Greta Thunberg and German rail company get into Twitter spat

The activist's post started an argument with the oft-criticized rail company.

BERLIN -- Greta Thunberg was on her way home to Sweden for the holidays after a year on the road campaigning for environmental protection when she tweeted a picture of herself sitting on the floor of a German train.

The photo shows the young activist sitting on the ground looking out the window while surrounded by her belongings on the train operated by Deutsche Bahn, a private company and the country's main provider of railway services.

"Traveling on overcrowded trains through Germany. And I'm finally on my way home!" she wrote.

In a two-part response Deutsche Bahn first thanked Thunberg for her action against climate change and mentioned that the train she had taken ran on 100% eco-friendly electricity.

"We continue working hard on getting more trains, connections and seats" the company wrote.

It then made a pointed suggestion at the 16-year-old.

"It would have been even nicer if you had also reported how friendly and competently our team served you at your seat in first class" they tweeted.

Thunberg shot back, clarifying that her train from Basel had been taken out of service, so she sat on the floor, but after reaching the German city of Goettingen she got a seat.

"This is no problem of course and I never said it was. Overcrowded trains is a great sign because it means the demand for train travel is high!" she wrote.

While urging lawmakers to take action against global warming for the past year, Thunberg has been traveling the world via boat and train, boycotting air travel due to its negative impact on the environment. She has already crossed the Atlantic on sailboat twice.

Thunberg's post may have inadvertently hit a sore spot for Deutsche Bahn, which bucks the stereotype of German efficiency. The company has a reputation for late, overcrowded and cancelled trains. In Germany, griping about Deutsche Bahn inefficiency is not an uncommon small talk topic. Deutsche Bahn's on-time rate for long-distance travel in 2018 was 74.9, according to the company


Thunberg is no stranger to Twitter controversy. Her unwavering calls to take action against global warming naturally makes her a target on social media.

Last week, right after being named Time Magazine's Person of the Year, Thunberg was attacked by President Donald Trump, who tweeted she "must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie. Chill Greta, Chill!"

Thunberg's current Twitter profile description states she is a "teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend."