Train Better than Plane

April 19, 2013

in Flying Hell Commentary

After many years of enduring being treated like some criminal for trying to fly, I have decided to take the train.

Reason 1: Hidden fees make it impossible to budget your airfare. Coupled with rude ticket agents.

Reason 2: Interminable delays. I can understand and forgive a weather delay; however if a mechanical issue or crew issue interferes with my travel plan, it is the passenger’s fault somehow.

Reason 3: Being found guilty automatically by TSA and having to prove myself innocent and put up with the indignities of being manually or electronically molested.

Reason 4: Having to share my space with some behemoth who insists on sharing your seat despite not paying for it and the airlines turn and look the other way.

Reason 5: Being treated like cattle and crammed into some aluminum tube with seats designed for people of extremely small stature.

So taking the train may be more expensive and take longer to get to your destination, but the pros outweigh the cons. I always get a room and thus have my space that is not being invaded by smelly people or those of extremely large girths. The food is quite tolerable and is included in your fare, as is bottled water and newspaper. The seats are very comfortable and Wi-Fi is now available. No being molested prior to boarding. You are treated like a human being and I always arrive at my destination refreshed instead of exhausted, sore and frazzled.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Belle April 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Unfortunately taking a train isn't an option for some destinations, but I concur with you about train travel being preferable over flying when feasible.


Stories April 23, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Train journeys are tours by itself


Trixi April 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Riding the train is really fun. However, not so good for business travel.


James April 25, 2013 at 10:05 am

This entirely depends on the distance, and the train. Since I suspect most people reading here are Americans, the main experience is Amtrak, and many of their long distance trains are scenic. However, the northeast corridor is a viable alternative to flying (particularly when there are FAA/sequester delays!) — midtown Washington to midtown New York is three hours by Acela trains. Throw in time getting to and from airports, etc, and it is a reasonable alternative.

The Capital Corridor trains in California are similar, and if they ever do build high-speed rail, downtown San Francisco to Los Angeles in under three hours will be preferable to flying.

When you get to Europe, you see the benefits of high speed rail. On a recent trip, I had stops in Amsterdam, Brussels, and London — and went between them entirely by train. Amsterdam to Brussels was a fast Thalys train, and the chunnel was much faster than any airline could have been. For medium dstance travel, high speed trains are superior to flying; coach on those trains is more comfortable than first class on an RL-100,

For most long distance (500+ miles) one will still fly.


Maggie April 26, 2013 at 3:22 am

Just you wait. The TSA are eyeing up trains for their next conquest.


Gold Beagle June 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm

We already have TSA at the major station at least since 2004. I see them daily on my trips to DC Union Station.


Lucy May 27, 2013 at 6:59 pm

It is sad that the people of The United States of America have given up their freedoms for what they consider safety….TSA and the US Gov't have over stepped their bound. The only way we can get our rights back is vote the people out that are in charge of overturning our rights. it is that or a revolution… which I sadly suspect will be in our future.


talashea February 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm

I'm happy that you have found a better and more comfortable way to travel, but unfortunately it is kind of hard to get to Indonesia or anywhere in SE Asia by train or I would probably do this myself:)


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