Fly now before it’s taxed and consider using the train instead


Here it is again. Is flying too cheap? Should flying be taxed? It’s a question which will receive an answer soon.

The VRT programme ‘Pano‘ adresses in ‘Vliegen voor geen geld‘ (‘Flying for no money’) the problem with cheap flights.

In – very – short: flying is too cheap and is an attack the environment. There’s no surprise. An aircraft needs an awful lot of kerosine to take-off and keep airborne.

Iceland‘s WOW Air CEO Skúli Mogensen even proclaims flying can be free, as long as you accept paying a commission on other travel expenses such as accommodation and ground transport.

We all know the issues. So what to do?

1: Fly now!

Fly now. Air travel has never so cheap. Inside Europe and going overseas. I flew for 600 euros to Taiwan. You can fly to New York for less han 300. As a child, flying to remote destinations such as Australia and New Zealand was unaffordable. In 2011 I paid over 1,000 euros for Qantas flights to Melbourne. Nowadays you can find it for 700-800 euros (if you’re lucky, granted).

This is not sustainable. So don’t wait. Don’t do “Europe first, I have time”. Do the oppositie. Do the world first, your own continent later.

For two reasons: everyone gets older. Do you want to sit in a cramped seat for twice twelve hours when your 50, 60 or 70? No. Do it now.

Secondly, travel in Europe can be done by car, coach or train. Which takes us to…

2: Take the train!

Granted, international ticketing is a hassle – Danny wrote a piece in the issue – and trains are more expensive. But that will change when air travel will get taxed. And it will happen.

Also, as with air travel, you have to look for bargains and deals. It might be a bit of a bore, but it’s a skill you learn. As you learned to look for good flight deals.

Danny and I love trains. Yes the journey can be longer, but you experience your journey. You see landscapes, not clouds.

Also for journeys under 1,000 km (621 miles) the time of the journey on a high speed train (HST) is comparable to getting to the airport, checkin in, going through security, waiting, boarding, flying, disembarking, getting your bag, getting to the city…

After a dip, international train travel is gaining momentum again. The Brussels to AmsterdamBenelux‘ service is about to be shortened. Eurostar calls now Amsterdam and Rotterdam going to London.


The Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB) from Austria is investing in night trains throughout Central Europe. There’s Interrail and Eurail. There are options.

In conclusion

Preparing for an air travel tax there are two things you should or could do now:

  1. Travel far away now, don’t wait;
  2. Start using the train for intra-European travel.


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