Sky-high rail fares mean people travelling across the country face having to pay up to 239 per cent more for a return trip by train compared to flying.
The cheapest return journey between Bournemouth and Edinburgh by plane is just £38 versus the cheapest rail return of £127, according to research by Which?
And the gap is set to get bigger with a cut in air passenger duty from April 1, which will halve from £13 to £6.50 per passenger.
The consumer champion said the rise of these cheap flights, encouraged by the Government, is fuelling greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, which appears to be at odds with net zero promises.
Travelling by plane involves average CO2 emissions per passenger which are around 118 per cent more than using the train.
Sky-high rail fares mean people travelling across the country face having to pay up to 239 per cent more for a return trip by train compared to flying (file photo)
At the end of the 1970s, British Rail launched a famous marketing campaign for its InterCity services with the slogan ‘Let the train take the strain’. However cash-strapped Britons would now be better off – at least financially – to ‘Let the plane take the strain’.
Experts at Which? carried out research to find the cheapest available options for travelling by train and plane over the Easter break on ten UK routes.
Just three were cheaper by train. The return flights on the Bournemouth to Edinburgh route were £38 versus £127 on the train. However, the CO2 emissions of taking the cheap flight are 131 per cent higher at an average of 218kg CO2 per person.
The cheapest round trip between London and Edinburgh by rail was 75 per cent more than the cheapest flights – at £90 versus £51.
Similarly, travel between London and Glasgow was 50 per cent more by train – at £101 versus £67.
The figure on the Manchester to Newquay route was 43 per cent more by train at £221 versus £154.
But Which? found it was 39 per cent cheaper to make a round trip between Newcastle and Southampton via train – at £107 versus £175. However, the return rail journey would take over 11 hours – more than four times the duration by plane.
The Edinburgh to Newquay route was 13 per cent cheaper by train, but would take more than seven times longer to complete with a total return journey time of 22 hours and 2 minutes.
Which? said the rise of these cheap flights, encouraged by the Government, is fuelling greenhouse gas emissions and climate change (file photo)
Which? said the Government’s cut in air passenger duty is likely to lead to an uptick in UK emissions because it will encourage people to fly rather than use the train.
Which? travel editor Rory Boland said: ‘As travellers become increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their journeys, many face a difficult trade off between the price of their ticket and the cost to the planet.
‘For those who prefer to travel by train, there are steps you can take to cut costs.
‘Take the time to compare dates and times to see if cheaper fares are available, and look into what railcards you might be eligible for, as these can save you up to a third of the ticket price.’