It’s official – trains in the UK are now so expensive that it’s cheaper to fly than to get to your destination by rail.
To prove the point, Joe Furness, 21, flew from Newcastle to London – via Menorca – for less than half the price of a Newcastle to London train ticket.
The trainee cadet with transport and logistics company Mearsk discovered that a Virgin Trains single from Newcastle to the capital travelling on 24 June on would set him back £78.50. Meanwhile, a Thomas Cook flight from Newcastle to Menorca flying out 23 June cost £15.99, with the return flight, landing in London on 24 June, coming in at £10.99. The round trip cost just £26.98, including taxes – Joe had money to spare so added on £7.50 for car hire so he could explore the island during his 12 hour stopover.
“Trains in the UK are RIDICULOUS,” he tells The Independent. “I’ve seldom felt like I’ve had good value for money on a train.”
Arriving at 5.45pm in Menorca on Friday and departing for London at 10.40am on Saturday, Joe saved money on a hotel by driving to a beach and camping instead. He coincidentally arrived in time for one of Menorca’s biggest horse festivals (there are several), Sant Joan.
He made a video of his round trip, which took around 22 hours, offering pro tips such as: “Don’t turn up 30 minutes before departure.”
This isn’t the first time Joe has pulled off a plane versus train travel hack. “I went from Newcastle to Manchester once via Geneva because it was only £39 instead of £64 for the train,” he says.
He plans to use this novel money-saver more often: “I’m going to be doing it all the time, it’s a way more fun method of travel.”
This comes after The Independent reported that flying across the UK in a private plane can be cheaper than taking the train. Professional deal hunter, Tom Church, published the discovery to his website, latestdeals.co.uk, after catching a flight from London to Newcastle.
Church, 26, booked a plane as the solo passenger for £67 – the equivalent train ticket cost £146, more than double the price. Finding train travel prices exorbitant, he turned to a service called Wingly, which puts hobbyist pilots in touch with members of the public for mutual benefit.