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Is it OK to fly if rail is too expensive?

  1. Jun 8, 2009 #1

    neu

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    I need to travel from london to madrid for a conference. Flights cost ~£80-£90 and rail is ~£250. It apears my expenses wont cover the cost by rail and as a student I can't stump up the cost myself.

    I vowed to myself never to fly again when there is an alternative. I always assumed rail was accessible but I can't find a cheaper ticket. I really don't want to fly, I think I might have to refuse to go.

    What should I do?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2009 #2

    cristo

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    Fly. The plane will not only take less time, but as you say, it's a lot cheaper. Why would you not want to fly?
     
  4. Jun 8, 2009 #3
    I know how you feel...the airline industry is such a pain, so rude, and so irresponsible with luggage...I keep vowing that it's the last time, but it's a promise I can't keep.
     
  5. Jun 8, 2009 #4

    Moonbear

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    Look into hidden fees too. For example, airlines in the US are now trying to rip off their passengers by charging to check luggage and for their puny in-flight meals. It doesn't show up in the airfare, but is still an expense of travel.

    Actually, that reminds me I need to look into how reimbursement is going to work for stuff like that on official travel. I can appreciate preferring to just avoid the hassle, but if rail fares are not competitive, it's hard to find alternatives.
     
  6. Jun 8, 2009 #5

    cristo

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    Indeed. I rarely check luggage for European flights if I'm flying a low cost carrier, since it makes the process a lot more expensive. You can also take pretty much unlimited cabin luggage, so long as you can carry it. In flight food also costs money, but no-one really buys food on a plane nowadays!

    Of course, sometimes the 'real' airlines are cheaper if one needs to check baggage, etc..
     
  7. Jun 8, 2009 #6

    robphy

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  8. Jun 8, 2009 #7

    Moonbear

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    The problem is that even buying food in the airport costs a lot and the days of getting a sack lunch through security are long gone (unless you can figure out a way to get it all into 3 oz or less containers within a 1 qt clear bag :uhh:). I can deal with the luggage fees, since I too often can manage with just a carry-on bag, so can appreciate getting a discount if you can manage that, but when I can't even bring along some beverage with a snack and then they charge a fortune for it in the airport or on a plane, I get annoyed. Maybe if flights were ever actually on time, it wouldn't be an issue, I could properly plan stopovers to include time for a meal, but usually, I end up on the delayed flight connecting to one trying to leave early right during the time when the slowest kid on the planet is serving food at whatever the nearest place to eat in the airport is and the line is down to the next terminal. :grumpy:
     
  9. Jun 9, 2009 #8

    Ben Niehoff

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    One solution to the drink issue is to bring an empty water bottle and fill it up at a drinking fountain after passing through security.
     
  10. Jun 9, 2009 #9
    Fly, of course. :rolleyes:
     
  11. Jun 9, 2009 #10

    neu

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    Sorry I forgot to mention that my motivation for not flying is climate change.

    I know that high speed trains are probably more polluting than plane travel, however I don't intend to use high speed trains.

    I've read several aparantly conflicting studies about aviation emmisions versus other transport, but I often notice that the effective amplification of CO2eq is often not taken into account. I don't dispute that high speed trains are possibly worse, but I believe that "ordinary" trains are far cleaner; although not travelling is obviously the cleanest.

    According to IPCC the aviation amplification factor is approx x2.7 of that of CO2 alone, but some deem this too conservative, e.g:
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  12. Jun 9, 2009 #11
    The fact that you 'believe' that "ordinary" trains are "far cleaner" shows you haven't even done your homework before making such an irrational decision on your lifestyle. Either way, I fly for fun when I have the chance, I highly recommend it. The train is slow, makes frequent stops and is a time sink (you said no high speed trains).

    This report seems to say:

    I really don't care enough to change a mere 4.9% of pollution. That's a very bad way to try and save the planet. You're probably better of trying to reduce the other 95% of the problem.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  13. Jun 9, 2009 #12

    mgb_phys

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    Since you would be mostly travelling through France on a TGV powered by France's nuclear power this is probably not true.

    The planes better than trains is a per/km trick, in litres/km the space shuttle looks like economical!

    If you compare a full 747 on a long haul flight with an empty diesel train you can just about make the train look worse (if you include lots of infrastructure) but comparing a regional jet with 10 passengers to an electric metro/tube train with 1000s of passengers crammed on it looks very different.
     
  14. Jun 9, 2009 #13
    Take one of those trains in India with people hanging all over it!
     
  15. Jun 9, 2009 #14

    Office_Shredder

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    I'm confused, since you're traveling the same distance either way, why is per kilometer not a good way to measure things?
     
  16. Jun 9, 2009 #15
    The metric needs to be something along the lines of per/km/useful load.
     
  17. Jun 9, 2009 #16

    turbo

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    Neu, the plane will be making the trip whether you are on it or not. It's commendable that you want to save energy/reduce pollution, etc, but the fractional extra fuel that plane will burn because you are on the plane won't have much impact in the big picture.
     
  18. Jun 9, 2009 #17

    Pengwuino

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    damn it you beat me to it! :rofl: I completely agree, obviously. Both methods of transportation are going to go ahead whether or not you pick them. If you want to argue that one less person means 1 less persons worth of demand and if everyone did it there'd be less flights... ok but really? You might as well simply row your way there on a boat then bike the rest of the way with that thinking.
     
  19. Jun 9, 2009 #18
    Would there be one less person? The airline would simply fill the extra seat no problem, we already know they over book by around 10% to allow for no shows. So you might as well fly it, seeing as it will make no difference to pollution either way.
     
  20. Jun 9, 2009 #19
    I suppose you could look at it in another way, if you are going to plane or train it either way, then you've already created more pollution by using these forums. Take the train/plane pollution and add it to the pollution created when the electric running your pc was made and you've added to the problem (I suppose hydro/wind/solar would get you round this, if you have it?).

    Jared
     
  21. Jun 9, 2009 #20

    Pengwuino

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    Would it? I don't fly, let alone fly in Europe.
     
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