Europe has been exploring alternatives to short-haul air travel, driven by the “flight shame” movement and the need for greener options. While progress has been made, the transformation of Europe’s air transport network into a train-dominated system remains a distant dream. France and Austria have implemented measures to limit short-haul flights, but their impact is limited. In France, only three routes were affected, which represented a small percentage of overall emissions. The EU’s ruling watered down the original plans, leaving critics unconvinced of the measures’ effectiveness. The aviation industry’s contribution to climate change is significant, with emissions from flights, including greenhouse gases and contrails, adding to its impact. However, aviation remains a fast-growing industry, and its emissions are projected to increase further. European countries are considering further restrictions on short-haul flights, responding to public sentiment and environmental concerns. While such measures may have a positive symbolic effect, critics argue that they fail to address the larger issue of long-haul flights and their emissions.

Rail travel in Europe has seen improvements, with new high-speed routes, revived sleeper services, and enhanced efficiency. However, challenges remain, such as high prices and limited frequencies, hindering the shift from air to rail. Better connectivity between intercity rail and airports, combined tickets, and increased competition are suggested as ways to encourage greater rail usage. The debate on decarbonizing the aviation industry continues, with advancements in clean flight technology showing potential for short-haul flights. As the climate crisis persists, the discussion will evolve, considering environmental, social, economic, political, and technological factors.