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

May 6, 2022

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.

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.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.