Rail, Not Air!
Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 22nd August, 2007
Ryanair has been barred by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) from claiming its flights from London to Brussels are cheaper and quicker than Eurostar — and a jolly good thing too! The ASA said the claim was misleading, because it ignored the time taken traveling from the city centres to the somewhat far-flung airports serving the two capitals — Stansted and Charleroi — as well as the cost involved. With typical disdain, Ryanair has declared that these details were ‘irrelevant’ and that ‘only the very rich or the very slow waste their time on Eurostar’.
Eurostar, which will be even quicker once the new high-speed rail-link is finished and St. Pancras Station opened, has revolutioned my Cross-Channel travelling, whether to Brussels or Paris. I wouldn’t dream of flying instead, and indeed on one occasion recently point blank refused to do so when an assignment involved my going to Brussels. It’s not just the hassle and horror of airports when they are busy. I object to short-haul flights, when more eco-friendly rail alternatives are available. And there would be no need for airport expansion at Heathrow and Stansted if people switched from air to rail for short haul travel to the Continent. Moreover, as an incentive for better environmental practice, we need to bite the bullet and make it cheaper to go by train and more expensive to fly.