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I traveled between London and Amsterdam by train and plane. Here’s how they compare.

I traveled from London to Amsterdam by train and back by plane.

Grace Dean/Insider

  • On a recent trip from London to Amsterdam, I took the train there and returned by plane.
  • The Eurostar journey took 4.5 hours, whereas my flight was just 75 minutes and cost $50 less.
  • However, I had to spend about two hours queueing at airports due to staff shortages.

I recently traveled from London to Amsterdam for work. I got the Eurostar there and flew back. I’ve taken many flights before, including journeys to Amsterdam, but had never traveled by Eurostar.A row of terraced houses in Amsterdam along a canalI got the Eurostar to Amsterdam and flew back.

Grace Dean/Insider

One of the first things many people look at when they book transport is price. My Eurostar journey, which was on a Monday morning, cost $198, whereas the Thursday evening flight I took with budget airline EasyJet was far less.Eurostar journey London to AmsterdamMy standard class Eurostar ticket cost $198.

Grace Dean/Insider

Most airlines charge to bring luggage on board beyond a small bag. When I added on hold luggage, the price of my flight went up to $147 – meaning it was only $50 less than the Eurostar. The train doesn’t make passengers pay extra to bring large luggage on board – an item of hand luggage plus two pieces of large luggage were included with my standard-class ticket.Eurostar journey London to AmsterdamIt was free to bring suitcases on the Eurostar.

Grace Dean/Insider

The flight was much quicker than the train. My flight took around 75 minutes to travel from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to London Gatwick, whereas the Eurostar journey was four and a half hours. But other things added up to mean that both journeys took a similar amount of time.Grace Dean on board an EasyJet flightThe flight took 75 minutes.

Grace Dean/Insider

EasyJet emailed me two days before my flight, saying: “There may be delays at the airport security control before your flight and we recommend that you arrive at Amsterdam airport 3 hours before your flight time.”Schiphol Airport, AmsterdamEasyJet warned me of delays at Schiphol.

Grace Dean/Insider

Source: Insider

Photos shared on social media over recent weeks have shown huge lines of passengers waiting to pass through security at airports because of labor shortages coupled with a surge in the number of people flying. Some passengers have been arriving hours in advance of their flight as a result. Signs inside Schiphol told people not to arrive more than four hours before their flight.Schiphol Airport, AmsterdamSchiphol told people not to arrive more than four hours before their flight.

Grace Dean/Insider

When I got up there I was confronted with a huge line of passengers queueing to drop off bags at the easyJet desk. Most of the counters at the desk were closed.Schiphol Airport, AmsterdamThere was a huge line of passengers queueing to drop their bags off.

Grace Dean/Insider

Despite the airline telling people to arrive at the airport around three hours before their flight, a screen by the EasyJet check-in desk said that check-in wouldn’t actually open until two hours before the flight departed. There were no members of staff round to ask, so I just decided to join the line anyway. It all seemed a bit chaotic and disorganized.Schiphol Airport, AmsterdamA screen said that EasyJet check-in wouldn’t actually open until two hours before the flight departed.

Grace Dean/Insider

It took about half an hour for me to get to the front of the line and drop my suitcase off.Schiphol Airport, AmsterdamThere were long queues at Schiphol.

Grace Dean/Insider

I then had to join a series of other lines to scan my boarding pass, pass through security, and have my bags checked.Schiphol Airport, AmsterdamThere were long queues at Schiphol.

Grace Dean/Insider

A sign said that customers face longer lines than usual “due to crowds and staff shortages.” Overall, I stood in lines for about 90 minutes to make it through to the departure lounge.Schiphol Airport, AmsterdamThere were long queues at Schiphol.

Grace Dean/Insider

Source: Insider

Eurostar, in contrast, recommended that I arrived at St. Pancras 90 minutes before my train was due to depart – much later than at Schiphol.Eurostar journey London to AmsterdamThe Eurostar departs from St. Pancras station in London.

Grace Dean/Insider

There was a big queue for the Eurostar too, but it was relatively fast-moving and only took me about 30 minutes to scan my boarding pass, go through security like at airports, and get my passport stamped. Though I had to send my suitcase through a scanner, I didn’t have to join a separate queue to check it in as hold luggage like I did at the airport.Eurostar journey London to AmsterdamThere were queues at St. Pancras, too.

Grace Dean/Insider

I also was able to keep liquids in my bags when traveling by Eurostar, whereas hand luggage on planes is limited to 1 liter from bottles of up to 100ml each. Larger containers of liquids can be brought in your hold luggage on flights, but if I were traveling with cabin luggage only then this would have been a real perk to traveling by Eurostar.A person transfers toiletries into smaller containers.I was able to keep liquids in my bags when traveling by Eurostar.

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Despite the huge queues for check-in and security, departures didn’t seem too busy. There was a big line for the Jamie Oliver restaurant, though.Schiphol Airport, AmsterdamSchiphol’s departure lounge really didn’t seem too busy.

Grace Dean/Insider

As a major international airport, Schiphol had loads of shops and restaurants. But what surprised me was that so many were closed. It was only around 5:30 p.m. and there were dozens of flights still due to depart that day.Schiphol Airport, AmsterdamA lot of the concessions in the airport were closed.

Grace Dean/Insider

There was still a lot to do while you waited for your flight, though. As well as €2 ($2.10) massage chairs, various types of seats, and even some individual workspaces, the airport has a “library”. This was home to books about Dutch culture available in more than 40 languages.Schiphol Airport, AmsterdamSchiphol has a “library” in departures.

Grace Dean/Insider

Seating in the departure lounge at St. Pancras for Eurostar passengers.Eurostar journey London to AmsterdamSt. Pancras has a departure lounge for Eurostar passengers.

Grace Dean/Insider

As well as a couple of cafés, it also a duty-free store, which I hadn’t expected to see.Eurostar journey London to AmsterdamSt. Pancras has a departure lounge for Eurostar passengers.

Grace Dean/Insider

Overall there wasn’t as much to do in the Eurostar departures compared with Schiphol.Eurostar journey London to AmsterdamSt. Pancras had a departure lounge for Eurostar passengers.

Grace Dean/Insider

On the easyJet flight, seats are three abreast on either side of the aisle. Each seat had a fold-down table and space for luggage in the overhead lockers, although these got full quite quickly.Seats on an EasyJet planeThere are three seats on either side of the aisle on the plane.

Grace Dean/Insider

I was the only passenger in my row, which meant I had plenty of leg room and could stow my rucksack by the seat next to me, though being short may have helped. My seat was by the window, and I spent the journey reading my book and trying to sleep. The 75-minute flight was over very quickly.Seats on board an EasyJet planeI had plenty of leg room.

Grace Dean/Insider

On the Eurostar, there were pairs of seats on each side of the aisle, also with small fold-down tables. A few seats in each carriage were arranged in fours around a (very thin) table.Eurostar journey London to AmsterdamThe Eurostar was split into two and four-person seating configurations.

Grace Dean/Insider

There were racks at the ends of each carriage for passengers to store large luggage as well as racks above the seats. Considering it was free to bring suitcases aboard, I was surprised the luggage racks weren’t fuller.Eurostar journey London to AmsterdamI stowed my suitcase at the end of the carriage.

Grace Dean/Insider

The seat next to me was taken, but I still had plenty of space, and I felt like there was more leg room than on the easyJet flight. But the four-and-a-half hour trip felt very long, stopping off at Lille, France; Brussels, Belgium; and Rotterdam, the Netherlands before reaching Amsterdam.Eurostar journey London to AmsterdamI had plenty of space on the train.

Grace Dean/Insider

Unlike on my flight, where electronic devices had to be kept in airplane mode, the train did have free WiFi – but it was very unreliable. I tried to use my laptop but kept losing my connection, and ultimately gave up and read my book instead.Eurostar journey London to AmsterdamThe free Eurostar WiFi was very unreliable.

Grace Dean/Insider

I grabbed something to eat on both journeys. They both offered a meal deal with a sandwich, snack, and cold drink, costing 10.20 euros ($10.38) on the Eurostar and 8 euros ($8.14) on the EasyJet flight. Both meals were expensive and the menus limited, but you generally expect this for food on flights and trains.Sandwich, pretzels, bottle of orange juice on an EasyJet planeBoth companies sold food onboard, but it is expensive.

Grace Dean/

When I arrived in Amsterdam on the Eurostar, I could simply grab my bag, hop off the train, and scan my ticket at the barriers to leave the station. Flying into London, however, I had to wait to be allowed off the plane, queue for passport control, and then grab my suitcase from luggage reclaim – this all took about half an hour, bringing my total queueing time for that journey to about two hours.A photo of a row of canal houses in Amsterdam withThe Eurostar took me straight to the center of Amsterdam.

Grace Dean/Insider

In addition, the Eurostar took me between stations in the center of each city – London St. Pancras and Amsterdam Centraal – which were much quicker, cheaper, and easier to get to than the airports my flight went between – London Gatwick and Amsterdam Schiphol, located in the outskirts of each city.External shot ofThe Eurostar took me to Amsterdam Centraal station.

Grace Dean/Insider

While the actual length of the flight was much shorter than the Eurostar, the two journeys took nearly the same amount of time when you factored in traveling to and from the airports, being told to arrive three hours before my flight departed, and waiting to get my bag and have my passport checked when I got off the plane in London.Passengers boarding an EasyI had to spend a lot of time sitting around or queueing in airports before and after my flight.

Grace Dean/Insider

And once you added hold luggage, the price difference wasn’t too great either. Ultimately I preferred traveling by Eurostar because of its lower carbon footprint, slightly more spacious seats, and roomier carriages, but traveling standard-class on the Eurostar wasn’t all that different from getting economy seats on a plane.Eurostar trains are parked at the Temple Mills maintenance depot in Stratford on June 21, 2022 in London, United Kingdom.Ultimately I preferred traveling by Eurostar.

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