What’s faster? Watch us race across England by plane and train

May 6, 2022

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National Train Day is fast approaching in the U.S., and The Points Guy U.K. team has found the perfect way to celebrate. Thanks to the likes of Francis Bourgeois’ viral TikTok videos as well as the environmental benefits that train transport offers, riding a train has never been so popular. To celebrate National Train Day across the pond, The Points Guy U.K. is putting trains and planes to the ultimate test.

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British airline Flybe has recently made its debut back into the world after having been off-grid for the past two years. The re-launched brand has reconnected London Heathrow (LHR) and Leeds Bradford (LBA) as a flight route after British Airways dropped it from its schedule.

In our most recent video, Nicky races Liam from Piccadilly Circus, London to Nicky’s family home in Leeds, which is situated halfway between the train station and airport in Leeds. Liam went by train from Kings Cross in London to Leeds, and Nicky took the Flybe flight from London Heathrow to Leeds Bradford Airport.

Related: Plane vs. Train: Watch the TPG UK Team Race From London to Paris

The test looked at the value, the ease of getting to the station or airport, the comfort on board and who could get to their destination the fastest. The key question: Is taking the train both more environmentally friendly and quicker?

You can watch the whole experience and find out who won right here on YouTube:

Nicky Kelvin – Plane

I traveled on the Bakerloo line from Piccadilly Circus to Paddington and connected onto the Heathrow Express train to Heathrow’s Terminal 2. I took Flybe flight BE752 on a De Havilland Canada Dash 8 to Leeds Bradford airport scheduled to depart Heathrow at 9:45 a.m. My mom and dog picked me up from the airport to race to the finish line at my family home in North Leeds.

We paid:

  • Flybe ticket: 54.99 British pounds ($67.95).
  • Tube and Heathrow Express: 27.50 British pounds ($33.98).
  • Lift from mom: Free!
  • Total: 82.49 British pounds ($101.94).

I loved the speed of the actual flight, which clocked in at 41 minutes and is, in isolation, far quicker than the train. There was a refreshment service on board providing tea, coffee and biscuits for all passengers, which was a lovely touch. The Dash 8 aircraft was small but very comfortable, and the views from the sky are unrivaled!

It was not all rosy, however. Delays are not uncommon at Heathrow airport. Even if a flight leaves its stand on time, a busy airfield and associated air traffic and other holdups can mean lots of time is lost just taking off.

There are also, of course, more hurdles to jump through, including the check-in, boarding and security processes (although these were all smooth at Heathrow that day). It’s worth noting that some people may not like the smaller and noisier propeller planes used on this route.

Liam Spencer – Train

Liam traveled on the Piccadilly line from Piccadilly Circus to Kings Cross St Pancras to catch the 8:33 a.m. LNER train service from London Kings Cross to Leeds. He then took a taxi to the finish line.

We paid:

  • First Class LNER train ticket: 58 British pounds ($71.67).
  • Tube: 2.50 British pounds ($3.09).
  • Taxi: 15 British pounds ($18.54).
  • Total: 75.50 British pounds ($93.30).

I found the first-class seat on the train to be incredibly comfy, with a huge tray table and tons of room to stretch out. There was also an extensive breakfast and drinks menu that the ticket price covered. I had poached eggs with smashed avocado, which was delicious. The crew serving me was also very friendly. Overall, it was an extremely efficient service that got me into Leeds slightly ahead of schedule.

There were a few downsides, including the lack of entertainment if you didn’t bring your own. Although complimentary Wi-Fi was provided, it was not particularly strong and cut out often.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

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