I fly, yes. Airports are my friend when I want to travel a long distance fast.
But, if I have an option, I'll take the train or drive any day of the week.
Airports are never conveniently located. Arriving early is a must. Waiting around is inevitable. Add all that transit and wait time onto the flight and very often you're not much ahead of taking the train.
In fact, sometimes you're quite behind.
So let's do a direct comparison of flying and taking the train from London to Paris taking both time and money into consideration.
You'll also benefit from these two posts:
Option 1: Take the Eurostar from London to Paris
Departure point: The Eurostar leaves St. Pancras station in London. The time and cost to get to St. Pancras is pretty well the same as it would cost to get to Victoria Station which is the departure point for Gatwick Airport. For this comparison: Time: 0 minutes. Cost: £0.
Arrival before departure: Time: 45 minutes.
Eurostar from London to Paris: Choosing the lowest fare from the Eurostar website, departing on November 6th: Time: 2 hours 15 minutes Cost: £50
Getting to Paris city centre: The train arrives at Gare du Nord in Paris. Time: 0 minutes. Cost: £0
Total cost in time and money: 3 hours, £50
Option 2: Fly Easyjet from London to Paris
Departure point: Discount airlines fly out of Gatwick airport which is 45km (28 miles) south of London. You have two main options to get there:
- The Gatwick Express rail service from Victoria Station in London. Time: 30 minutes. Cost: £20.
- National Express runs a coach service from Victoria Coach Station. Time: 1 hour 20 minutes. Cost: £10.
Arrival before departure: According to the Gatwick website: Time: Minimum of 1 hour
Fly from London to Paris: Checking Skyscanner today to fly on the 6th of November: Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes. Cost £40
Time to get out of airport: Time: 30 minutes
Getting to Paris city centre: The Paris subway goes between Charles de Gaulle Airport and central Paris. Time: 1 hour Cost: £8
Total cost in time and money: Fastest: 4 hours 15 minutes, cost £68 Slower: 5 hours 5 minutes, cost £58
Based on the dates of travel above, it takes less time and money to go from London to Paris by Eurostar travel.
And it's more comfortable.
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Eurostar as I traveled from London to Paris but the numbers don't lie. The information above was all confirmed by the relevant sites at time of writing.
Eurostar operates up to 18 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris with return fares from £69. Fastest London-Paris journey time is 2hr 15 minutes. Tickets are available from eurostar.com or 08432 186 186.