Plane vs. Train? No contest!

8 Mar
Flying may get you across many miles quickly, but there is nothing enjoyable about the experience. NOTHING. Trains, on the other hand, are simply a pleasure.
Not long after we had returned from our Christmas trip to Paris, London, and Switzerland, our son informed us that his company was sending him to the U.K. for work. Would we meet him in London for a week? How could we not? We had really enjoyed our time in London in December, and had immediately booked a return for April, but when your child is going to be on the same side of the ocean, you go. We don’t get to see any of them often, so this was a treat.
There was just not enough time between our Austrian adventure and an upcoming visit from American friends to allow us to take a leisurely journey by train, so we bit the bullet and bought tickets on EasyJet. (We prefer taking the train and stopping in Paris for a couple of nights.)  I popped for seats in the front of the plane and early boarding to try and minimize our discomfort. We abandoned our reliable roll-aboard cases in favor of large, uncomfortable backpacks so they would fit in the EasyJet overheads. I felt like I was going to tip over backward carrying that pack (although it only weighed about 20 lbs.) on buses and through the terminals.
EuroStar interior, photo taken on our December 2015 trip. Spacious. The TGV and FrecciaRossa trains are excellent, too. We like the configuration with the table between us, like you see on the right.

EuroStar interior, photo taken on our December 2015 trip. Spacious. The TGV and FrecciaRossa trains are excellent, too. We like the configuration with the table between us like you see on the right.

Now to the Planes vs. Trains discussion.
If we have a 3-hour train trip to Milano, we can travel door-to-door—from our apartment in Roma to our hotel in Milano—in 5 hours. We are relaxed, have been given espresso and wine on the way, we probably would have had WIFI access, and there would have been no need to disrobe and be x-rayed to prove we are not carrying anything hazardous.
Our 2-hour-and-40-minute flight to London took 8 hours door-to-door. In fact, 4½ hours after leaving home, we were just leaving Roma, taking off from FCO. I don’t need to tell you what the security experience was like, but we walked about a kilometer through the airport just to get to the bus that would drive us to the gate. On board we ate sandwiches that were 75% bread and the coffee was undrinkable.
Interior of Easy Jet airplane with passengers. Courtesy of EasyJet. Yeah, this is fun.

Interior of Easy Jet airplane with passengers. Courtesy of EasyJet. Yeah, this is fun.

We will return to London in April–a trip scheduled and partly paid for before Derek’s surprise voyage so no sense canceling. However, we will do the April trip in style: TGV to Paris for a few days, EuroStar to-and-from London, and a 3-night stopover in Dijon on the way home just because. Our roll-aboard bags will be back in service.


6 Responses to “Plane vs. Train? No contest!”

  1. Marcia March 14, 2016 at 13:48 #

    We are now in Easter Island, a 5 hour flight from Santiago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Subtropical and very very undeveloped. It’s so rugged and beautiful. About 5 thousand live on the island. Today we have an all day tour around the island to see the Mois and hear if the tremendous history. This island is so remote. 2500 miles to Chile and 2700 miles to Polynesia. You do wonder how people hundreds and thousands of years ago ever got here!


  2. Will March 8, 2016 at 17:57 #

    Gracia and I agree 100% with you about the pain of flying. I will add, whenever possible, we prefer to take a ship from the US to Europe rather than fly. It’s actually not that much more expensive, but WAY more comfortable. Even the worst class on a ship is more comfortable than the finest airplane first class cube. The real luxury is having the time … isn’t retirement great!! 🙂


    • gooddayrome March 8, 2016 at 18:00 #

      We do want to try a trans-Atlantic cruise sometime. Such a nice way to avoid jetlag! Yup, not regretting not working! Our mantra is “We have time” and yet the days fly by!


  3. Marcia Kakiuchi March 8, 2016 at 15:48 #

    Your train experiences have been so remarkable. I loved the photos and the descriptions when you took the train. And plane travel is a penalty and not a pleasure any longer. We did use miles for fly first class to Buenos Aires and had those lay down beds, which was just lovely!!! And champagne. And steak. But still security is a nightmare.

    We are so enjoying Argentina and Chile. We passed Cape Horn without trouble but then a storm came in and it was quite rough for 24 hours. The Beagle channel was spectacular. We probably saw 15 glaciers soooo close! And we loved Uruguay and the Falkland Islands. Patagonia is so much bigger and more diverse geography than we ever imagined. And we still have Easter Island.


    • gooddayrome March 8, 2016 at 16:25 #

      Oh, Marcia! That trip sounds wonderful! Now I want to go there, too!


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