Who wins the Brussels edition of Train vs Plane?
In this… comparison.
- A Surreal weekend Out
- Early Morning Virgin Trains and St Pancras International
- Eurostar ES9116 London St Pancras to Brussels Midi (Standard Premier)
- Crowne Plaza Le Place, Roiger, Brussels
- Enjoying time in Brussels and Leuven
- Off to Trainworld
- Back to Brussels Airport, British Airways Terraces Lounge
- BA399 Brussels National Airport to London Heathrow (Club Europe)
- Heading back to Marylebone, and heading home
- Train vs Plane? Which wins in this round?
The final numbers
So, the final numbers on the doors:
- Train: 3 hours 45 minutes
- Plane: 6 hours 12 minutes
A clear win for the train this time with a 2 hours 27 minute advantage, with BA failing at the first hurdle with an hour delay getting into Heathrow Airport. Even taking this into account, the train would win by a clear hour. Which for those who travel is going to be important.
Other factors are in play when I do a plane vs train comparison – and things do go wrong. Because this is the real world, and we don’t live in a world of perfectly followed timetables – we live in times where get to departure points, wait around, suffer a delay, and travel, and we go onto other destination that aren’t near the airport or train station.
Let’s go over advantages and disadvantages:
For the Train
- The power Centre to Centre Travel cannot be underestimated, with a 2 hour 10 train ride at most between London and Brussels, and the time getting to and from the train station. And this time, even London City Airport isn’t option as there is no direct service between LCY and Brussels.
- Eurostar offers maximum of 11 trains a day. This compares to Brussels Airlines three flights a day and five a day British Airways
- Standard Premier offers a lot more space than Eurostar Standard. But only get it if it’s marginally more expensive. The value proposition gets a lot harder, a lot quicker.
- The waiting time is minimal if timed right
For the plane
- Onward connections are the game in town. Whilst airlines can scrape around grabbing customers on these short-haul routes, the real prize are those connecting onto the long haul network, and the ability to funnel passengers through their hubs (be it Brussels Airport or Heathrow Airport).
- Redemption seats if needed can be cheap to find. Revenue seats as usual – expect to pay.
In Passenger Experience Notes:
- Whilst the hard product of Standard Premier is excellent, the catering options at breakfast are a little… uninspired. Certainly room to improve for a breakfast service.
- British Airways has upped its catering game – that’s for sure. It’s now just being let-down by a poorly configured seat… and some slow service.
Which would I choose?
It’s all time and where I need would judge what I take next time. I would lean towards the plane normally as I have to get the train to London initially – before catching my onward connection.
And depending how I needed to maximise my time, plane may help more than train.
However, when the trains work right – it works. And given the choice for such a short hop – I’d choose the train. And the timings worked out just fine this trip for me – even if British Airways tried to make up more time
And considering there are options such as Eurostar rewards, it is possible to actually make Eurostar travel rewarding.
And that’s it for Train vs Plane: The Brussels Edition. I might look at doing Paris version in 2019, and maybe some other markets where there’s a decent train vs plane option .
Next on the menu
I’m off to Chicago at the end of March and following that on Hamburg straight away for Aircraft Interiors Expo. Right at the point of where the UK leaves the European Union.
But you never know what the travel gods may bring. I have a lump of annual leave still to use… and you never know where the fare sales take you…
I am also in the process of going through a lot of my older travels and updating them. Least of all – there are some edits that need be made, and images that need to find a proper home.
But for now – thank you for reading.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, with in-depth coverage, unique research as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.