MY after work walk on Wednesday was a zig zag, following the sun as she headed west.

The streets perpendicular to Victoria Road still had a bright warmth while those parallel were dull, so off I went choosing my route to avoid anywhere overcast by tenement shadow. Utterly unblemished by cloud, the sky was a textbook azure and, for the first time since lockdown, I thought about my travel plans for this year.

I'd hoped to travel west on a more expansive scale, across the Atlantic to Boston again, and up to Maine, on a special trip for my mum's milestone birthday. Before that, south, down to Tanzania and Zanzibar to fulfil a long-held ambition of exploring the Spice Island.

Last September I'd written a column about my flight guilt - flygskam is the Swedish portmanteau. We haven't a word for it. In it, I'd mulled over the problem of encouraging people to take fewer flights, a necessary next step in slowing carbon emissions and supporting targets to ease global warming.

Not all fliers are as appallingly profligate as I am; people fly for weddings and funerals overseas, to visit loved ones who live in far away places. Do we, I had asked, accept that we'll have to make do with video calls? How do we urge companies to make do with conference calls rather than in-person meetings?

The column was prompted by planned protest from the climate change activism group Heathrow Pause, which had said it would attempt to ground flights at the London airport on the weekend I was flying to Philadelphia on holiday.

If it succeeded in the planned disruption, I'd asked, would it succeed in changing behaviour? Doubtful - one disruption would not be enough to change ingrained habits.

Something bigger would have to happen. "It would involve a complete overhaul of how we live, work and travel," I'd written, "It won't be drones, but something has to ground us."

Six months later and careful what you wish for.

As we live in the midst of a global pandemic, the number of daily flights has fallen by 80 per cent, holidays are very much off the cards and around 17,000 aircraft are parked idle at airports around the world.

Thousands upon thousands of job losses are expected from an industry that employs millions of people and is responsible for the livelihoods of millions more. IAG, the parent company of British Airways, announced last month that, of its 42,000-strong workforce, up to 12,000 positions could be cut while Australia's flag carrier, Quantas, has put 20,000 staff on leave and the US national airline, American Airlines, has settled early retirement deals with 700 pilots.

The Covid-19 crisis has been disaster for the travel industry and the airline industry. It is still extremely uncertain as to when commercial routes might begin to pick up with multiple variables coming in to play. There are some suggestions that internal routes will begin first, then short continental flights and finally long haul.

For those of us with relatives in New Zealand and Australia, which are existing in a strict bubble and talking so far only of travel between the two countries, we wonder when we might see our loved ones next.

Will people want to travel in the same way as before? There is a real push-pull between the desire to holiday and the desire to stay safe. We don't yet know what the logistics of foreign travel will be - how we might be expected to socially distance on aeroplanes, how we might navigate airports, will we be expected to quarantine on arrival?

As we have been forced to focus on only necessary travel, it will be interesting to see whether people continue this thoughtfulness as lockdown lifts and there is free reign to broaden the definition of "necessary" to suit ourselves. For me, as someone who lives for her next journey, all travel feels necessary but that has to change.

When lockdown loomed, we very quickly gave up all the little daily hat tips to environmentalism we had been working on. Back to disposable we went, for the sake of public health. Only just used to remembering to bring disposable coffee cups along to our favourite cafes then out they went. Throwaway plastic became the safer and so more preferable option again.

Individual car journeys are safer than public transport with other bodies, so the push to use sustainable transport has taken a tumble too.

These are much smaller things but the principle is the same - for the sake of the environment, habits have to change. Yet now we have new considerations in mind, our safety as well as the health of the planet.

There has been much talk of building a better world as we move out of the coronavirus crisis. Talk of introducing, say, universal basic income and building a better, truly secure welfare state is one such priority. Surveys show unprecedented support for UBI.

How the airlines are supported through and following the crisis is another major issue - from a government position and from that of consumers. The French authorities have said that an Air France bailout is contingent on the carrier cutting its number of domestic flights. The country's economy minister, Bruno le Maire, said this is an opportunity to "reinvent our model of economic development to ensure it is more respectful of the environment".

There was no justification for flying when the train is an option.

Here, the government has given Easyjet a £600 million loan with no similar promise in return. The environment must be prioritised in our economic recovery and that means fewer flights.

This is the opportunity to achieve that end. Our lives have changed dramatically over the past two months, we've taken everything apart and seen what it's like to live without excesses. While putting things back together we must think about what we really need, as opposed to what we merely want.

We can be forced now to take fewer flights by simply having fewer flights on offer to us and now is the ideal time to implement that as the "stay at home" message rings in our ears. By no means should airlines be left to fail but smarter, harder deals must be drawn for the sake of our economic and environmental futures.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.