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USA Today: 10 European routes where train is faster than flying

USA Today: 10 European routes where train is faster than flying

Old Jul 26, 18, 9:55 am
  #1  
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Arrow USA Today: 10 European routes where train is faster than flying

Link to full story.

Summary:

Rail stations are often downtown, so you’ll save airport travel time, processing, security and waiting at the gate. Bonus hint: visiting the UK and Continent? Fly into London (or wherever), fly home from the Continent to save the onerous United Kingdom Air Passenger Duty excise tax (link) charged those departing the U.K. (or with connections of 24 hours or longer). (Currently, the APD for long haul flights is: £78 Reduced rate (economy), £156 Standard (Business) (and £468 for certain private jets). Yes, passengers upgraded to Business or First must pay the Standard rate.

London-Manchester

Duration by train: Two hours and 11 minutes
Duration by plane: Three hours and 35 minutes

London-Amsterdam

Duration by train: Three hours and 41 minutes
Duration by plane: Four hours and 30 minutes

London-Paris

Duration by train: Two hours and 16 minutes
Duration by plane: Five hours and 40 minutes

Florence-Naples

Duration by train: Two hours and 50 minutes
Duration by plane: Five hours

Bologna-Rome

Duration by Frecciargento train: Two hours
Duration by plane: Three hours and 15 minutes

Madrid-Valencia

Duration by train: One hour and 42 minutes
Duration by plane: Three hours and 10 minutes

Barcelona-Madrid

Duration by train: Two hours and 30 minutes
Duration by plane: Three hours and 45 minutes

Munich-Vienna

Duration by train: Four hours and 10 minutes
Duration by plane: Four hours and 15 minutes

Milan-Zurich

Duration by train: Three hours and 23 minutes
Duration by plane: Three hours and 46 minutes

Amsterdam-Paris

Duration by train: Three hours and 48 minutes
Duration by plane: Four hours

Resources:

Link to The Man in Seat 61 (Vast information repository)

Link to Loco2 (Europe-wide rail ticket purchase)

Link to Trainline (UK train travel, including tickets purchase)

Bonus link to Rick Steves: The joys of European high-speed trains (USA Today)

European train travel is easier and better than ever, thanks to faster trains, new routes, and additional amenities to keep you comfortable and entertained on the journey. For me, there's nothing better than stretching out in a quiet car, blitzing through the European countryside, with hours of uninterrupted time to think and write.

Last edited by JDiver; Jul 26, 18 at 10:19 am Reason: Add links
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Old Jul 26, 18, 11:10 am
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Quite misleading on some of this and over-state the differences.

London-Paris

Duration by train: Two hours and 16 minutes
Duration by plane: Five hours and 40 minutes

Flying time they are including time at the checkin wait at airport, security, passport controls etc.
But for the Eurostar, they've excluded the checkin wait, the security wait, the time waiting for passport controls.

Yes Eurostar is faster, but they've overstated the differences. Also Eurostar is a lot more expensive than flying.
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Old Jul 26, 18, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Yes, passengers upgraded to Business or First must pay the Standard rate.
APD is a tax paid by airlines which is passed on to passengers.

Only passengers upgrading out of the lowest class of travel (where the seat pitch is less than 40 inches) will be charged the difference between the standard rate and the reduced rate which they already paid.

Passengers upgraded by the airline for operational reasons won't be charged extra, but the tax is still due from the airline.

The times quoted are meaningless without specifying where exactly one is travelling to and from and what waiting is included. If you want to go from Kings Cross to the 10th arrondissement, obviously the train is the best option. If you want to go from Hounslow to Aulnay-sous-Bois, flying is likely to be the easiest. For anything else in between, you need to take several factors into account when making your choice.
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Old Jul 26, 18, 1:46 pm
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Some very dubious plane times listed. Basically a junk article
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Old Jul 29, 18, 8:24 am
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Originally Posted by SEA-Flyer View Post
Quite misleading on some of this and over-state the differences.

London-Paris

Duration by train: Two hours and 16 minutes
Duration by plane: Five hours and 40 minutes

Flying time they are including time at the checkin wait at airport, security, passport controls etc.
But for the Eurostar, they've excluded the checkin wait, the security wait, the time waiting for passport controls.

Yes Eurostar is faster, but they've overstated the differences. Also Eurostar is a lot more expensive than flying.
So let's add on 30 minutes for the check in. It's still way quicker. And a lot more expensive than flying? Maybe if you're booking at the last minute, then again I don't have the need to book planes at the last minute to compare, if you're a decent bit in advance it's very competitive, especially once you factor in the cost of transfers to/from airports/city centre
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Old Jul 29, 18, 12:34 pm
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Originally Posted by jt82 View Post
So let's add on 30 minutes for the check in. It's still way quicker.
It's not just 30 mins for check-in. They have taken literally the exact train time on its own, without allowing any time getting to/from the station at all. And for non-Eurostar trains, they don't even allow for arriving at the station 5-10 mins beforehand so you can actually make it onto your train. Whereas you can assume they've allowed an overly generous time for arriving at the airport. So overall a rather disingenuous set of figures.

With all that said, I completely agree that Eurostar is far more pleasant than flying and generally quicker from anywhere within easy reach of St Pancras. Similarly for London-Manchester.

Originally Posted by jt82 View Post
And a lot more expensive than flying? Maybe if you're booking at the last minute, then again I don't have the need to book planes at the last minute to compare, if you're a decent bit in advance it's very competitive, especially once you factor in the cost of transfers to/from airports/city centre
Certainly at peak times and not booking far in advance, Eurostar is more expensive, yes.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 7:29 am
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As ever with these comparisons you have to pick a departure point in one city and an arrival point in another and then compare, which the article clearly hasn't done.

For example, 10 Downing Street to the Elysee would be an interesting one, or the Tate to the Rijksmuseum. For the former the train clearly wins but for the latter I'm not quite so sure.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 7:43 am
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Also regarding costs, if your destination is the city centre there can be additional costs involved with flying, which can be expensive (for quick services like taxi and express train) or cheap (but slow, like the Piccadilly line to/from LHR or the RER to/from CDG). Eurostar has more (but not all) of this component of the overall cost built into the ticket price!
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Old Aug 1, 18, 5:22 am
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The train is faster pretty much anywhere where you have a 3-hr train ride vs. a 1 hr flight.
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