Driven by the “flight shame” movement and the need for greener options, Europe has been exploring alternatives to short-distance air travel. Despite some progress, the transformation of Europe’s air transport network into a train-dominated system remains a distant goal. Measures implemented by France and Austria to limit short-distance flights have had limited impact, affecting only a small percentage of overall emissions. The EU’s ruling diluted the original plans, leaving critics skeptical of their effectiveness. Aviation’s contribution to climate change is significant due to emissions from flights, including greenhouse gases and contrails. Despite the industry’s rapid growth and projected increases in emissions, European countries are considering additional restrictions on short-distance flights to address public opinion and environmental concerns. However, critics argue that such measures overlook the larger issue of long-distance flights and their emissions.

Rail travel in Europe has witnessed improvements, including new high-speed routes and enhanced efficiency. Challenges like high prices and limited frequencies prevent the change from air to rail. To encourage greater rail usage, suggestions include improved connectivity between intercity rail and airports, combined tickets, and increased competition. The debate on decarbonizing the aviation industry continues, with advancements in clean flight technology showing potential for short-distance flights. As the climate crisis worsens, the discussion will evolve, taking into account environmental, social, economic, political, and technological factors.