Get grounded

Take one less flight

Let your vacation start at your front door - use your journey to unwind and relax into the holiday vibe.

If you're planning on taking a flight any time soon, be it for work or pleasure, you could save a generous amount of carbon in one fell swoop by keeping grounded.

Stay out of the clouds: swap a flight for a leisurely train, ferry or bus ride - or even just stay put. You may even find it a bit of an adventure!



Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.

Climate change

Air travel accounts for around 34% of the average Brit's personal carbon footprint3 - that's a hefty chunk made up from a few journeys. Avoiding a return flight just once a year can save up to 9.6 tonnes of CO24 – that’s about the same as the entire annual emissions of the average Brit.

In total, aviation makes up 6% of our national carbon emissions2 and there's no sign of it receding.

What's more, the warming effect of an aeroplane's greenhouse gas emissions is almost three times worse than that from land-based transport because of the altitude at which they are emitted – right in the middle of the most vulnerable part of our atmosphere.


more CO2 is emitted by travelling from London to Brussels by plane than by train.5


Check-in kerfuffle, security queues, flight delays, tiny flimsy seats, the fidgety kid in the seat behind, more queues at customs, and the endless wait at the baggage carousel. Flying isn't much fun, eh?

Consider a relaxing train ride instead - seems like heaven in comparison, right? When travelling by land, you have much more choice of how to use your time - whether to get stuck into your book, gaze out of the window, chat to your friends, wander to the buffet bar, or get on with some work using the on-board Wi-Fi. You can even break your journey to explore a new town on route.


Increased risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis), regurgitation of other passenger's germs through the air con, jet lag and sleep deprivation are all side effects of airplanes. Flying isn't the best way to treat your body.1

Global Goals

In September 2017, a historic agreement was signed by UN member nations agreeing to work towards 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030, otherwise known as the SDGs.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require action from governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals alike. We can - and must - all play our part.

By making the 'Get grounded' pledge, you are contributing to the following SDG targets:

12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature

13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning



If you make a regular flight within the UK or across the channel, why not stick to the ground and give the train or bus a go for one of your trips?

  1. Coach: Check out Mega Bus for the cheap and less-cheerful option of coach travel.
  2. Train: Loco2 is the gem of all gems, a one-stop shop for European and UK train travel.
  3. Car: Depending on how far you're going, and how many of you are travelling together, driving can be by far the most sustainable option. The more the merrier! Plus you can be far more liberal with your packing...

To compare the environmental impact of various travel options, check out EcoPassenger, you might be surprised!

For some inspiration for some fun and well-grounded trips, check out The Guardian's rail travel features.

Can't avoid flying? Reduce your impact with these three rules:

  1. Fly non-stop. Taking off and landing accounts for 25% of airplane emissions6, so avoid journeys with stopovers - reducing stress, risk of losing bags, and carbon.
  2. Go economy. First class seats have a carbon footprint 9x greater than cattle class, thanks to taking up more space and weight on the plane7.
  3. Offset. Offsetting shouldn’t be a guilt-free card for unlimited travel, but if you’re going to fly anyway then it should be a no-brainer to pay a few £ extra to fund positive projects to balance out your emissions. We’d recommend ClimateCare, a great UK based offsetters who develop clean energy projects around the world.

Success Stories


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Rediscovered my love of the sleeper to London. I probably won't always be able to avoid these internal flights, but will definitely look to the train first in future.

I have forgone a long haul holiday home in exchange for a 10 days silent retreat (Vipassana) in the UK. I will look to share ride to reduce my carbon emissions even more!

I've swapped my two flights for trains. I did however fly to North America, there's no train for that.

I travelled to France twice by train...I intend not to fly for the next year

Rather than two trips to Belfast we organised the entire team to Arup Belfast's new offices and used the VC.

Great way to make you think about it and the emails were perfectly spread out so not annoying but constant reminder of my pledge. I'll definitely think twice before booking flights internally!

Pulled out of going to Washington and booked a holiday in Scotland!

Managed to avoid several trips which would have involved flying. However, I was asked to do one trip which involved a domestic flight to London. This was required due to the timings of the meeting. However, I have learnt the need to get on the front foot and take the initiative to plan the meeting early and reduce the risk of having to take a flight.

Regardless of expense, I will always take trains for all journeys within Britain. Unfortunately it's not so easy for longer journeys but I'll do my best.

Really pleasantly surprised with the tips I received! great work!

Staying grounded. Can go up 1st class for the price of an air ticket...just takes a bit longer!

Instead of flying to Amsterdam, I just took the train somewhere for a little holiday instead. I had a great time, probably saved some money, and definitely saved some carbon!