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France Moves to Ban Short-Haul Domestic Flights

French lawmakers have moved to ban short-haul internal flights where train alternatives exist, in a bid to reduce carbon emissions. ( More...

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chugheset 15
I recently flew from Washington (IAD) to Stuttgart via Frankfurt on LH. The FRA to Stuttgart segment was booked as an airline segment but was actually fulfilled by Deutsche Bahn (German Rail). Although the ticket showed a LH "flight" number we transferred to the rail-side terminal at FRA airport.

There were Lufthansa flight attendants in our car and served us a snack and beverages. All in all it took us less time then waiting for another flight and dealing with security, etc. As we all know, DB is ALWAYS on-time.

With that said, I don’t think the government should mandate this policy using a “stick” but rather incentivize carriers and/or passengers with a “carrot”.
And LH to and from Strasbourg has long been a very comfortable bus ride. Also on time.
mbrews 1
Good point. There are plane-to-train bookings at United's Newark hub (EWR). Involves the Airport's monorail shuttle to Amtrack's Newark Airport train station.

Can connect south to Amtrack's Philadelphia 30th St Station. Going North, can travel on Amtrack to New Haven, Connecticut. Train segments are booked as United flight numbers & you earn miles.
David Teague 26
After reading some of the comments on this forum I am horrified that there are so many aggressive self appointed "experts" out there. What purpose is to be gained by labelling a person an "Idiot" or "stupid" for just expressing his/her opinion?
Scott Sample 7
Yes, it's unfortunate that people immediately are prone to use derogatory terms for people who do not agree with them. It's not about a "liberal" education, by the way, as one person just put it - I think it's more about the ability of people to express opinions hiding behind a keyboard/screen thanks to modern technology.
ChrisRisley 2
You are correct, I should not have used “liberal”. I should have used “progressive public”. Thank you for calling out my error.
mariofer 23
Welcome to the our new self serving society. We have the right to our opinions and demand acceptance but refuse to hear or accept anyone else.
Gary Bain 3
Sign of the times David. Civility is dead thanks to social media.
ChrisRisley 1
The same purpose as canceling. We are a nation of the feral. To blame? Look at where formerly young people spent their time, liberal education and broken families. The problem is far worse than trains in France.
I lived and worked in France for years. Both flew and took the train. Here's a comparison for a short hop domestic trip, Paris city center to Nice city center, flying versus the TGV high speed train:

1) short trip to the train station in the city
2) Walk through the station and hop on the train (down to a few seconds before departure) with your luggage.
3) 5 hour train trip (TGV delays are extremely rare)
4) Step off the train in city center with your luggage

1) Longer trip to either Paris airport; both are well out of town
2) Check in and security, allowing enough time for frequent security delays
3) Wait to board
4) Boarding process
5) 1 hour flying time (not including any traffic delays for takeoff and landing)
6) De-plane
7) If checked baggage, wait for it
8) Transportation to city center.

It was an easy decision for me.
Alan Dahl 2
Right but the crossover point in my opinion is if you are connecting and need to change train stations in Paris, then the airplane starts to make a lot more sense.
patrick baker 34
this is sensible because france and europe in particular, has an effective, extensive, reliable rail system that includes high speed rail.
Comfortable seating, faster entry into the train rather than going fhrough airport check-ins, terminals in suburbs and city centers, cab and bus systems in place to speed travelers to destinations. Only a person who has never traveled on european trains would give a negative remark to this initiative from french lawmakers interested in reducing carbon emissions. Short distances- those equal to short haul airline flights are bound to be more pleasant, less stress origin-to - destination, cheaper, and better for our planet. Taking time to enjoy the trip is better for the psyche as well, especially for those of us who understand the science of emissions and global warming.
aurodoc 15
I travel by train in Europe often. Whether you are reducing carbon footprint or not, for many routes the train is just easier and faster. Munich to Berlin or Vienna is a little over an hour flight but add on the journey to and from the airport plus getting there 90 minutes early it is the same as the 4 hour train ride in time. It just is more convenient for certain distances to go by train if you have the infrastructure for high speed rail. I am not sure a mandate will be successful.
I did a trip to London, and had a blast on the 'tube'. Passengers can get all over London, and some of the surrounding countryside via the tube, and its many links to their extensive light rail system.

You can hop on the tube, and pop out in France, and make connections to just about any place in Europe through the train stations and ferry systems. For a quick jaunt to Paris, it seems so wasteful to fly for many in London, although that's probably changed since Brexit, sadly...
Tom Bruce 8
Europe has a tradition of train travel... except for a few areas in the USA..we do not... and, AMTRC is not very efficient or, in many cases, easy to use.... a lot to overcome to make it work here... California trying to build "bullet train" between SFO and LAX... original eat. $28 billion... now over $90 billion and they're spending billions on a section from garden spots..Bakersfield to Madera... waste waste waste
Charles Ball 5
Yeah, if I wanted to go to somewhere like Kalispell, MT (Yes, the train does stop there) from where I live in Wichita Falls, TX), I would have to drive to Dallas, TX to get on the train. The train would then go south to San Antonio, then west to Albuquerque, then to Phoenix, AZ, then to Las Angeles, then up the western seaboard to Seattle, then east to Kalispell. In all, the train takes a week, and over $2000 a person. Its faster and cheaper to drive (or fly, if you are so inclined).
aurodoc 2
probably faster to walk. Trains make sense if high speed city center service in a densely populated area like Europe. Or maybe from Merced to Bakersfield. Fools in my state of California spending billions and cannot figure out how to get it to SF and LA. Spend 5 percent of the cost and put a third lane on interstate 5.
jonchamps 1
It’s only a waste until it works when it changes minds.

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Thomas Brown 14
Oh, please stop blaming California graft and corruption on Conservatives. That project has been massively over budget for years, and a tax on Chinese parts won’t make a difference. It’s a slush fund for Democrat paybacks for election support, not a genuine attempt to make a valid rail system.
mbrews 5
The weak apologist about $ 90B Calif "train to nowhere" sounds like it's straight from Rachel Maddow. Gee, what made Rachel mad now. ?

Ever wonder why your posts are so heavily downvoted ? Because most people are interested in facts, not bloviating.
Joe Baylock 1
You have no idea what you are talking about. Just the short section that is under construction (the easy part) is still more than 750 parcels short of a contiguous right of way. They are not last minute property skirmishes. Oh, and the change orders from the Authority already total more than $1.25 billion--those are the overruns only, not the actual costs.
Dubslow 12
I give it a negative remark. I say let the customers choose for themselves. Banning flights will only reduce competition, which will decrease choices and efficiency for passengers, and ultimately runs a serious risk of actually worsening carbon footprint in the longrun due to both reduced economic efficiency and inability of companies to respond to new market pressures (since the restriction is just that: disincentivizing airlines to improve their footprint).

I applaud the goal/purpose/motive, but I fear in the long run it will delay France's ability to go carbon neutral.
jonchamps 5
That’s not really the case in France. By buying up shares to provide liquidity the government has the airline over a barrel land it will be faced with ‘greening’ all aspects of its operations. Airbus too accepted liquidity to ride out the pandemic and agreed to pushing forward with new tech and hydrogen fuel as part of that process. Few governments have ever achieved such positive industry compliance with climate aims. Britain certainly hasn’t and neither has Germany.
Robert Cowling -8
You make no sense.

'Will reduce competition'? How? If there are more passengers, the air carriers add more planes, and way more pollution. The rail carriers add another car for a lot LESS pollution.

'decrease efficiency'? My example that I stated on this thread shows the inefficiency of the air travel system. You can not depend that your flight will leave on time, and get to the destination on time, and for many business people, they either fly private, or fly earlier, or a whole day earlier to avoid the problems with the inefficient air system.

'reduced economic efficiency and the ability to respond to new market pressures'? Sure, adding more planes helps the environment. Adding cars to a train doesn't dump nearly as much pollution into the environment as adding hundreds more RJ's. The regional jet was foremost a way to break the powerful pilot unions, and secondly a massive blow to the environment.

'it will delay France's ability to go carbon neutral'? I just am at a loss for words... Light rail has proven itself as a viable way to combat pollution in cities all over Europe. Subway, and other urban transportation methods have proven themselves capable of handling massive changes in passenger volume, and address pollution levels. The problem is funding. Amtrak is something the GOP has tried to kill for decades. America could, SHOULD, have high speed trains. America SHOULD have light rail linking cities along the coasts at a minimum to help address the pollution from air travel. But maintaining the rail systems we have has not been a priority for those wedded to polluters money, sadly...
Tom Bruce 5 us your bicycle! and your bus ticket!
Greg S 5
This so perfect. I love how you can't wait to put your dunce cap on and take the podium.
Dubslow 2 is one of the worst places to go for a decent discussion of the economics of transportation.

Robert Cowling is absolutely right that trains are generally more efficient than cars or planes, even if he can't fathom that regulations (including the new French regulations) will inhibit the ability of the market to innovate and improve.

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Tom Bruce 7 are hilarious... I fall out of my chair with every comment you make..keep it up... with all that's going on...I need laughs!
Derek Vaughn 2
The pollution from air transport in Europe is not doing what you've been told it is doing.

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Derek Vaughn 1
I sniffed Elmer's school glue just fine, thank you.

Oh and..congrats on the down votes. I crown you king.
strickerje 1
The "reducing competition" claim is because most people aren't flying to get from, say, Bordeaux to Paris, but are taking onward connections. It isn't convenient to replace that segment with rail because it isn't quick or convenient to transfer from the rail station to the airport, so instead, passengers will fly with connections elsewhere (e.g., London or Frankfurt). Ergo, in the end this results in less competition between the same city pairs.
Colin Seftel 1
Passenger rail operators are generally less competitive than airlines. Only one train service can operate between two points at any time, whereas it's possible for two planes to fly the same route at almost the same time. Personally I prefer to use rail for intercity transport in Europe, but it usually costs more than flying.
Multiple operating companies can indeed share the same track (although not concurrently, the same as your two planes). This is done often in the UK and European routes. In the US, Florida's Brightline runs almost 20 trains daily in peaceful coexistance with FEC's freight between Miami and Palm Beach (granted, they are both under the same ownership).
Greg S 2
Arrogant, condescending, authoritarian, and wrong. And for certain you do not understand the "science of emissions and global warming".

In almost every case including this one the best way to accomplish any public goal is to use market forces to achieve that goal.

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Chip Hermes 2
CDG to NCE on Air France is 1h20min minutes. On an SACF train, 7h40min.
Colin Seftel 6
If you read the original article, you would see that "...lawmakers voted in favour of a bill to end routes where the same journey could be made by train in under two-and-a-half hours."
So CDG to NCE is irrelevant.
Also "Connecting flights will not be affected."
Not exactly. Figure in the time and cost of transport from Paris to CDG. Arriving 1 hr. + early. Security check. Waiting for boarding. Boarding (Or, as I like to put it, loading the cattle car. Arrival at NCE, baggage claim, cost and time of getting from NCE to city center. 4 nonstop flights a day by Air France beginning at $89 one way. First flight is at 9:15, last at 21.00. One class of service.

French rail system, Paris to Nice, or CDG to NCE if you airports, 16 trains a day, fare $23.73 basic coach (upgrades available).

Similar fares: Paris to Bordeaux or Strasbourg from $ 1.25; Paris to Marseille from $13.99.

If you have never ridden a European train, you have nothing to compare it to ..... given the chance, having been their and done that .... I'll take the train every time.

I so wish that Biden would include a fast rail system in his infrastructure plan ..... but the other side would probably hate that too.
Chip Hermes 7
The majority of passengers on a flight like CDG-NCE are connecting passengers, not people driving in from Paris.

They also offer ORL-NCE for folks originating in Paris. Those flights are successful because people would prefer an hour on an airplane vs eight on a train.
jonchamps 2
Not on a TGV it doesn’t.
Chip Hermes 6
Indeed that is the TGV time.
bbabis -2
Those who think they know and understand everything are a real PIA to those of us that do.

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ksmith610 -4
Damn, no edit button. Robert, I didn’t mean you,
ChrisRisley 4
In a word. Unions. Go to NYPost and search “LIRR AND MTA overtime”.
I’ve traveled via Eurostar between London, Brussels and Paris. It beats the alphabetical nightmare of LHR, BRU, CDG in spades.
The big problem doing this is so many rail systems are hub and spoke models, where the hub us a city (often full of commuters) you have to cross. So you don't need one vehicle for travel you need at least three.

Much like flying internationally into to JFK then the next flight being outbound from EWR.
Mark Kortum 4
In order to even want to be a "lawmaker" one has to believe that he/she knows what is better for you and me than we know ourselves.
David Teague 7
Definitely a solution for the small densely populated areas of the world who are responsible for most of the pollution and carbon emissions anyway. Then expand this to the transportation of goods and get the long haul trucks off the roads. Rail is the cheapest and most energy efficient means of transport over land.
Mike Mohle 8
Does anyone else think there could be intelligent discussion here, if COWLING was not allowed? Is he even a pilot?
Derek Vaughn 3
Perhaps Calvin Nacelle could pitch in..
Mike Mohle 2
strickerje 1
This forum needs a block feature.
The only things that French politicians do are forbid and ban. Sad country.
Just in case, I’m French.
Mark Gibbs 3
Taking away choice is never good for any economy. Once the train people get their government mandated monopoly, the price will go up and the service will go down.
serge LOTH 5
Well the basic idea is probably honorable, Im not sure that we are not shoot a bullit in our own foot for one reason. Only France voted that. And The European law allowed the "cabotage" between Eur Countries. You may open a line between Paris and Nice or anywhere if you are a EU member Airline. without any traffic rights. That will penalize French Airlines only.Wait for the decision of Brussels commission, and see... Moreover some regions are not very well conectd to the great Railway net in France wich (every one knows ) is still a country well centralised on PAris. UNfortunatly. Trains are globaly efficient this is true. But I wait seeing what will go on when there will be social movements... and no trains ,no minimum services, but thousands of cars on the roads..
A reality , the Greens are grabing more and more the power in Europe... Some times for good reasons ,sometimes for shameful reasons...
Alan Dahl 2
As long as there is frequent service from the CDG TGV terminal to these cities I think this is fine. If it means having to take the RER to Gare du Nord and and transferring from there to the Gare de Lyon or whatever station on the metro then that is an entirely different conversation. IMHO anything slower than flying (judging by city center to city center) isn't equivalent.
Marc Cabi 3
What happens when I fly in from international cities to connect to these cities. How do you serve that traveler. I am certain this could hurt tourism for them. Or it would require I connect through another airline hub out of Germany for instance.
Colin Seftel 2
Suppose you needed to connect from Paris CDG to Nice. There is a direct train departing from CDG Roissy and arriving at Lyon Part Dieu. Services depart hourly, and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 2h.
Colin Seftel 2
Corection, that was meant to be CDG to Lyon.
Mike Mohle 5
More stupidity under the guise of reducing "Carbon Footprints".

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Tom Bruce 11
Robert..I'm happy to hear that you no longer fly on carbon belching airplanes and that you have driven your auto to a dismantler and witnessed it's destruction... and only ride electric buses, or bicycles... I admire the way you stand up for what you believe... The smog in this country is hundreds of times better than when I grew up in the 1950s.. smog days in LA? not even close to the past... the world? yep...gonna crash because there are 8 billion of us eating, breathing, and, well, you know... our oil use? part of but not the biggest problem

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linbb 3
Well see that am sure you dont cause any carbon foot print in your life as that would require a different take on things. All around you are things like plastics, going on vacation without carbon products, your day to day life and the job you go to. Oh yes on an adult level discussion? Doubt it.
strickerje 1
The smog you describe isn't caused by carbon; it's caused by particulate emissions, which are primarily from industrial process, not transportation. The references to the days of visible air pollution in discussions of carbon emissions is just a scare tactic with no basis in reality.
Tom Bruce 3
no good train service here... tho they might try it on the Wash DC NY to Boston trains... watch the ecos squirm at that!

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Dubslow 12
I mean would you rather that stuff be transported on far-more-dangerous roads? Ultimately, all those chemicals are critical for a variety of modern products, and rail is generally the safest way to transport them (air travel being somewhat safer but also much more expensive)
Robert Cowling -6
One company was the sole user of a really toxic chemical that they used to truck miles down the state and county roads. This chemical would kill anything that came into contact with it. It was horrifically toxic. The companny that made it thought that a pipeline would be the 'perfect solution', because they wouldn't have to truck the chemical over the roads and through the towns and villages between the producer and consumer.

Until a lone man raised his hand in a meeting to discuss the possibility if burying another pipeline underground to forget, and pump that horrifically toxic chemical, and asked 'If they are the only user of that chemical, and it's so horrifically toxic to transport, and it's instantly converted into a much less toxic compound as part of the process the consumer uses it for, why not move the production to the consumer, rather than risking a tank truck leak, or a pipeline leak?'

Well, the educated people at the 'big table' looked at each other with shocked looks, and couldn't believe that no one at that table had thought of that before. They were so concerned with moving the chemical that could kill thousands and decimate the rivers and streams in the area, and poison every living thing, they didn't think of the real solution: Move the production! Problem SOLVED!!!

People ship toxic poisons because they are lazy, and callous. There are better ways to deal with the problems of shipping incredibly toxic chemicals. Too simple...
linbb 6
Wow what rock do you live under? I cannot think of a more stupid comment must have your head in the sand for that one. To put those items on roads would be ridiculous for sure look at the number of truck wrecks involving just fuel of one type or another. Those are unless large fires are the result they are never mentioned in national news just local. You are a real piece of work not understanding what and how things are transported.
canuck44 3
As it is turning out, the Climate Change (previously Global Warming)and the relation to CO2 are showing divergent curves with temperature rising as CO2 went down. This is felt to be due to the loss of high level pollution which had been postulated years ago. Now proof i measurable thanks to COVID resulting in clearing of the upper levels and their reflective power.
Now Bill Gates fell we should seed the upper levels with reflective seed. Personally I would recommend just ditching all the eckofreaks.
Robert Cowling -3
The problem with the idea of continuing to make it worse, and profiting from it, is that the global environment is like a huge ocean liner, or for effect, a massive oil tanker. It's steaming at flank speed and more fuel is being tossed in to it to cause CO2 levels to continue rising, and smog to trend worse. What the environmental effects of the various pandemic lock downs conclusively show is that it IS humans that are causing Climate Change, and it IS POSSIBLE to slow it, and reverse it. It really IS possible to slow the destruction of the planet down.

Now, look at the weather this year, so far. Over and over again, the south has been pummeled by severe weather and tornadoes. People have died, and homes and businesses have been destroyed. Climate change has, and will increasingly have, a profound negative effect on the economy and human lives. And we aren't talking just pollution here, we are talking seasonal change, winters producing less snow, widespread drought and then torrential and flooding rains, and more numerous and stronger tornadoes and wind and lightening storms.

We are causing this, and the 'ultra rich are contributing way more than the rest of us, and WE can slow it. If we don't, more people are going to die, and more people are going to lose everything they value in the world, and lose their homes, their employment, their food, water, livelihood.

So, sure, let's kill the canary in the coal mine that is warning us that we are doomed unless we change how we deal with the climate we are poisoning against us. I'd love to be able to hop on light rail and go to other cities in the state I live in. Politicians surgically attached to polluting corporations forbid it.

Get Money Out Of Politics!!! Money is addicting, and politicians are no different than drug addicts! We Deserve Better!
Greg S 12
"...Now, look at the weather this year, so far..."

It's almost impossible that anyone could be this stupid.
WhiteKnight77 4
I love how he chooses a weather phenomenon that has been happening since before man was around. Tornados have been tearing up the South even before I moved further south and dodged a bullet in 93 when a tornado came within a quarter mile of where I lived. That says nothing about the one that cut across Offutt AFB in 70 that cut across the base and tore up the trees and destroyed the guard shack at the back gate from Bellevue.

That EF-5 that cut across 4 counties for 40 miles in Wisconsin must be an outlier if tornados only happen in the South. I am sure my cousins and other kin up there are safe from such storms. :rolleyes:

Blaming such phenomenon on climate change, global warming or any other thing shows how much some people do not understand the weather.
strickerje 1
Yep, isn't it funny how above average temperatures, tornadoes, hurricanes, or fires one year "proves" it, but the opposite is "just weather, not climate"?
linbb -1
I find most of the hype is all about making money, electric cars with short range, wind farms that only work when its blowing, solar only when the sun is out. But none of the down sides of all, battries birth to death isnt any more green than fossle fuel, wind turbine blades have no use or way to get rid of them except underground out of sight, same problems with solar and there waste. Yet India has ship breaking as its called with no enviro safe guards for either workers or the planet.
linbb -3
Oh and one more item, way back the earth was mostly ice which slowly started to melt. So the more soil and rock exposed the more heat would be absorbed. The cycle is repeated every day since then along with the climate always shifting with no way to stop it. I dont know what things will be like 200yrs from now neither does anyone else. But since all of the green eco stuff is driven by money and people many of who have only one goal its going to be quite a ride.

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Tom Bruce 2
awwww...where's Robert... saw there was a new response..hoping it was Robert...I needed a laugh this AM...R're HILARIOUS!! come on now... give us all a laugh!
More power to the government means less power to the people. Sad.
Huck Finn 1
It’s started. This is the end of commercial air travel as we know it unless one is the privileged elite.
It takes big government dollars to build a rapid inter-city rail system like they have in Europe and Asia. We know that nothing gets done in the U.S.A. until fat cats figure out how to enrich themselves with it. So, keep flying and driving.
The French NEVER WERE the BRIGHTEST BULBS ON THE TREE!.. If we would have WANTED the Train, we would be TAKING THE TRAIN.. They never stop showing their STUPIDITY in Europe!~
jonchamps 4
While Europe isn’t gunning its own residents down its doing way more to address its climate and industrial problems than the US ever has. No amount of pontificating will ever show the US does anything long term, it’s all dollar today and screw tomorrow. That’s why the US aid failing on every front going right now. Your own greed and lack of community.
Paul Rold 1
Government working hand in hand with industry to promote a political outcome. It used to be called fascism. How quickly we forget. Remember people this is for your health and safety. Secondly will those in power be taking the train with us or will they be flying in.
Spencer Hoefer -2
Looks like those Greenpeace dudes who spray painted that Air France 777 at CDG finally got their way.
sparkie624 -7
That is a pretty stupid move!

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Greg S 7
You have a child's grasp of economics.

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Third world, your correct with this idiot's open border
linbb 5
Well this post says it all do as I say not as I choose to do. Yup you just sunk all of your posts with this one. And how many were in the car and was it loaded to its capacity? Or didnt your dear wife want to just be another person on the road? Sorry you lost on all your points.
Leo Cotnoir -6
This is absolutely the right move. We need to treat transportation as a system of systems working together. As the U.S. finally develops high speed rail, it should connect airports, not city centers, using to existing infrastructure for the final few miles. Furthermore, the railways, like airways and highways, should be publicly built, owned, and operated with service provided by private companies. And, yes, flights between cities less than, say, 600 miles apart should be banned or heavily taxed.


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