August 23rd, 2007

High Speed Train

About Time Someone Noticed

We briefly interrupt my frantic preparations for Worldcon with this story passed along to me by Cheryl about a European budget airline (RyanAir) who was brought to task for false advertising when they claimed their flights between London and Brussels were faster and cheaper than taking Eurostar. Well, probably they are -- if you are already at the airport and don't actually need to go anywhere (like the city you're actually going to) once you get to the destination airport. But when you include the travel time and cost from city center to airport at each end, the train beats the plane.

RyanAir's director of communications grumbled:
"Only in the parallel universe of the ASA quango can a 1 hr 10 minute flight be declared to be longer than a 2 hr 11 minute train journey. Even a four-year old with basic maths could tell you that the flight is shorter. Similarly, only the mathematically challenged ASA could declare that a £15 airfare is 'not necessarily cheaper' than a £27 train ticket."
I'd like to believe that this guy is merely saying what he's paid to say and doesn't really believe that it's not misleading to quote airport-to-airport and imply that it's the same as city center-to-city center. But maybe he does think that's all that matters.

I'd be interested in seeing a couple of people start in some representative part of London, leave at the same time heading for the same office in Brussels, one taking RyanAir and the other Eurostar, and see who gets there first.

It will be even more dramatic a difference in favor of the train when the High Speed 1 connection into St. Pancras opens in November.
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Manga Kevin

The Horses are Entering the Starting Gate

The phone number for my Japanese mobile phone arrived this evening just before I packed up shop and said goodbye to the office for a month: 080-3091-6697. From US phones, that means 011-81-80-3091-6697#.

Tonight I have to turn the pile of "things going to Japan" that has been growing here for the past few weeks into a couple of packed bags ready to hit the road to Oregon around Noon tomorrow. I've been checking things off of lists. Now to hope that all of the preparations work and I don't end up forgetting anything too important.