Train vs plane: Travel experts pit a British Airways flight against a 125mph Avanti West Coast express in a race from Manchester to London – and the footage is fascinating

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:5 min(s) read

  • Avanti whisks people between Manchester and London in just over two hours 
  • So is the plane realistic competition for such a short journey? Find out here…
  • READ MORE: Map shows the most popular landmarks in (almost) every country 

Avanti’s trains whisk passengers between Manchester Piccadilly railway station and London Euston in a little over two hours.

So is the plane realistic competition for such a short journey? Is the inevitable airport faff worth enduring?

Travel experts at The Points Guy (TPG) decided to find out by racing a British Airways aircraft against one of Avanti’s tilting 125mph Pendolinos.

And the footage of the 200-mile race to the UK capital is fascinating.

It begins at Old Trafford, home of the legendary Manchester United football club, and ends at Wembley Stadium – the largest in the UK.

THE TRAIN

Travel experts at The Points Guy (TPG) raced from Manchester to London, pitting an Avanti Pendolino (stock image above) from Manchester Piccadilly against a British Airways plane

Travel experts at The Points Guy (TPG) raced from Manchester to London, pitting an Avanti Pendolino (stock image above) from Manchester Piccadilly against a British Airways plane 

Racing the Avanti Pendolino was Nicky Kelvin, Senior Head of Content at TPG. Above is his train waiting to depart

Racing the Avanti Pendolino was Nicky Kelvin, Senior Head of Content at TPG. Above is his train waiting to depart

Nicky said the train 'was easy and comfortable, with very little faff'

Nicky said the train ‘was easy and comfortable, with very little faff’

Racing the Avanti Pendolino was Nicky Kelvin, Senior Head of Content at TPG, who paid £40 for a standard ticket initially but upgraded to Standard Premium for an extra £25.

What were the upsides?

He told MailOnline Travel: ‘It was very easy to reach Manchester Piccadilly train station using public transport.

‘Manchester has a solid tram network with a station at Old Trafford, with direct trams running to the main train station.

‘The train itself was easy and comfortable with very little faff. Being able to buy an upgrade for £25 is a great bonus.’

Nicky paid £40 for a standard ticket initially but upgraded to Standard Premium for an extra £25

Nicky paid £40 for a standard ticket initially but upgraded to Standard Premium for an extra £25

Food for thought: Nicky availed himself of the onboard Avanti shop

Food for thought: Nicky availed himself of the onboard Avanti shop

Nicky films the view as his train pulls into London Euston

Nicky films the view as his train pulls into London Euston

And what were the downsides?

Nicky said: ‘There were quite a lot of different modes of transport to be taken and stations to be navigated, which is fine if you’re travelling light, but with suitcases or big bags or children in tow it could make it a little less easy.

‘And there are no direct Tube trains from Euston to Wembley – and you have to take the (short) walk to Euston Square to catch one.’

THE PLANE

TPG's race begins amid typically miserable Manchester weather (above, with Ryanair and Tui planes photobombing the scene)

TPG’s race begins amid typically miserable Manchester weather (above, with Ryanair and Tui planes photobombing the scene)

Above is TPG's Liam Spencer in the process of finding out if the plane is worth the hassle for a hop from Manchester to London

Above is TPG’s Liam Spencer in the process of finding out if the plane is worth the hassle for a hop from Manchester to London

‘Team plane’ for this venture was TPG Senior Marketing Manager Liam Spencer, with his economy ticket from Manchester to Heathrow Airport costing £74.

He told MailOnline Travel that there were several plus points to his experience.

He said: ‘Manchester Airport was easy to navigate and I breezed through security to boarding in no time at all.

‘In terms of speed of transportation, the plane can’t be beaten. I landed in London just 40 minutes after leaving Manchester – it was certainly one of the quickest plane journeys I’ve ever taken.’

Liam (above) said: 'In terms of speed of transportation, the plane can't be beaten. I landed in London just 40 minutes after leaving Manchester'

Liam (above) said: ‘In terms of speed of transportation, the plane can’t be beaten. I landed in London just 40 minutes after leaving Manchester’

And the downsides?

He said: ‘Due to a very slow boarding process, my flight ended up taking off 25 minutes after the scheduled departure.

‘It was this delay that ultimately meant I narrowly lost out to the train.

‘And even without passport control, I still had to navigate my way out of Heathrow and wait for a taxi – another hurdle that you don’t have to face if taking the train.

‘When it comes to the environment, taking the train is a far friendlier option.

‘I would avoid flying such a short route in the future unless it was absolutely essential.’

For more from The Points Guy visit thepointsguy.com/uk-travel. To see the original TPG BA vs Avanti video click here. 

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