We have identified eight routes from and within the United Kingdom where travelling by train or coach is almost as fast as flying. And the best thing about it: No baggage fees, easy check-ins and speedy departures and arrivals!
Click here to get access to the full routes included in the research.
This ranking is based on the 100 most popular routes by train, coach and flight booked through Omio in Summer 2020 (between 1 June 2020 and 30 September 2020) in Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and France. CO2 emissions in kg per train / coach / flight were calculated using values from Atmosfair.
The following rating factors were used
For the ranking, for each of the 100 routes, the total transfer times (consisting of the flight duration + check-in time + transfer time from the city centre to the airport and from the destination airport to the city centre) were compared to the total train or coach travel times (consisting of the travel times for coach and train + transfer times from the city centre to the train station and from the train station to the city centre at the destination). All coach and train routes were then ranked by the greatest amount of time saved compared to the flight routes.
Sustainability is going mainstream. More and more people make a conscious effort to consider how their everyday choices affect the world. However, when wanderlust gets hold, most people seem to opt for convenience and comfort over the environment. But you can choose both!
A representative poll by Omio has found that many travellers are ready to make a compromise in order to minimise their impact on climate change: Almost every third person says that they are willing to accept an additional 30 minutes to their overall travelling time, provided that this will have a positive effect on the environment, with every other person saying they would travel by train instead of flight if the connection was faster. Seven percent of the respondents say they would take ground transportation even if this meant an additional two hours of travelling.
With more and more people leaning toward ground travel for sustainability reasons, almost every other person is also switching to train travel due to safety concerns that have arisen from the global pandemic. And domestic travel is on the rise. And, luckily, travellers have a lot of options to choose from.
Everyone knows that flights are major gas guzzlers. Travelling on the ground can lower your carbon footprint tremendously. Not only that, travelling by train or coach can be just as fast and comfortable as flying. Think about all those times you have had to wait in long security lines, nevermind the traffic to and from the airport. And don’t get us started on baggage and in-flight fees. On the ground travel gives you all the comforts of a flight but none of the hassle.
Trains vs. Flights Ranking from 2019
Click here to get access to the full routes included in the 2019 research. Omio researched all European routes included in the ranking. This ranking was based on the 100 most popular routes by train, coach and flight booked on Omio during summer 2019 (15 August 2019 - 30 September 2019).
At Omio, our aim is to make booking a trip as simple as possible. How, do you ask? By allowing you to search, compare and book trains for Great Britain and mainland Europe in one place.
But that's not all. We're constantly improving and innovating how you travel—from super secure payments to mobile tickets to live journey updates. So now, you can always find the best option.
Travelling by train in Great Britain is a great way to see the country. Here are some of our favourite routes from London to help you get inspired.
There are a lot of different train providers in Great Britain. But don't worry, we work with all of them, including Virgin Trains, LNER and even Eurostar. So, no matter where you're going, we will help get you there.
Abellio Greater Anglia: Abellio Greater Anglia Trains succeeded National Express in 2012 as Eastern England's primary train company. Abellio's train network covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and parts of Hertfordshire
Arriva Trains Wales: Arriva trains operate on 5 routes: between the Midlands and Northern Wales, between South Wales and Northern Wales/Manchester, along the South Wales Coast Line to Cardiff and Swansea, along the North Wales Coast Line to Crewe and Manchester, while also operating a network of commuter train lines in and around Cardiff.
C2C: c2c is predominantly a London commuter railway, providing services along the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line, from London Fenchurch Street to East London and along the southern part of Essex. Trains depart along the main route from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness around 8 times each hour during off-peak times
East Midland Trains: East Midlands Trains operates two types of trains: long-distance trains connecting London St Pancras train station with destinations throughout the UK and regional trains. East Midlands's regional trains link towns and cities in the East Midlands as well as Central and Northern England. East Midlands trains run between London and Sheffield, York, Derby, Corby, Nottingham, and Leeds.
Great Western Railway: Great Western Railway is the main train company for the west and south-west counties in the UK including Devon, Somerset, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Bedfordshire, Wiltshire, and Bristol. Great Western's trains are also available in Wales, focusing specifically on Southern Wales.
First Hull Trains: First Hull Trains operate just one train from Hull to London, which stops at Brough, Howden, Selby, Doncaster, Retford, Grantham, and Stevenage along the way. First Hull's train schedule has grown every year since 2000, with 7 trains currently departing every day.
Gatwick Express: Gatwick Express has been running direct train services from London Victoria Station to Gatwick since 1984. It is considered the fastest train service to Gatwick Airport from Central London, and is the only non-stop option available.
TransPennine Express: TransPennine Express operates intercity trains on 3 main routes across Northern England. TransPennine Express trains connect Liverpool and Manchester with Leeds, York, Sheffield and Doncaster with as many as 5 trains departing per hour on some of the popular routes.
Train travel in Europe is fast becoming one of the best ways to discover the continent. And best of all? it's one of climate change activist Greta Thunberg's favourite ways to travel. So, why not follow in her footsteps and travel around Europe by train?
Catching the train in Europe is a great alternative to flying as trains can emit up to 90% less CO2 per journey and with more countries in Europe offering high-speed trains, it can often be quicker, too.
Catching the train in Europe affords more leisure time than travelling by flight. You can check out the scenery as you work on your laptop and there are no liquid restrictions and fewer stringent security checks.
Sleeper trains have become increasingly popular in recent years. Several routes are available connecting European Cities and the UK.
Next time, skip flying, sit back and relax as you travel by train.
Getting to European destinations by train can seem daunting but it doesn't have to be. Below you can find out some the most popular routes you can travel to by train.
Omio have partnered up with more than 1000 travel providers in Europe and helps you find your best train ticket to get around Europe. We work with European train companies from Sweden in the north to Portugal in the south, so you're sure to find your European train tickets with Omio!
ÖBB: ÖBB or Austrian Federal Railways is Austria's national train company. In addition to numerous cities in Austria, ÖBB also travels to select destinations in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
Westbahn: Westbahn operates one train route between Vienna and Salzburg. Westbahn trains run every hour and stop at Wien Westbahnhof, Wien-Hütteldorf, St. Pölten Hbf, Amstetten, Linz Hbf, Wels Hbf, Attnang-Puchheim and Salzburg Hbf.
SNCB: In addition to servicing domestic destinations, Belgium's national train company also operates 4 high-speed international train routes: from Brussels to Paris Nord or Lille Flandres train stations in cooperation with SNCF; from Leuven to Ans; from Liège to the German border; and from Antwerpen-Centraal to Rotterdam Centraal train stations.
České Dráhy: Often abbreviated ČD, České Dráhy is the Czech Republic's main train company. České Dráhy operates both regional and long-distance train routes throughout the Czech Republic
SNCF: SNCF operates all of France's national rail services including the high-speed TGV network. More than 800 high-speed SNCF trains depart every day. SNCF’s TGV trains carry over 100 million passengers every year.
Ouigo: Ouigo is a French-based train service that’s used by millions of locals and tourists every year, the brand is owned by the French rail company, SNCF, and also launched in Spain in 2021. In many ways, Ouigo works similarly to budget airlines. It doesn’t stop at the biggest stations, keeps the amenities basic, and charges extra for oversized baggage. As a result, it’s able to keep its prices low, the cost of Ouigo tickets is much less than that of other long-distance train services.
Deutsche Bahn: Germany's national train company is the largest in Europe, transporting approximately 2 billion passengers per year. Deutsche Bahn's high-speed Intercity-Express (ICE) trains connect major cities in Germany as well as some select international destinations in Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, France, Denmark and the Netherlands
Italo: Italo is a privately-owned high-speed train company that connects 16 train stations in 13 Italian cities. Italo operates 3 high-speed train lines through Italy: from Verona to Naples (via Bologna, Florence, and Rome); from Venice to Salerno (via Padua, Bologna, Florence, Rome, and Naples); and from Turin to Salerno (via Milan, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Florence, Rome, and Naples).
Avlo: Avlo is a high-speed train that was created by Spain's national rail company, Renfe. It provides fast but affordable services on the popular Madrid to Barcelona-Figueres line.
Iryo: This new rail operator, co-owned by Trenitalia and Spanish airline Air Nostrum, is launching cheap train tickets for routes between some of Spain’s main cities, including Madrid–Barcelona and Madrid–Valencia.
Renfe: Renfe Operadora is Spain's national train company. Renfe's high-speed AVE trains travel up to 350 km/h and connect Madrid with other major cities in Spain including Seville, Barcelona, Valencia, Toledo, Cordoba, and Malaga.
How do I buy train tickets in Spain? Almost all types of trains in Spain require passengers to prebook their tickets as most have compulsory seat reservations. Reservation booking usually opens between 60 and 90 days ahead of the departure date, although this can sometimes vary.
Are there different train fares? Yes - Flexible fares are refundable and changeable and you can book this ticket type on the day of travel, seat availability permitting.
Promo fares do not allow for refunds or changes and you cannot chose your own seat.
Promo+ fares allow you to pick your own seat and have a more flexible refund and changes policy than the basic Promo fare but is still limited.
Is it easy to book tickets if you don't speak the language? Yes, it's simple to book Spanish train tickets online. If you use Omio there is also English-speaking customer service.
For more in-depth information about trains in Spain, click here.
How do I buy train tickets in Italy? Buying train tickets in Italy is easy. For regional trains you don't have to prebook, just show up at the station and use one of the ticket machines and off you go. Long-distance train tickets need to be booked in advance although seats rarely sell out, so buying a day or two before is usually fine, but much more expensive than booking in advance.
Is it easy to book tickets if you don't speak the language? Yes, just go to the station and use the fast ticket machines in English. Alternatively, you can just Omio to book your train tickets in your preferred language.
For more in-depth information about trains in Italy, click here.
How do I buy train tickets in Germany? To book train tickets in Germany you should buy in advance for the best deals, but this isn't compulsory for most trains. If passengers are travelling long-distance then you'll need to book a seat in advance, booking for these trains opens about 90 days in advance. If you're booking a regional train you can add a seat to your reservation as an optional extra for about five Euros.
Are there different fare types? Yes, Flexpreis fares can be bought in advance or on the day of travel and are refundable and changeable.
Saver fares save customers money but can only be used on specific trains at a certain time and date. These tickets are refundable and changeable before departure for a fee. Saver tickets usually sell out fairly quickly.
Children under the age of six travel for free on German trains.
For more in-depth information about trains in Germany, click here.
How do I buy train tickets in France? Travellers will only need to book their train tickets in advance for long-distance journeys as these all have compulsory seat reservations. The price of these tickets is not fixed and fluctuates similar to airfares, so to get the cheapest tickets it's wise to book as far in advance as possible. Customers can usually book a ticket around 90 days ahead of the departure date.
Are there different train fares? Yes - Pro fares are flexible, refundable and changeable but only valid at a specific time and date.
Loisir fares are a little less flexible with more limited refunds and changes available, these are also only valid on the specific train booked.
Prems fares are the cheaper tickets but are not valid for any changes or refunds. They are also only available for the specific train booked. These are best booked as far as 3 months in advance if possible.
There are also group tickets for up to seven people, so if travelling with friends it can work out significantly cheaper to buy a group ticket.
Is it easy to book tickets if you don't speak the language? Yes, if you're booking a long-distance train then everything can be done online, if you're booking a regional train and are looking at the station you can use the ticket machines and change the language to English. Alternatively, you can book your train tickets on Omio!
For more in-depth information about trains in France, click here.
Europe is blessed with an extremely comprehensive rail network, meaning exploring the continent by train is as simple as it gets. What's more, given the history of these train tracks, they often pass through extremely beautiful landscapes in the Alps or directly through forests. Why not kill two birds with one stone and witness the beautiful European scenery without having to step off the train? Below are just some of the highlights.