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Air travel within Europe-worth the hassle?

There are a few long trips my husband and I will be taking on the continent. We will have eurorail passes, but we are wondering if it would be more or less of a hassle to fly with cheap easyjet or ryanair tickets instead of night trains. These are our long trips: Paris to Cinque Terre and Venice to Munich or Salzburg (we haven't decided which city to see first)
Also is a plane better than the Eurostar chunnel train?
Thank you!

Posted by
808 posts

Train Vs Plane? Do you want to get there fast or get there slow? Save time or save money? All are considerations.

Posted by
24 posts

Because of the distance, I'd recommend taking a plane from Paris to Milan. Easyjet has a mid-day flight from Orly airport to Milan's Linate airport. Both airports are close to the main cities and not as crowded as DeGaulle and Malpensa. It is worth taking a train from Venice to Salzburg because you will be traveling through some of the prettiest scenery in Europe, and it's not all that far.
As far as a plane from London to Paris, it's a hassle. Take the Eurostar.

Posted by
223 posts

Planes for the most part are faster. And these days with Easyjet, et al., they are really cheap. The big hassle is making sure your luggage is within the weight limit (15 kg on Ryannair; 20 kg on Easyjet) or it can cost you big. Also, watch carefully what city the airline is flying out of because it could take you just as much time and money to get to an outlying airport than taking a train from the center of one town to the next.

Posted by
3551 posts

I have flown both easyjet and ryanair if your trips are long and the secondary airports that these airlines fly to, work for you, definately fly.I believe trains are perfect for scenery and for shorter trips. overnites on the train can be expenive and a huge waste of time, I think.
Altho with Paris to London - Eurostar chunnel is faster and easier.

Posted by
7205 posts

The route between Munich and Venice is serviced well by Air Dolomiti and TuiFly both of which I've flown and both of which are highly recommended.

The train route was long and rather expensive. However, I happened upon of those bargain fares and there was really no question left. The plane was cheaper and faster. Both city's airports are served well by trains or public transport so getting into the city was not difficult at all.

Posted by
6017 posts

Your trips pass my rule of thumb, that being if the train will be 6 hours or more, consider flying. Virtually any flight requires getting to the airport outside of town (sometimes way outside of town), Security time, boarding and delays, and getting into town on the other end. Figure 3-4 hours of extra time added to the "short" flight time. For that reason, I consider the Chunnel train to be a better option. Luggage is another concern that was discussed. Another concern is that flights will firmly lock in a schedule, you have to book long in advance to get the cheap fares with a "use it or lose it" ticket option. I figure that's ok for one or two legs, but I would not fill my itinerary with lots of independent air legs. Paris to CT: Consider air, maybe Venice to Aus/Ger, consider train, the trip itself from the coast through the mountains is an experience in itself.

Posted by
91 posts

another thing to remember about using one of the budget airlines is that if you are not ther within 40 minutes of the flight you will not be able to board.

earlier this year i missed my flight to italy from amsterdam because i was three minutes past the 40 minute deadline. it was a pretty expensive mistake.

on the other hand, i quite enjoy trains. i feel more a part of the culture and the landscape on trains. if you have the time, i'd use the rails.

Posted by
705 posts

I agree with Paul. I usually don't have a lot of time when I visit Europe so tend to use planes if the train would take longer than about 4 - 5 hours. Unless there is a particular scenic route I want to take.

Posted by
125 posts

Another thing to keep in mind is a possible delay in the flights. I took EasyJet twice this year and both times had a 2-3 hour wait to take off. I don't know if this is an ongoing thing with EasyJet or if I am that unlucky but I would have been better off taking the train (Paris to Milan) as it would have taken the same amount of time (less actually) and cost about the same as a sleeper.

Posted by
80 posts

Thanks for the advice! I didn't think about scenery from the train, that would be important, because I was thinking about a night train from Venice to Munich. The longest trip would be the night train from Paris-Milan-La Spezia-Cinque Terre and that might be easier to fly? Anyone ever done this trip before? Is it worth taking half a day to fly or just take the night train? Also are the airports easy to get to and get through security and everything? Do you have to take taxis? Thanks!

Posted by
2073 posts

In 2005 we decided to try Ryan Air to save time and money getting from Venice to Paris. We "saved" 2 hours at the beginning of the trip (so our teenagers were able to sleep, definitely a good thing!) and we arrived
at the hotel in Paris an hour earlier than if we'd taken the train.
So, for me, a 3-hour savings was definitely not worth the hassles of getting to and from Treviso and Beauvais airports and the baggage requirements were annoying. We could have just gotten on the train at Venezia S. Lucia and the girls could have slept all the way to Paris--if they wanted--with only a change in Milan.
Obviously, I prefer the trains!

Posted by
683 posts

We wouldnt fly unless the trip was very long. None of the trips you propose are long (Paris-Milan is about 6 hrs). If the journey was Lisbon-Warsaw, we'd consider a flight!!!

Posted by
1455 posts

I'll add my 2 cents. My last trip started in Milan, then Munich then London, then Paris. Pretty spread out, eh?

We took a train from Milan to Munich using the overnight sleeper on BAHN train. We then flew on EasyJet to London for 14 pounds (that's 28 bucks!). Not only can you not get such a great deal compared to a train, the trip took a fraction of the time. Since we packed light, it took no time to fly out of Munich and when we landed in Luton, we took the express to central London.

From London we decided to fly instead of the Chunnel for 2 reasons: Cost and Time. The flight on EasyJet was peanuts and took I think 45 minutes?

So if you decide to spread out, select the fastest but also the most economical way. Sometimes a train isn't the most practical or economical.

Posted by
5 posts

How complicated is it to get to these airports? I booked a flight w/ Ryanair from Venice(Treviso) to BrusselsCharleroi). It's an 8:45am flight. What are my options to get to Treviso early enough?