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Why is a train ticket more expensive than a airplane ticket

Why is a train ticket more expensive than a airplane ticket

Old Nov 1, 19, 4:34 pm
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Why is a train ticket more expensive than a airplane ticket

Was checking some possible intra Europe travel options out of London or Amsterdam and on too many combinations of dates and
destinations the train ticket (direct) is significantly more expensive than air travel.

Why does it happen and how it's possible to make traveling by train the preferred choice for the price conscious traveller?
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Old Nov 2, 19, 7:48 am
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Because you probably don't book an averagely priced airfare but as an expert pay way less.

You can do that because of deals and offers i.e. marketing, a tool of the free market, of real competition forcing efficiency and wanting you as a customer to be able to survive.

Trains are still closer to a regulated, less competitive, subsidized market. That is because a rail network requires an investment and planning on often at least national level and often is still in the hands of the respective state or a hundred year old institution. In Germany for example, where flights are often cheaper than trains, while appearing more complex the reality is that DB has the absolute power and the 2-3 real competitors on rail are more there to hide its 21 century monopoly in plain sight. The bigger competitors for DB rail there are buses and planes, way before other private train companies. Too old, inefficient, sluggish and bureaucratic everything to give the passenger fair prices. Don't believe all this counts for cargo, that's a different field.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 5:25 pm
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Originally Posted by dtbe View Post
Why does it happen and how it's possible to make traveling by train the preferred choice for the price conscious traveller?
Because rail services are government-run but not air travel.

Practically, almost all rail services in Europe have been subsidized by their respective governments. On that case, lowering the fare practically means the government subsidizes more. On the other hand, privately-run airlines can easily adjust their positions to maintain profitability.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 6:48 pm
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I believe you misread his question. I understood that he is asking about how it would be possible to achieve that trains would be the more attractive than planes, price wise too. He is asking why it is that trains are more expensive than flights.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 8:12 pm
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Originally Posted by LEPAKSAN View Post
I believe you misread his question.
I did not. Government-run is a major reason.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 8:34 pm
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Originally Posted by dtbe View Post
Was checking some possible intra Europe travel options out of London or Amsterdam and on too many combinations of dates and
destinations the train ticket (direct) is significantly more expensive than air travel.

Why does it happen and how it's possible to make traveling by train the preferred choice for the price conscious traveller?
Are you including the cost (and time) to get to/from the airport?
Trains are usually city center to city center

Both air fares & train fares have a lot of possible variations (high to low)
Airlines do a better job of displaying fares & variations on web sites.
With trains it can be a battle to find the best fare and conditions of the fare.
The schedule and how many days ahead you are looking makes a difference
Originally Posted by garykung View Post
I did not. Government-run is a major reason.
Rail can have operating practices and staffing from two centuries ago. Not as nimble as new lost cost airline And tend to be heavily unionised.
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Last edited by Mwenenzi; Nov 12, 19 at 11:03 pm
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Old Nov 4, 19, 9:45 am
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I travelled a couple of weeks ago in the Thallys train between Brussels and Amsterdam, just one hour and some minutes. Arrived to the train station 10 minutes early but there was no train or people. Train arrived some 7 minutes early, and we got to Amsterdam with even a couple minutes to spare.
I bought the ticket the same day, online, and paid 29,99Eur, while the plane was much more.
Is not ALWAYS the case, but this was a rather big train and there was not a single seat empty. LF was 100%. I loved it.

But if I had taken an earlier train, or a later train, the price would have been close to 100EUR, which would have made no sense...
Trains are almost always more expensive than planes. This was an exception.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 1:10 pm
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It does sound right that employment costs are higher for unionized rail workers. But on the other hand, pilots and flight attendants are also unionized in some airlines.
Could it be development and maintenance costs of the railway? Air is free on the other hand.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 4:58 pm
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I was thinking about employee costs, but have no way to think about the ratio of on board employees vs passengers. It's clear on a plane what the ratio is, but I am a neophyte as it relates to rail service. In any event, it is possible rail employees are better compensated, but unclear there are not fewer per paying passenger.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 11:12 am
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Perhaps this Wendover video can answer it:

Putting aside cost I suspect many on this forum would argue flying commercially in most cases is more environmentally friendly than some of the coal and diesel trains operating.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 11:33 am
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I am pricing intra Europe plane travel. One way trips are more expensive than round trips. Its often cheaper to take 4 flights (2 round trips) than to do an open jaw between three cities.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 11:40 am
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit View Post
I am pricing intra Europe plane travel. One way trips are more expensive than round trips. Its often cheaper to take 4 flights (2 round trips) than to do an open jaw between three cities.
Depends on the routing and airlines involved. Some airlines price multi city as separate one ways if conditions of a fare code arenít met. For legacies at least one ways are more expensive than round trips due to it being a business fare. Generally speaking if you fly into our of airports served by EasyJet, RyanAir, Jet2 and the like you can piece together those one ways to be cheaper than the 2 r/t.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Depends on the routing and airlines involved. Some airlines price multi city as separate one ways if conditions of a fare code arenít met. For legacies at least one ways are more expensive than round trips due to it being a business fare. Generally speaking if you fly into our of airports served by EasyJet, RyanAir, Jet2 and the like you can piece together those one ways to be cheaper than the 2 r/t.
I understand why. I am just saying the situation exists and it seems to be a less carbon conscious situation.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 12:03 pm
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit View Post
I understand why. I am just saying the situation exists and it seems to be a less carbon conscious situation.
Itís debatable whether there would be much if any of an environmental concern since its scheduled passenger service. The carbon costs of adding another pax to an already fuelled jetliner is marginal at best. Heck, Iíve even flown between continents to get cheaper international airfares (I.e flying Germany to the US to get a cheaper flight to Japan).
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Old Nov 13, 19, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Itís debatable whether there would be much if any of an environmental concern since its scheduled passenger service. The carbon costs of adding another pax to an already fuelled jetliner is marginal at best. Heck, Iíve even flown between continents to get cheaper international airfares (I.e flying Germany to the US to get a cheaper flight to Japan).
This is a very lazy way of thinking. Without the demand from you (and others who have purchased tickets on the flight) the flight would not exist. You are indisputably responsible for 1/n (adjust slightly either direction based on class of service) of the emissions generated by a passenger jet when you purchase a ticket.
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