Air beats rail for UK domestic business travellers as soon as the train journey is over three hours despite potential cost savings, according to new research.
Although the three hour 31 minute Manchester to Edinburgh rail route offers an approximate saving of 56%, only one in ten business travellers opt for it over the alternative 55-minute flight.
Despite rail savings per trip ranging from 24% to 37%, the Birmingham-Edinburgh, Glasgow-London and Glasgow-Birmingham routes are not commonly used by business travellers.
Business travellers judge four to five hour journey times to be too long, prompting travellers to book flights instead, the study by Hogg Robinson Group shows.
However, corporate travellers are three times more likely to book rail over air for the two hours 11 minute London-Manchester route, although the flight takes half the time as the train journey.
Rail bookings are also nearly as common as air reservations on the London-Newcastle route, where the train journey is just under three hours – almost three times as long as the corresponding flight.
HRG group commercial director Stewart Harvey said: “We have seen a noticeable trend for clients to accept longer journey times. Travellers do understand that they can get more work done on a train, but actual cost and time savings aren’t always clear.
“For example, a time factor often overlooked when choosing travel arrangements is the distance and time it takes to get from the train station to the city centre or airport.
“Time equals money, so clients must make sure that their travel policies reflect this for the total door-to-door journey, rather than just the air or rail travel time.”
Industry and airfare distribution director Tony Berry added: “We advise clients to always explore their options. Competition between airlines and rail companies on UK domestic routes is constantly evolving and with change comes opportunity for our clients to really benefit.”
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