Why is Travelling by Train More Expensive Than Flying? A Deep Dive into Costs and Environmental Impact

Alfred Tang

Alfred Tang

Aug 13, 20234 min read


Why is Travelling by Train More Expensive Than Flying? A Deep Dive into Costs and Environmental Impact


Travelling has become an essential part of our lives, whether for work or leisure. However, when it comes to choosing between the convenience of flying and the scenic route of train travel, one question often arises: why is travelling by train so much more expensive than flying? In this article, we will explore the factors that contribute to this price discrepancy, delve into the environmental impact of both modes of transportation, and provide actionable advice for eco-conscious travelers.

Cost Disparity:

When comparing the costs of train tickets to flight tickets, it's important to consider various factors. One significant aspect is the infrastructure required for train travel. Building and maintaining train tracks, stations, and other facilities incur substantial expenses. Moreover, trains generally have a smaller passenger capacity than airplanes, which affects economies of scale. Airlines can transport a larger number of passengers in a single trip, spreading their costs more efficiently.

Additionally, airlines often benefit from various subsidies, which can help reduce their operational costs. These subsidies can include tax breaks, fuel subsidies, and other financial incentives. On the other hand, the rail industry usually receives fewer government subsidies, leading to higher ticket prices.

Environmental Impact:

While cost is a crucial factor, we cannot ignore the environmental impact of our travel choices. Aviation accounts for about 3 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Flying releases significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. In contrast, trains produce fewer emissions per passenger-kilometer traveled and are generally considered a more sustainable mode of transportation.

The higher price of train tickets can be partially attributed to the absence of polluting subsidies, which are often present in the airline industry. These subsidies can be seen as an indirect financial support for airlines, allowing them to keep their ticket prices relatively low. By not offering similar subsidies to the rail industry, governments inadvertently create a price disparity between these two modes of transport.

Unique Insights:

While the cost discrepancy between train and air travel is widely recognized, it is essential to consider unique insights that can shed further light on the issue. One interesting aspect is the playability duration of tennis strings, as explored in the Solinco Hyper-G 16/1.30 String review. This review highlights the importance of control, spin, and feel for tennis players. Similarly, when it comes to transportation choices, passengers seek control over their travel plans, the ability to navigate efficiently, and a sense of comfort and connection with the journey. These factors can influence the perceived value of train travel, even with its higher price tag.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Plan Ahead: Booking train tickets well in advance can often result in significant savings. Train companies often offer discounted fares for early bookings, allowing travelers to secure lower prices while enjoying the convenience and comfort of train travel.
  • 2. Explore Regional Passes: Many countries and regions offer special passes for unlimited train travel within a specific time frame. These passes can provide excellent value for money, especially for travelers planning to explore multiple destinations within a particular area. Researching and investing in such passes can help mitigate the higher costs associated with train travel.
  • 3. Consider the Bigger Picture: While train tickets may seem more expensive upfront, it is crucial to consider the long-term impact of transportation choices. By opting for train travel, individuals contribute to reducing their carbon footprint and supporting a more sustainable future. This perspective can help travelers justify the higher costs, knowing they are making a positive environmental impact.


Travelling by train may indeed be more expensive than flying, but understanding the underlying factors behind this price disparity and the environmental impact associated with each mode of transportation allows us to make informed choices. By planning ahead, exploring regional passes, and considering the bigger picture, we can navigate the world of travel more consciously. Ultimately, choosing train travel not only offers a scenic and comfortable journey but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable future for all.

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