Plane or Train?18/11/2011

I really wonder if taking a flight in preference to a train is really a good choice? It might save some time but certainly not the hassles involved.  For one thing, you leave home atleast two hours in advance taking  traffic snarls  into consideration, hang around  in the airport after the baggage check and collecting your boarding pass, eagerly wait for the announcement for the flight departure  which most often sounds like a jumble of words  for you to  comprehend. Suddenly you notice people rushing towards  a particular entrance Gate with their hand baggage and you blindly follow suit and join the queue. It comes as a relief that the flight takes off  on time and  lands within less than  an hour. You alight feeling  fresh as a flower.

Then the real  journey begins once you get into a cab  to reach the place you wish.  The forty kilometer distance is covered in  double the time taken by  your flight, the drive involving many twists and turns on bad roads   not to speak of the peak hour traffic and  bottle necks you face.  At the end of it all  you find yourself  completely exhausted!

On the other hand  you might spend a dozen more hours traveling by  train instead of a plane, have a sense of relief when  the locomotive chugs  in to the station on time and find yourself  reaching  your destination by an auto   within a quarter of an hour minus the exhaustion. If you are lucky you can also enjoy the good company of your co passengers besides having a feel of the real India.


n.meera raghavendra rao


7 thoughts on “Plane or Train?18/11/2011

  1. Prof. V.N.K.Kumar

    You are spot on. Air travel is not worth it, specially when you purchase the air ticket out of your own income or savings. If you are a person of leisure, you could travel by 2 AC or even 1 AC in train and still it will be cheaper than air travel and you can work on your laptop for a protracted period and accomplish something.

    But most of the people who travel by air are senior executives or even MD/chairmen of MNCs and their tickets are booked by their secretaries and treated as company expense. Air travel is treated as an entitlement by them, a status-symbol and being asked to travel by train is seen as infra dig though it might be much more comfortable.

    Even if such VIPs save some time by air travel, they would not be doing any earth-shaking improvements to the bottom-line of their companies in the time saved. They feel they can hobnob with VIPs of other companies in the special VIP lounges at airports to plan their own futuristic career progression. With the advent of internet and video conferences the frequency of air travel is much reduced.

    But what you say is cent percent correct. Your observations are also my observations.

  2. V Raghavan

    Most of what you say is true. I am just back from a trip to Bangalore. My experience is recounted below.

    Friday morning 5.20: leave for Central. 5.40: arrive at the station. Shatabdi pulls out at 6.00 am dot-on. In spite of several track repairs and slow-downs, the train reaches Bangalore on time. Return on Sunday afternoon. With a free track, the Shatabdi hurtles down to Central, 20 minutes before time, with a running time of 4 hr 25 min. Tea at 5 pm, with a samosa, sandwich, roasted cashew and tea/coffee. Soup and breadsticks at 6.30 pm. Dinner at 7.30 pm, Pulav rice, three plain parotas, two subjis, dahi, gulab jamun, salad, cut fruits. The fare while returning is slightly higher higher at Rs 1105 for excutive class. With a 40% discount for seniors, it works out to Rs, 685. For overnight journeys, I prefer I class AC (no side berths here). The senior discount applies here as well. Why would any Senior travel by air?

    In addition to jams on the airport road in Chennai, the nice airport road in Bangalore is also jammed now, due to the building of an elevated highway along this road!

    It is true that advance booking is needed for trains (about 20 days for Shatabdi). However, the railways have now introduced customer-friendly cancellation rules. A nominal fee up to more than 24 hrs. Between 24 and 4 hr, 25 %. For less than 4 hr and up to several hours after the departure of the train, 50 %. If you cannot decide on a single date, do two reservations and cancel one of them in time! On-line booking is best,with the cancellation refund is credited to your account in two days. An ordinary Debit Card can be used.

  3. sundera

    Meera I agree with you Train journey is much more comfortable then journey by flight.One thing is if you are travelling by the low cost flights there is very little leg space between the seats.Meera left to me I always like totravel by train Ido agree with Mr.Raghavan.Ihave travelled by Shatapdhi to Bangalore.What a comfortable journey it was.With delicious break fast and excellent coffee.

  4. T.S.Manohar

    MAAM, I have always enjoyed the train journey particularly when you travel in a/c coach. If one is a lover of books then train travel is ideal. The leisure and comfort cannot be better said. With the hassles of check-ins, security
    checks, boarding queues, awaiting for luggage at the destination,etc., air travel has become cumbersome particularly for short distances.

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