Is flying really quicker than the train? Woman puts London-Lyon journey to the test

Woman pits train against plane in DIY challenge

Ella Doyle
Monday 14 November 2022 13:11 GMT
Train travel is seeing a surge in popularity
Train travel is seeing a surge in popularity (PA Archive)

A woman has compared her experience travelling two different journeys between London and Lyon, one by train and one by plane, to see which is quicker.

Journalist Hannah Brown at Euronews wanted to see how travelling abroad by Eurostar would fare against the same journey by plane - and had two drastically different experiences.

Ms Brown flew from London Luton Airport to Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport, but on her return took a train to Paris to catch the Eurostar back to London.

Going out, she found that her flight was delayed by an hour, taking off a total of five hours after she had left her house.

In her report, she described Luton as her “least favourite London airport” due to its shuttle bus system, and said the queues at the airport were “enourmous”.

From door to door, Ms Brown’s journey by air took eight hours and 25 minutes.

This was a total of 15 minutes longer than her journey incorporating the Paris-London train, which took eight hours and ten minutes.

But it wasn’t just the time that brought Eurostar out on top. Ms Brown described finding “the train journey much more calming and relaxing”, and an “enjoyable part of the holiday rather than just the journey to get there”.

The journey via Eurostar was also cheaper, even though Ms Brown opted for business class. This meant she was served a three-course meal designed by Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc.

For her plane journey, Ms Brown’s ticket cost €64.65 (£56.47), but she also had to pay for a taxi, costing €12.23 (£10.69), an airport train at $16 (£13.98), a tram in Lyon at €16.30 (£14.24) and a taxi in Lyon at$24.40 (£21.31).

Going by train, her Eurostar ticket cost $45 (£39.29); she also had to catch a bus for $1.80 (£1.57), a TGV from Lyon to Paris for $16 (£13.97), a Metro across Paris for $1.90 (£1.61) and a taxi home back in London for $14.33 (£12.17).

All considered, her full journey via plane cost $133.58 (£113.32), nearly double that via train, which came to $79.03 total (£67.05).

This follows a surge in train travel popularity, as travellers opt for cheaper and more environmentally friendly tickets.

The number of Interrail tickets sold in Europe hit a record high of 600,000 this year and more than half of London-Edinburgh travellers now take the train over the plane.

The Independent’s travel correspondent Simon Calder looked into why travelling in Europe is so much cheaper by train.

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