Talk:Rail air alliances

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rail-air alliances[edit]

Swept in from the pub

As Andrewssi2 and I have discussed here, we both think it would be nice to have an article dealing with air-rail alliances (or the other way round, as this isn't really a fixed term we can choose to follow or differ from WP's nomenclature). However I am only minimally knowledgeable about rail&fly and know nothing whatsoever about any of the other offers, so (unless you disagree) I would suggest to write an article about rail&fly under the rail-air-alliance headline and hope that people on this very wiki will be able to fill in the situation in other countries (I have gotten the impression that WP might be outdated on this topic and it certainly isn't very useful to the average traveller)Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:44, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

I just went ahead and created an article on the subject. As of now it s very Germany-centric. If some or any of you have ever used the similar services in other countries, I would like you to contribute. Best wishes and a happy 2015Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:23, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

Thank you for creating this article, this is indeed a topic we need to cover. That said, we should approach it from the traveller's point of view, not encyclopedically as WP does. What is important to the traveller is that they can start / continue their journey at a train station.

Do also note that this extends beyond railways - e.g. AirFrance/KLM (and SkyTeam partners, including Delta) offer transfers between Ottawa and Dorval with a dedicated bus shuttle (code for Ottawa Central Station is XDS), while Lufthansa operates the connection between Strasbourg and Frankfurt with bus shuttles as well (the IATA code is XER for Strasbourg Bus Station).

I believe we should approach the topic as consisting of three phenomena:

  1. Stations (both rail and bus) bookable as destinations or origins, with flight stretches operated by different means of transportation than aircraft. We shall explain the quirks, caveats and benefits. A list of bookable stations with notes on airlines offering them as origins/destinations and airports they connect to would be most useful.
  2. Airlines and railways offering discounted tickets separately, not as a part of airline ticket (e.g. Rail & Fly in Germany)
  3. City luggage drop-off facilities (discussing ALL airport transit links is not very valuable, they are discussed in individual airport articles)

Based on that, I would rework the lead to explain how the article can be useful to travellers. And perhaps we may need to rename it, and finally make sure it is worked from everywhere relevant.

What do you think? PrinceGloria (talk) 18:00, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Sure. I also think that as of now this article is to Germany-centric and we don't address problems (notable with rail&fly: neither the airline nor the railway company are responsible for missed train/flight connections). What would you have in mind? something along the lines "bus and railway cooperations with airlines"? also some airlines (if I recall correctly they are air-berlin and Lufthansa) offer train tickets as a replacement for (short-haul) flights if they are canceled, meaning better service for travellers in the event of strike, volcanic ash-clouds or severe weather. the rail&fly programm is available from/to all German airports with regular international flights and from/to all German train stations with a regular official connection in revenue passenger service from/to the Deutsche Bahn network, I think this is more or less clear from the article already. WP claims there to be similar schemes in France, Portugal (long distance only) or Taiwan (HSR only)Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:09, 2 January 2015 (UTC)
I have found a LOT Polish Airlines instruction procedure for travel agents for booking the Rail & Fly tickets. I believe the only safe way to book this with anybody else than Lufthansa or Germanwings is to book it via a travel agent. That said, at EUR 25 one way it is not that much a bargain to me (I paid the same from ZWS to FRA just booking an ICE with DB, and due to some promo offer I ended up in first class).
Do we know of any such arrangements in other countries? I admit I've only heard of it in Germany, I usually travel by rail from airports if available and I must have missed other opportunities like that, as I usually just book my rail tickets directly with the rail operator (or just at the station if no reservations are required). PrinceGloria (talk) 00:05, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
One of the arab airlines (I think it was Emirates) offers rail&fly for free, and it depends very much on when you book whether the 29€(second class) or 39€ (first class) super low fares are actually available in Germany, whereas rail&fly has the same rate with the airline you book regardless of the point in time you do it and if you miss the specific train you wanted to go in your ticket is still valid on other trains. According to the WP article on the same subject similar systems are in place in many places around the world, but rail&fly appears to be the most popular. There are several websites that offer resources for booking rail&fly and some travel search sites (though notably not expedia) support the QYG-code. I discussed this topic on the talk page of the rail travel article already. I have heard (though I don't know specifics) that some Amtrak stations in the US also have IATA codes and if you search for "flights" between Boston and New York or Washington and New York, the Acela express will actually show up in some booking sites. whether that means some airline codeshares with Amtrak or anything of the kind I again frankly don't know. I do think this kind of thing is a growing market, with rising prices for almost everything related to aviation and ever-expanding high-speed-rail networks (even the USA are seriously considering true HSR on newly built lines, for crying out loud!). As I think I have mentioned: I no next to nothing about rail-air cooperation outside of German rail&fly Hobbitschuster (talk) 01:20, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Before I forget it here is the discussion I had at another place with another user concerning the same subject https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Talk:Tips_for_rail_travel#rail_air_alliances I do not know much about programming, but maybe this discussion could be moved here or something? I would also welcome further input from said user into the discussion.

Best wishes and kind regards Hobbitschuster (talk) 01:50, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

I haven't heard of any similar program in the US. One of the main problems is that airports and railways don't usually connect. Only a handful even connect to light rail or subways. I believe that Washington DC (National, at least) connects to the local subway. Boston puts you on a bus to the local subway system. Even in a historically rail-oriented city like Chicago, you would fly to Chicago (ORD), get on a bus to the train station, and then get on a train. In San Francisco, which might be one of the most rail-friendly options, you fly into the airport, and either take one of several buses to either Caltrain or Amtrak or you take BART (subway) out. I believe that Baltimore has a similar arrangement.
In short, if there's not much said about the US options, it's because there isn't much to say. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:45, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

Where to take this article[edit]

I suggest the following:

  1. focus on rail connections that are non-trivial distances from the airport (e.g. more than 50 km or longer than an S-Bahn would travel in Germany, or people without money to burn would feel comfortable taking a taxi in industrialized countries)
  2. mention bus connections as an exception rather than the rule
  3. try for a geographic rather than thematic hierarchy. imho most travellers don't want to read about buses to Abu Dhabi if they want to go to Zweibrücken or some place in Taiwan
  4. provide information on how to book through 21st century means (the reader will most probably already be on the internet, if there is a way to find those tickets online, we should provide it)
  5. See WP https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air-rail_alliance and try to verify and include the information there. The article doesn't seem to have been edited by anyone but me in a long time sadly

I welcome discussion! best wishesHobbitschuster (talk) 01:41, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

I kinda disagree. In terms of geography, we should cover this in appropriate local guides. Why would somebody looking for Zweibrücken have to go here to find ways how to get there. They should be advised in the local guide. Same for countrywide solutions - the guide to Germany should mention rail&fly as an option, same for other countries offering that.
Why I believe we need to cover this topic is that it has specifics that are in common for all those solutions that would be redundant to discuss in every destination guide - much like we do not explain how air travel works everytime "Get in" can be done "By plane", but rather have a series of articles on Flying we can refer the readers unfamiliar with the concepts too. Same here for specifics of booking and using rail/bus-fly solutions and city drop-offs. Rail&fly section/passage in Germany should refer here for advice on how to book and use those.
I do not think we need to think of buses in terms of exceptions or not - they work the same way, there is no reason to discuss whether they are more or less popular. They are there and that's all the traveller needs to know - some journeys take place by rail, some by bus, they work more or less the same, but because buses tend to be dedicated, there are no "bus&fly" solutions thus far (that I know of, at least). PrinceGloria (talk) 07:55, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
PS. This article should not be a WV version of the WP article. It actually should be very different, because we have a different perspective here. The geographical split may be good in order to make a list for WP, which is very WP, but here we talk about how to use it, not where to find it, the latter is just anecdotal to give examples.
I did not in any way shape or form say, that we should copy the WP article, rather I said, we could look there for more information. Btw. WP doesn't separate geographically but rather thematically. If you look at other transportation travel topics at this site (Cycling, or rail travel come to mind) they usually separate geographically rather than thematically as well. best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:47, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

France and Portugal[edit]

I have neither even been to either country (discounting an airport layover at CDG), so I don't know more than this http://www.corsair.fr/flight/services/corsairs-services/Services/tgv-air and this link say: https://www.tapvictoria.com/en/VictoriaNews/2149/RailFlyPortugal/Det I hope that someone who knows a little more about those services (or speaks either language and is willing to do some research) could fill in the - as of now - blank sections in the article. I think the programs are to dissimilar to enable us to say anything non-trivial about them in general and providing short concise information on at least the major national options seems imho the way to go. If you disagree, I would gladly hear why. Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:58, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

I have covered Rail&Fly Portugal meanwhile, it's quite simple but hardly practical - you still need to get from the station to the airport, which requires buying a separate ticket or a taxi ride, and the long-distance station is close to the airport in Lisbon only.
TGVAir is basically SNCF's name for booking extra "flight stretches" between CDG and selected TGV stations on a single ticket. This is only available as a part of a complete flight ticket, you cannot buy it separately or travel anywhere but the selected destination as with Rail&Fly. I need to update the description to match this, as by now more airlines have joined the scheme.
We need to sort out the AIRail thing - I believe it is just a brand name for something like TGVAir, i.e. the Lufthansa "flights" out of/towards the FRA Fernbahnhof.
I think we also should look into opportunities regarding Brussels Airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, I believe there are some (Rotterdam, and I think also Antwerp, have IATA codes for railway stations, and I think the entirety of Thalys might be bookable as an airline flight). Eurostar used to be bookable just like an airline flight, we should look into it as well.
On balance, I think we should start moving country- and destination-specific content to particular local articles rather than making this article a trivia dump (to which I freely admit). PrinceGloria (talk) 21:40, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Well it is always hard to find a balance, but as I haven't found this information anywhere on WV I started out erring on the side of including maybe unnecessary stuff. If WP is to be trusted Taiwan's flag carrier offers a system comparable to the French system. The AIRail is kind of a strange case as it originated from the "Lufthansa airport express" way back when, that actually consisted of Lufthansa operated trains that were only bookable through Lufthansa and were closed to the general railway customer public. As the trains Lufthansa used for that got too old, the system was replaced by AIRail. If I interpret my sources correctly there are also several trains out of Brussels that are codeshared "flights" to/from ParisHobbitschuster (talk) 21:53, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Yup, Brussels/Midi is a part of TGVAir alongside some French cities. And I do consider the Donald-Duck trains a heartwarming part of air and rail history, but I guess discussing those belongs firmly in Wikipedia. BTW, is travel on ICEs from FRA available for booking from any other airline than Lufthansa? Can you interline with other Star Alliance partners or at least Swiss and Austrian? Finally, can you book anywhere beyond Stuttgart and Duesseldorf, respectively?
I also faintly remember there were Lufthansa buses from Munich Airport to Ingolstadt - maybe there are still some lesser-known Lufthansa-branded bus connections beyond Strasbourg? PrinceGloria (talk) 21:58, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Well Swiss at least offers this http://www.swiss.com/corporate/en/company/partners-alliances/airtrain-basel-zurich albeit not in Germany. I think there is hardly a "normal" (i.e. not no-frills or charter, but even some of them do) airline that flies a non-trivial number of flights to/from Germany that doesn't offer rail&fly but as for trains out of FRA being branded anything but Lufthansa "flights" phew... I do not have any clue, honestly. There are some buses to/from "Frankfurt" Hahn to the actual city, but as far as I know the traveller has to buy the ticket for them separately, as being "cheap" and out of the way is kind of the whole thing about Hahn. as the website on AIRail says, they have expanded the Lufthansa AIRail system beyond the initial few stations, but honestly I don't really know why it exists as a distinct system from rail&fly at all. I think we should also get into or at least touch upon the phenomenon of "good fro train" agreements that are or seem to be in place between Lufthansa and Air Berlin and Deutsche Bahn respectively, enabling you to take the train if your flight had to be canceled due to strike volcanic ash or whatnotHobbitschuster (talk) 22:37, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Ah well lest I forget it: (I don't care much about bonus miles, but some do) AIRail seems to give you a certain amount of Bonus-miles whereas rail&fly usually doesn't. I have read on some frequent flyer forum(s?) that they bought a AIRail ticket just for the miles although they had no intention of boarding any train anywhere and instead directly flew out of FRAHobbitschuster (talk) 22:40, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
HA HA, Lufthansa dirty secrets finally exposed: http://www.lufthansa.com/de/de/Lufthansa-Airport-Bus
Interestingly, the Bahrain-Dammam SABTCO bus is actually used by many other airlines, even those who serve Dammam as well (it is by now a pretty well-served airport). And the code for Saarbrucken (SDA) used to be the Saddam Hussein Airport in Baghdad (now known as BGW), so any booking confusion could be a great idea for a book or a film :D
I have added the SWISS Airtrain to Basel earlier today on the basis that I believe this info should slowly migrate to destination articles. We should give it a honourable mention though once we move the other destination-specific contents to their destinations.
With regard to AIRail, I still believe this is only a brand name for Lufthansa's flight numbers LH 36xx/37xx, we should cover it as such. It would be good to check if you can actually board the train at any intermediate ICE station, e.g. in Siegburg/Bonn. And yes, we need to cover "good for train" arrangements in detail, as those are very important to travellers in distress.
But miles are a different matter - the situation varies and it is rather important to cover this, especially for destinations where you get both air and ground options. I do collect miles and mind them, and this is the reason I don't do LH anymore, Miles&More is awful for anybody not flying Business Class to New York every other week. I got a EUR39 Samsonite backpack (whose zip immediately broke) for 3 years' worth of flying, and now 4 months on airberlin already earned me a truly entirely free (taxes and charges included) roundtrip to Reykjavik. At any rate - I DO MIND MY MILES, and especially if the flight stretch counts as such. We.PrinceGloria (talk) 22:58, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

links/moving content[edit]

The issue as to the scope of this article and which part(s) might be better suited elsewhere has now arisen several times. I think we should at least mention rail&fly in the Frankfurt airport article, as well as the "get in" section of "Germany" and maybe move some (though by no means all) of the information into regional or country articles. I do think however that having information here AND elsewhere doesn't do too much harm, as WV has to be usable offline and linking to too many other articles on the same topic might prove counter-productiveHobbitschuster (talk) 00:11, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Usable?[edit]

What would be needed to declare this article to be "usable"? Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:50, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

I haven't actually tried to use it, but it looks pretty good to me. I think I could use it to figure out whether I wanted to try this in most of the listed countries. I wouldn't expect a general article like this to provide details about exact routes and schedules, but it links out to the appropriate primary sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:48, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
As this is the only response I have gotten in over a month, I hope nobody will be offended if I declare the article "usable". If somebody disagrees, absolutely raise the issue here or at my talk page! Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:49, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

[edit]

My proposal would be a banner based on an image of a plane in train design or vice versa.

This would be an image a banner could imho be made from

Hobbitschuster (talk) 10:42, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

Unfortunately that image is only 1600 pixels wide. We would need one of at least 1800 pixels. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:06, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
OK I played around and made it 1800 pixel in width, and I think the result looks acceptable. Still I would suggest other banners be considered, and even (shock, horror) breaking our unofficial policy against montages. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:44, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't see any good rationale for that breaking the montage policy, which is not unofficial, incidentally. Texugo (talk) 22:48, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
The policy against montages is important instrument for ensuring quality in articles. I just feel in this example where we have a concept that can not be easily encapsulated in a single image (a plane and a train) then a montage may be more appropriate. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:54, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
There also seem to be no quality images of a plane being carried by a train, which would have been my second choice. I am fine with a montage, as long as you are. Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:00, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
In addition to what I said above: I just saw the new banner and think its okay, at least for now. Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:01, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it was just open thinking. I'm OK to stick with the current (non-montaged) banner. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:02, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

Name of article[edit]

I notice that there are some 'Rail bus' services being listed here. Whilst the service is comparable to a Rail alliance, I'm wondering if this article's name should be changed to accomadate, or a separate article for buses be created? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:05, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

We may change the title of the article, but it should still be somewhat "catchy". As of now, I don't think there is enough content to split it into two separate articles. Furthermore, we should consider the SEO implications of such a move, as right now this article here is among the top results on google if you search for rail air alliances and calling it something else might negatively affect that. Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:36, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

apparently some people hate the concept or even thought of this[edit]

So I don't know whether this is just some trolls on the payroll of a low service airline, but this article insinuates rail air alliances are the worst thing since baggage fees... though about half the comments vehemently disagree... Hobbitschuster (talk) 09:27, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

I don't think the Rail-Air alliance concept is hated, just the fact that it is being used to mislead the consumer about the actual flying destination (i.e. you are flying Dublin->Zurich and then train to Basel when you thought you were buying a direct flight ticket to Basel) --Andrewssi2 (talk) 10:31, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
I am sorry, but which booking system does not clearly indicate intermediate stops? Especially those where you have to exit the plane? Nowadays most even indicate who operates a flight in case of code - sharing. And judging by the comments, in this case the airline clearly indicates what's up. Besides; EAP is not really close to Basel - as opposed to its train station. .. —The preceding comment was added by Hobbitschuster (talkcontribs) 14:42, 2 December 2015‎
I would not be surprised to find similar complaints about Amtrak in the U.S., as some "train rides" happen on a bus. But it's easy enough to see which routes are by rail and which are by bus. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:23, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
For my part, I haven't actually tried using the system in question, therefore I will not pass judgement on whether it is misleading or now. What I suspect is that a company may advertize a good plane ticket offer between two destinations and then the consumer gets annoyed that there is an additional rail journey involved when they go and book it. You could say all advertizing is like this I guess. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 20:05, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Spain[edit]

Sorry for providing a link in Spanish, but if I read this correctly, RENFE and Iberia offer a combined rail+train trip where the price of the train seems to be included in the fare. If someone could verify this (maybe at the Iberia website) and the conditions of the offer it might make a good addition to the page. EDIT: So A bit of googling got me this (also Spanish language) link - apparently this thing exists but is limited to only a couple of connections, making it more akin to German AIRail than to German rail&fly. Hobbitschuster (talk) 00:53, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Austria[edit]

So since this article was last edited with regards to Austria, some things changed. AIRail still exists, but in addition to that ÖBB now also offers rail&fly which is broadly similar but subtly different from its German counterpart. Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:29, 15 April 2017 (UTC)

No understand section[edit]

Should there be one? Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:59, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Lufthansa expands its air rail alliance[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Good news everyone!

Have a look Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:47, 24 November 2018 (UTC)

IATA codes[edit]

Rail and bus station codes are not listed on IATA website database. Is there an official reliable source to check codes used in this article? I am having issues confirming some of them. --Traveler100 (talk) 12:46, 20 October 2019 (UTC)