary for your health, from someone who is exceptionally fit, and eats only the best chosen foods? A fat person has no business telling you the same, because they would be wrong if they did?

      I had a friend who died an alcoholic. Now are you telling me that his earnest message, that alcoholism was a terrible affliction, and alcohol consumption has to be controlled, must therefore be wrong? Because that is the upshot of your entire point here.

    • SA

      This argument of hypocrisy is also used when left leaning people are interested in a nice meal of opera and often confuses socialism and communism with true Christianity. When we have no alternatives we all have to use the capitalist system otherwise you are asking Craig to live in a cave and eat roots.
      As always you need to look at the system not one’s use of it. My criticism is not that this criticism is extreme but that it is not inclusive enough of all The excesses of capitalism.

    • John Monro

      “People pushing climate change ideology?” You have been provided a list of people above “pushing” climate change, thousands of the most experienced and knowledgeable scientists on the planet. They are not pushing anything, paid for the most part by various countries’ governments, on behalf of their citizenry, they are in fact providing that citizenry and its political servants with information on which logical action can be taken. We are being warned of a catastrophe. You must have been living under the proverbial stone in the last few months as you have lived through some of the hottest ever weather in many different parts of the Northern Hemisphere this summer. That is what global warming looks like. It is not some distant problem you can bury your head in the sand, but affecting the here and now. (of course, it might be the case that your children and grandchildren will be literally burying themselves in the sand) You have to wonder why so many oil companies are spending so much money to counter this information, if it weren’t true, as they themselves admitted, privately, many years ago.

      Now, a definition of a much ill-used word, hypocrisy. Basically hypocrisy is a lie to the outside world, a statement that you believe or understand one thing, but secretly you don’t believe at all. For instance, a vicar who told you he believed in God, and had you praying for your soul, when he is an unbeliever, but won’t admit it because it’s too painful or would affect his career or prospects. Understanding the reality of something, like say global warming, but failing to live up to the needed changes in your own lifestyle that might make things a bit better is NOT hypocrisy, it is merely common human failing. The Green MP who has a car, or who eats meat, or who has four children, but states the truth about our environmental destruction, is not a hypocrite, but merely someone trying to sustain themselves and their family in the world in which they find themselves, whilst trying their hardest to improve it for everyone, and of course you’re not to know what actual measures that person may have taken or been taking to reduce their environmental footprint.. Another example, this time of true hypocrisy, governments and politicians who pay scientist to study global warming, so that they claim support for science and learn from them, but then refuse to acknowledge this information when it is provided. ie, they express a belief in science when they fund these organisations, but in actual fact, like many right wingers, are cynical doubters of science and actually intensely anti-academic.

      As for your last assertion that if those warning about global warming stopped themselves contributing to climate change, you might take their warnings a bit more seriously, that’s obviously nonsense. If you can’t accept the science now, why should the actions of this relatively small number of fellow human beings for whom you having nothing but contempt now, make the slightest difference to your viewpoint. It’s rather more likely you’ll be saying something like “more fool them”. Basically your point is an intellectual and moral cop-out.

      • alan2102

        John Monro: Sorry, but that’s pedantic crap. Who gives a damn if his use of the word “hypocrisy” was not precisely correct? Everyone knows what he is talking about, and he is RIGHT. Al Gore and Leo DiCaprio need to STOP jetting around the world (etc. etc.) in order for others to take them seriously. I AM NOT A CLIMATE DENIER. But I have the balls to admit when deniers (on rare occasion) make good points. This is one of them.

        • Clark

          Will the company cancel the flights if Al Gore or Leo DiCaprio aren’t on them? If not, Al Gore or Leo DiCaprio may as well fly, seeing as the aircraft will be going there anyway.

  • Brian Davey

    Here are the reasons to despair – from Arctic News:

    http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-once-thickest-arctic-sea-ice-has-gone.html

    This article startswith an image which is

    “…..a compilation of NASA Worldview images over seven days, from August 14 through to August 21, 2018. The least cloudy areas have been selected from each image to get the best insight in the magnitude of this catastrophe.

    The loss of this sea ice indicates that the buffer is gone. Sea ice acts as a buffer that absorbs heat, while keeping the temperature at the freezing point of water, about zero degrees Celsius. As long as there is sea ice in the water, this sea ice will keep absorbing heat, so the temperature doesn’t rise at the sea surface.

    Once the buffer is gone, further energy that enters the Arctic Ocean will go into heating up the water. The amount of energy absorbed by melting ice is as much as it takes to heat an equivalent mass of water from zero to 80°C.

    At the same time, decline of the snow and ice cover in the Arctic which causes more sunlight to get reflected back into space, resulting in more energy getting absorbed in the Arctic Ocean.

    Numerous feedbacks are associated with sea ice loss. As the temperature difference between the Arctic and the Equator decreases, changes are taking pace to the Jet Stream that in turn trigger a multitude of further feedbacks, such as more extreme weather and a more scope for heat to enter the Arctic Ocean….

    A further huge danger is that, as warming of the Arctic Ocean continues, heat will reach methane hydrates at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, causing them to get destabilized and release methane.

    Adding up all warming elements associated with disappearance of the sea ice could result in additional global warming many times as much as the current global warming, all in a few years time.

  • Paul Simmons

    I have a massive dilemma as I provide walking holidays abroad utilising local services that are pumping money into local economies for small often solo businesses.
    By having people use air travel to get there and back and being part of Cornwall’s sustainable tourism business do I give up these organised walking holidays in Europe and concentrate on my local area of Cornwall which also benefits from passengers travelling from Europe and America which would inevitably lead to me questioning banning anyone travelling here by plane. I am truly concerned having been Green for years and face a massive decision. Would I be stopping people airctracelling anyway as they would go to my competitors or other places … by air and possibly utilising the all in one holidays that do not benefit local businesses.

  • Frank

    The modern jet engine is pure lean burn efficiency, for comparison the ferry [SeaCat] from Douglas Isle of Man to Liverpool consumes 8,000Kg of fuel, [106Kg per nautical mile]. An airliner from Ronaldsway to Liverpool airport will burn 300kg, [4kg per nautical mile]. It’s a no brainer, aviation is so much more fuel efficient. The comparison to long haul [transatlantic] routes are similar, with aviation being so much more environmentally friendly.
    The cost of fuel is a surprisingly small fraction of the overhaul operating cost of an airliner, engineering is by far the most costly component.
    Aviation is the only public transport system that has a departure tax, you quote £30.00 for a flight to Barcelona, £13.00 of that fare would be departure tax, yes that’s a massive 43% tax, no other transport system in the world attracts anything like this level of taxation.
    Low cost fares are only possible because of the “low cost businesses model” low cost operators use. Not because they are using cheap fuel.

    • John Monro

      Whilst your analysis of fuel costs to airlines may be correct, it’s a complicated question, it it may provably be more fuel efficient to take an airplane on medium to long distances than the alternatives. But it’s the fact that so many millions are now flying huge distances, that the “efficiency” of their travel is hardly the question. It would be much more efficient to take a holiday in your own or a near locality, or go for a walk, The growth in air travel is an increasing part of humanity’s poisoning of our environment. But there’s no doubt that at the margin, fuel costs are extremely important, and can make the difference between profit and loss. Airlines have benefitted from relatively cheap fuel in the last few years, but that appears to be changing. There’s no doubt that taxing fuel as trains, buses and ferryboats have to pay would substantially increase the cost of flying. As air traffic is now increasing continually, and people are flying such long distances, this is an issue. For instance, I live in NZ. Tourist numbers have rocketed in the last few years, now approaching four million, almost without exception such visitors will have flown here. I suspect the average kilometre travel would be at least 12,000km on a return trip, equivalent to one tonne of CO2 emissions , that’s getting on for 4 million tonnes for NZ alone (this excludes New Zealanders own overseas travel). In addition the effect of COs and other emissions from jet planes is increased because it is put directly in the stratosphere, it is likely you can double that number to produce a global warming equivalent of CO2 emitted on the ground. Additionally, international air travel is not even part of the Kyoto protocol and escapes totally unaccounted. In other words, juts as Craig so rightly discusses, air travel is not treated equally to any other form of transport, and as a consequence is much cheaper than it should be when considering the climate damage it is causing and basically far too many people are now crowding the world’s airways – it’s not just in the air that the problems arise, but visitor numbers are now overwhelming the sites and facilities of the places they visit. It’s a big money earner for some, but a huge economic and environmental distortion and more and more people are saying, like the residents of Barcelona and Venice, enough is enough. Even Skye, that stunningly beautiful rainy miserable island is having tourism problems. God help Skye if the climate warms enough to make it even more attractive!.

      • Frank

        So let’s financially punish the airlines because they are a modern, competitive, cost effect, environmentally friendly, and above all the safest means of transport. Let’s financially force people onto overcrowded surface transport systems, boats, busses and trains largely powered by polluting Diesel engines. Do you really think that would save the environment? Given the surface transport system in Europe is in gridlock, advocating a further burden would cause further congestion and pollution.
        Remember Reagans words reflecting on Socialist Governments failed policy’s: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

        However: The low cost airline business model is flawed, it has a shelf life. The model requires the airlines to continually expand, thereby giving them “purchasing power” with the big manufacturers Boeing and Airbus. These manufacturers are providing the airlines with low cost airframes, complete with warranties, engineering spares and crew training. When the airframes move out of warranty, the airlines sell them on. This vastly reduces the the low cost operators engineering overhead.
        As with all economic bubbles this one will burst. Why? As said, the model requires the airlines to constantly expand. The problem is they have few new markets to expanded into, hence the shelf life.
        Attempting to use tax to meddle with the market will bring forward the day the low cost operators move into bankruptcy. For some I suppose that would be a good thing.

  • karenfrance

    It’s not all tourism, though, is it?

    I live in France – but my family live in Scotland. There are times when we have to meet…as upon the demise and death of my father, for example…that involved multiple flights.

    You, Craig, have a wife from Uzbekistan? (presumably with family there)…and there will be times when you/her will have to do the same.

    Holier than thou attitudes don’t work, in these situations.

    So…where do you draw the line?

    • John Monro

      Fair point, I live in NZ, but have three daughters and other members of my family in the UK. A lot of travel is too for business. The thing is that CO2 is CO2, there’s no moral or ethical label attached to individual molecules, and the planet is never going to recognise such a label even if it could be applied. . Until air travel become pollution free, we may be will have to accept that air travel will become a lot more expensive (when for instance carbon charging is applied as well as VAT or other taxes) and our decisions as to where to live will need to bear this in mind, just as the commuter to London has to when considering where to live, lower price for property further out, but expense and inconvenience of travel as a consequence.

  • Kenneth G Coutts

    I agree with you Craig.
    The whole set up is crazy.
    The UK train system is a shambles.
    The French appear to have relatively priced train systems especially with the new super fast train coming online, yet, they are heavily subsidised, in addition, they are 80% nuclear generation.
    What of the cost of decommissioning and new nuclear generation plants plus the spent fuel contamination and storage, where ever they store it.
    Yet you have those in power taking up an RAF aircraft
    To fly about.
    The President on Airforce one jumbo jet.
    The gas guzzling bullet proof cars .
    All the security costs surrounding their lifestyles.
    The kid on climate change for political gains scenario’s.
    Ships that use dirty fuels.
    What of RAF planes and weapons, naval ships and army vehicles all polluters.
    It needs real thinking behind services .
    Other than what it is , neoliberal corporate greed and consumption.
    It is a crazy situation.
    🐼🐼

  • Lord Rockingham

    Ryanair is a fantastic example of a company operating efficiently relative to cost. I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to travel with them for £20 to Europe. So, people with lower incomes can now afford to travel, thanks to Ryanair. This should be applauded rather than scorned. I would gladly pay £20 to travel with Ryanair, rather than £150 to travel with BA or KLM or such. Same flight, same pollution.
    I have travelled with train and bus also to Europe, and both are very tiring.

    The present problems in Africa are most likely down to hundreds of years of colonialism and rape of Africa by Western “upper class” types. Africa is kept poor, in order to keep us “whities” better off. That is the reality.

  • Bob Rich

    Exactly right.
    I once calculated that a tourist uses 5 times the resources than when at home.
    The reason people NEED holidays is because life is unsatisfying at home. The solution is to improve everyday life, so that staying home is a holiday.

  • Andy keen

    I absolutely agree with the point you make and also sadly with your ending prognosis for human civilisation at the end.

    I read in the week that the data servers which provide the hardware for the data ‘cloud’ which allows various commercial interests to keep tabs on everywhere we go, everything we buy or even look at online – this now vies with the entire aviation industry for co2 output and of course is increasing rapidly. I hope this is not true but it probably is.

  • Curious

    “Jet engines are essentially the same as turbines used for electricity generation, and the engines on a single jumbo would power a small African city had they generators attached. Remember that next time you fly.”

    Is there a reference for this claim, that also quantifies it better?

  • AG

    One part of this (unless we do get electric and/or solar powered planes, but my parent’s generation grew up with sci-fi comics promising free fusion energy and hotels on the moon by now so I’m not holding my breath), is to re-establish the idea of a journey as an experience in and of itself, as part of a better work-life balance where people get more time off to go on holiday. People choose to fly abroad rather than getting a train not just because it’s cheaper (for the reasons stated here), but because it is quicker: if they’ve only got time for a short holiday, then they want the travel to take up as little time as possible before they hit the beach. If their holidays were longer, they might be more amenable to using up some of the time on a more leisurely train journey (perhaps over more than a day with sleepers etc), rather than submitted to being herded onto one of Michael O’Leary’s flying cattle trucks.

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