KLM ditches one of its European flights in favor of trains

Sep 17, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A major European airline is cutting back on flights and replacing that capacity with high-speed trains instead.

From 29 March 2020, Dutch flag carrier KLM will replace one of its five daily flights from Amsterdam to Brussels with trains operated by the French-Belgian high-speed rail company Thalys. The flight between the two cities is so short that passengers spend only a brief 20 minutes in the sky, compared to the two-hour train journey.

The carrier says the benefits from the change are twofold. First, using more environmentally friendly forms of transport would support KLM’s drive for sustainability. Secondly, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport (AMS) suffers from tight restrictions on the number of departures and arrivals that are permitted on any given day. Reductions in short-haul flights would release slots that can be used for long-haul flights instead.

The airline would buy capacity on the trains, which it would then sell. The TGV Thalys high-speed trains, which connect Paris with Amsterdam in a little over three hours, also pull into the station connected to Schiphol, enabling seamless connections to KLMN flights.

According to a Railway Gazette, KLM is in favor of using rail instead of flying on short-haul routes as long as trains “fully match the speed, reliability and comfort that air travel offers”. When compared like-for-like, a two-hour train journey seems longer than a 20-minute flight. But, when you include travel time to and from the arrival and departure airports plus the waiting time in the airport before the flight, flying then becomes a longer journey than the two-hour train ride that runs directly between the two city centers.

If you’re curious about how taking a plane versus a train over a short distance between major European cities would look and feel, TPG UK recently tested it out by racing from Buckingham Palace to the Eiffel Tower in a bid to test whether plane or train would be the quickest mode of transport for the journey between London and Paris.

Feature image by Daniel Ross/TPG

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.