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travel by plane vs. train within europe

I have been researching taking flights vs. train travel within europe. Airlines are really cheap! Any thoughts for or against? I'm only interested in one flight, however I'm curious to hear other travelers experiences.

Posted by
842 posts

Lisa, we always use both. Just be careful if you use Ryanair.........they fly into and out of obsure airports that sometimes are great distances from the town that they "list".

On our recent trip from Rome to Puglia, we used Air One for our flight back from Brindisi. We had the option of using our rental car, the high speed trains, or the plane. We looked at our plans, saw that we wanted to end up in the Rome airport, and figured out that flying in would be easiest.

There are so many discount airlines, and the prices are so cheap, that it is crazy not to use the planes if you have to re-trace your steps, or if you want eliminate long drives or train trips.

We have used trains in to a place, toured in a rental car, dropped the car off at some airport, and flew back to another point.

Look at your itinerary and use what best fits your goals........and have fun!

Posted by
152 posts

We had a terrible experience with Rayan Air. It concerned overweight baggage and cost us many dollars. It you chose the cheap airlines make sure that you read the fine print on weight. I love the train system in Switzerland and Germany. The trains in Italy were a nightmare. We will never do them again. We like renting a car and going out of the way places that the train doesn't go. Others like the train.

Posted by
18228 posts

When comparing rail vs. flying, be very careful. When you see a train fare, that is what it will cost you from the downtown station to the station in the next downtown, and the time is the total time it will take. It will probably be the fare every day.

The airlines, on the other hand, usually show upfront a fare that does not include "taxes and fees", which are often more than the fare itself. Often that fare is only available on a few days, well in advance. Make sure you go far enough in the ordering process to understand the entire cost. Further, there is always a cost to get to/from the airports from downtown.

As far as time, look at the schedule for the transportation to/from the airports. How does it coordinate with your need to be at the airport well before flight time and your time to get to your destination after after deplaning, retrieving you luggage, finding the ground transportation, etc. Often a one hour flight will turn into a 6 hour ordeal.

Posted by
9363 posts

I've traveled on both Easyjet and Ryanair, and both were fine (I preferred Easyjet). You do have to be careful of the regulations, but that's the tradeoff for the cheap prices.

Posted by
38 posts

I'm specifically looking into Vueling Airlines, from Barcelona to Seville. Any experience with this airline?

Posted by
334 posts

We've been using buses and trains more often in recent years. We don't try to go to cover too much distance in one trip, though.
We used trains in Italy (pretty cheap if you are willing to wait and take a longer train) a couple of years ago and had no problems whatsoever (completely non-smoking now). Swiss trains have beautiful routes, but lots of smoking (the compartments aren't sealed, so by the end of the day the whole train is smoky).
We have found that using the transportation that the locals use gets us closer to the "backdoor experience" and is a "greener option".

Posted by
473 posts

Lisa, I've never flown Vueling, but I've read nothing but positive postings here on the Helpline.

Posted by
31435 posts

Lisa, I tend to choose flights vs. rail on the basis of the length and time of each journey. For longer trips that would take a considerable time via rail, flights make sense. However, as the others mentioned often the budget airlines use somewhat "distant" airports so one has to factor in the time and cost of getting to the airport (also the extra time for security and check-in). I usually prefer rail as the stations are always located in the city centre.

Two important points regarding budget flights: first, the prices are cheap in some cases, but these are often based on a "sliding scale" - as the flight books-up, the prices increase. Next, as also mentioned, the budget airlines usually have VERY restrictive baggage limits. If you don't usually pack light, you'll have to consider this very carefully.

Good luck!