Pros And Cons Of Air Travel Within Europe
If you are traveling to Europe and want to visit as many places as possible, air travel within Europe is generally fast, inexpensive and reliable. In recent years, several low cost carriers have emerged, offering service to and within all parts of the continent. If you are flying from the UK, RyanAir, EasyJet and British Midland between them offer service to anywhere you might want to go, although there are also other low cost carriers based in other countries with hubs in other European cities.
Buying A Pass
Many budget European airlines make it easy to economize by offering passes for air travel. These typically offer a specific number of flights within a certain length of time, and some allow your flights to be open, offering further flexibility. Check the restrictions on these passes carefully, for blackout dates, advance purchase requirements and other restrictions. However, if you intend to take several flights, buying a pass is often a lot less expensive, although comparing the different passes and prices can be time consuming.
Read The Fine Print
If you buy a ticket on a budget airline within Europe, make sure you understand the rules regarding making changes to your ticket. The rules are often restrictive allowing no change, or with a hefty penalty for changing your itinerary. Budget airlines often have a fast turnaround time on the ground, meaning that it is essential to check in on time. Because they are charging less for the tickets, many smaller European airlines have either cut back on amenities and extras, or will charge you more for such things as food and drinks, a checked bag or a pre-reserved seat. Some budget airlines also fly into smaller airports, which may be some distance from the city that you are visiting.
Air Travel Within Europe vs Train Travel
Although air travel within Europe is easy and affordable, the short distances between most European destinations mean that going by train can sometimes be a better option. London to Paris, for example is a two hour train journey, while Brussels to Amsterdam is also around two hours. If you have the time to enjoy them, some rail journeys are worth taking in order to enjoy the spectacular scenery, including Bergen to Oslo in Norway, and through the Swiss Alps. Just like air travel, there are a series of passes that can be purchased, and it pays to do some research, comparing the costs and logistics of both air and rail travel. In general, if you are just visiting one country or a small area, going by train may be the better option; if your destinations are spread out, flying is more practical.