In 2020, Hubbub is tackling some of the thornier challenges needed to radically cut carbon emissionsThe Why Wing It campaign seeks to raise the debate about flying by default in a way that is unexpected, thoughtful and playful.    

It is a conversation that needs to happen, as Britons take more flights than any other nation and worldwide emissions from flying are expected to grow significantly if left unchecked. Yet surprisingly, most people don’t fly. Around half those in the UK have never flown at all, meaning a lot of flights are being taken by a concentrated few. 

How could we raise this issue in a way that provoked surprise, debate and ultimately a change in behaviour and polices? We decided to explore hen and stag dos, suspecting a trend to fly to distant destinations more by default than desire. We undertook some public polling with 2,000 young adults and were surprised by the results. 

The trend for exotic destinations was not universally popular. Over half the people surveyed felt that heading abroad was too long, expensive and involved excessive travel. A third of people felt resentful about the cost with research finding that flying abroad resulted in an average spend of £421 per person compared to £261 for a UK hen or stag do. 

60% of those surveyed preferred a UK-based hen or stag, due to it being cheapereasier to get to and a more flexible option. 73% agreed that there are lots of great places in the UK for hens and stag dos. 

The survey suggests that the majority of people find the costs and obligations of oversea stag and hen dos problematic – but what about the implications for our climate? Of those we surveyed aged 20-45, every 1 in 2 return flights taken abroad last year by men were for stag dos, while for women over a third of flights taken abroad were for hen dos. We partnered with Carbon Credit Capital a carbon offset management firm located in New York City to explore the carbon implications. 

This research revealed that by choosing Brighton over Barcelona, a group of 10 hen or stag do travellers from London could reduce their carbon emissions by a staggering 98%. This is the equivalent of one person in the group going vegan for 2.2 years or stopping driving a car for 1.4 years. 

The research suggests that the trend for overseas hen and stag dos is not universally popular, is expensive and a significant contributor to carbon emissions. The Why Wing It campaign seeks to question this folly. With January and February being peak times for holiday bookings, Hubbub is encouraging people to consider using alternative modes of travel and visit inspiring destinations closer to home instead.   

Why Wing It contains top tips for landing a dream UK hen or stag do, including some easy destination swaps and advice on how to travel over-ground. The campaign is encouraging people who have recently been on a UK-based hen or stag do to share their best photos to help inspire others planning a trip to stay grounded, reduce their impact on the environment and make the most of what the UK has to offer. Visit Why Wing It to find out more.  

Why Wing It is the start of a series of campaigns Hubbub will be launching to question flying-by-default. We have created podcast exploring the issue in depth, as part of our What On Earth series.  

We will be working with some leading companies helping them to reduce flying amongst their employees. We are piloting the Climate Perks scheme created by Possible offering our employees two extra paid ‘journey days’ a year to enable them to travel by land or sea for their holiday rather than air.  

We are also advocating a Frequent Flyer Levy as a long-term, policy solution to flying-by-default, as proposed by PossibleA levy is supported by the public, as a fairer way to tax those who fly the most.  

Frivolous flights are a significant contributor to UK climate emissionsWe want people to rethink the decisions they are making, highlighting the many wonderful alternatives that exist within the UK. If you would like to help us promote this message, please email [email protected]