What’s faster? Watch us race from London to Leeds by plane and train

May 6, 2022

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National Train Day is fast approaching in the U.S. and The Points Guy U.K. team has found the perfect way to celebrate. Thanks to the likes of Francis Bourgeois’ viral TikTok videos as well as the environmental benefits that train transport offers, riding a train has never been so popular. To celebrate National Train Day across the pond, The Points Guy U.K. are putting trains and planes to the ultimate test.

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British airline Flybe has recently made its debut back into the world after having been off-grid for the past two years. The re-launched brand has reconnected London Heathrow (LHR) and Leeds Bradford (LBA) as a flight route after British Airways dropped it from their schedule.

In our most recent video, Nicky races Liam from Piccadilly Circus, London to Nicky’s family home in Leeds which is situated halfway between the train station and airport in Leeds. Liam went by train from Kings Cross, London to Leeds and Nicky took the Flybe flight from London Heathrow to Leeds Bradford Airport.

Related: Plane vs. Train: Watch the TPG UK Team Race From London to Paris

The test looked at the value, the ease of getting to the station or the airport, the comfort on board and who could get to their destination the fastest. The key question: is taking the train both more environmentally friendly and quicker?

You can watch the whole experience and find out who won right here on YouTube:

Nicky Kelvin – Plane

I travelled on the Bakerloo line from Piccadilly Circus to Paddington and connected onto the Heathrow Express train to Heathrow’s Terminal 2. I took Flybe flight BE752 on a De Havilland Canada Dash 8 to Leeds Bradford airport scheduled to depart Heathrow at 9.45am. My mum and dog picked me up from the airport to race to the finish line to my family home in North Leeds.

We paid:

  • Flybe Ticket – £54.99
  • Tube and Heathrow Express – £27.50
  • Lift from Mum – Free!
  • Total: £82.49

I loved the speed of the actual flight, which clocked in at 41 minutes and is, in isolation, far quicker than the train. There was a refreshment service onboard providing tea, coffee and biscuits for all passengers which was a lovely touch. The Dash 8 aircraft was small but very comfortable and the views from the sky are unrivalled!

It was not all rosy, however. Delays are not uncommon at Heathrow airport. Even if a flight leaves its stand on time, a busy airfield and associated air traffic and other hold-ups can mean lots of time is lost just taking off.

There are also of course more hurdles to jump through including the check-in, boarding and security processes (although these were all smooth at Heathrow that day). It’s worth noting that some people might not like the smaller and noisier propellor planes used on this route.

Liam Spencer – Train

Liam travelled on the Piccadilly line from Piccadilly Circus to Kings Cross St Pancras to catch the 8.33 am LNER train service from London Kings Cross to Leeds. He then took a taxi to the finish line.

We paid:

  • First Class LNER Train Ticket – £58
  • Tube – £2.50
  • Taxi – £15
  • Total:  £75.50

I found the first class seat on the train to be incredibly comfy with a huge tray table and tons of room to stretch out in. There was also an extensive breakfast and drinks menu that was all included as part of the ticket price. I had poached eggs with smashed avocado which was delicious. The crew serving me were also very friendly. Overall it was an extremely efficient service that got me into Leeds slightly ahead of schedule.

There were a few downsides including the lack of entertainment if you didn’t bring your own and though complimentary WiFi was provided it was not particularly strong and cut out often.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

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