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DavidB-AU

London-Glasgow passengers choose rail over air

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When I travel to Glasgow there are always people working on laptops plus many ordinary travellers  ,but its the number of passengers that leave or join at every stop that is amazing .Planes cannot obviously do this, surely the train is the cost effective way to move multiple numbers of passengers throughout the UK and investment must be made into the system.Internal flights will be declining due to climate worries except for those to the Scottish Islands  ,rail is the most efficient way of moving  people around our small island. So shout from the roof tops  rail is best tell your friends neighbours .  

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43 minutes ago, lmsforever said:

.......So shout from the roof tops  rail is best tell your friends neighbours .  

 

No it's not. It's rubbish.

 

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On 12/11/2019 at 18:29, Zomboid said:

I can do a day trip to Edinburgh or Glasgow from the south of England if I fly, but by train that would be hopeless. Doing so is a long day, and it's influenced by the fact that Southampton airport is pretty convenient for me, but if I can avoid a night away from home then I will.

 

I'd never choose to drive that kind of distance though. I hate driving long journeys.

I think London - Glasgow/Edinburgh and reverse is probably the sensible limit to attempting train travel if you can afford a plane alternative.

 

Don't think you're in a target market for ECML or WCML living so far south and you'd probably spend as much time as on either of those routes just getting to London or Birmingham to pick up your train.

 

The Sleepers are probably the only exception as they penetrate further into Scotland but you're asleep much of the time so it's time gained not lost.

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1 hour ago, lmsforever said:

When I travel to Glasgow there are always people working on laptops plus many ordinary travellers  ,but its the number of passengers that leave or join at every stop that is amazing .Planes cannot obviously do this, surely the train is the cost effective way to move multiple numbers of passengers throughout the UK and investment must be made into the system.Internal flights will be declining due to climate worries except for those to the Scottish Islands  ,rail is the most efficient way of moving  people around our small island. So shout from the roof tops  rail is best tell your friends neighbours .  

27 minutes ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

 

No it's not. It's rubbish.

 

 

22 minutes ago, lmsforever said:

WHY  ?

 

He's not wrong - on certain routes it is the best - if you live close to a principal station on GWML, WCML or ECML and you need to go any capitals then it's great but step away from that and it becomes patchy.

 

The car despite it's impact on the environment is the ultimate freedom of travel solution but we've been conditioned to using them, the world has developed around them and weaning us back off them will take time - time that the government could use to really ramp up the investment in public transport and infrastructure and make it a no brainer.

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9 minutes ago, woodenhead said:

The car despite it's impact on the environment is the ultimate freedom of travel solution but we've been conditioned to using them, the world has developed around them and weaning us back off them will take time - time that the government could use to really ramp up the investment in public transport and infrastructure and make it a no brainer.

What we are now seeing is that roads are overcrowded & getting increasing busier.

It is becoming less common to drive for any distance on a motorway at 60-70 without having to slow due to an incident, roadworks or simply the volume of traffic driving speeds down.

Rail on the other hand is continually getting gradually quicker, so is starting to get back some of its advantage...but, as mentioned above, only on some journeys. Luggage space is also being reduced in favour of squeezing more passengers in.

Rail has its advantages over road & air, but also disadvantages too.

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1 hour ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

 

No it's not. It's rubbish.

 

 

1 hour ago, lmsforever said:

WHY  ?

 

I said that partly 'tongue in cheek", but partly seriously.

 

It's rubbish when the train is overcrowded, when passenger generated noise intrudes and often becomes an annoyance, when you are trapped for hours on end knowing you could have got there much quicker, when you have to share space with people who encroach and wish to monopolise your shared environment, when the toilets are in a disgusting mess and the catering provision is haphazard.

Otherwise it can be reasonably pleasant for a couple of hours or so.

 

There's obviously a pro-rail bias on here, as you would expect (nothing wrong with that, we all have the right to opinions).

Let me address some of the points being made above.....(no personal disrespect intended to the individuals who I've quoted)......

 

...It's more central at both ends......

 

For most large city to large city routes, the overwhelming majority of travellers are not doing a centre to centre journey.

Passengers surveys have always found that most Journeys are from home to office, place of work/meeting, hotel or friends/relatives address....and v.v.

This is particularly the case for city pairs over 2 hours apart (by rail).

As such, city centre to city centre journey times are largely a total irrelevance in the context of total journey time.

 

 

.....it's no slower when you add in check-in and security, ......

.....but when you add check in times for air ......

 

Myth.

Most air travel passengers now check-in in advance (online, phones etc.).

Something like 80% are checking in prior to arriving at the front doors of their departure airport.

It's a much higher proportion for low cost airlines, where airport check-in is penalised by extra charges.

Of course there is the time needed for making a  "Bag Drop' for those taking hold luggage and this is what many may be considering as check-in time, as it can amount to the same waiting time on some flights.

 

For domestic air travel, as with a lot of European flights, there is generally much less hold baggage carried, with many passengers, particularly those travelling for business, or short stay visits, only carrying cabin sized bags.

A such there is no minimum time required to check-in or make a "bag drop".

Passengers simply need to get to the airport in good time to navigate their way through the airport, pass through security. and get to the departure gate in good time before boarding.

 

This pre-departure time will vary depending on the departure airport.

At the better end of the scale, London City Airport has a minimum check-in time of 20 mins, which would also equate to a reasonable, latest time for a pre-checked-in, cabin baggage only passenger arriving at the doors of this particular airport.

I'm sure most people are relatively prudent and would aim to arrive at the airport at least 30 to 40 minutes minimum before departure, leaving time to grab a coffee or send off some last minute emails, or whatever.

Southampton is similar (before security was increased post 9/11, minimum check-in time was 10 minutes for hand luggage only).

 

Heathrow is at the opposite end of the scale, where all but a few domestic flights are operated by BA from Terminal 5. 

T5 is a far bigger terminal, where it takes much longer to get from the front door to the departure gate.

Minimum domestic flight check-in time (for the relatively few who are checking-in at the airport) and for "Bag Drop" is 50 mins; so most people are going to be there at least 1 hour prior to their flight's departure time, regardless of whether you have hold luggage or not.

A good proportion of passengers on the Heathrow to Scotland flights are connecting passengers, transiting through LHR, who are going nowhere near Central London.

 

Incidentally, for those who are not familiar with Heathrow T5, the vast check-in hall (which must be about the length of two football pitches) has now gone over almost entirely to self-service check-in machines, because pre-airport, advance check-in, carried out online, now accounts for over 85% of all departing passengers. The dozens and dozens of former Check-In desks are now mostly for Bag Drop only.

 

 

......catering is similar or better, certainly more comfortable... leg room, luggage room, lap top power, cell coverage, WiFi... Lots of good reasons.........

.

 

Do you actually need much in the way of catering for a one hour flight (actual time in the air).

You would need such provision on a 4 hour plus journey, trapped onboard a train, but not on UK domestic flights.

Likewise, it's not much time to be without a wifi signal (some airlines now have in-flight internet connections...at a cost) with many business travellers using the time to take a break.

You also see people using laptops and iPads...even paperwork.... to do a bit of work.

 

Comfort and leg room?

I've not found much comfort in being trapped in my train seat for more than 2 hours, even with getting up for the odd leg stretch.

Especially if you are a solo traveller or couple, sat at a table seat and have to share it with other travellers, some of whom wish to take over most of the space with their laptop and paperwork.

Worst, cans of lager or beer and take-away food.

Also, in general, I find the ambiance on inter-city trains, particularly in Standard, to be far noisier, often with people having loud conversations or talking loudly into their mobile phone being a particular annoyance.

 

 

......I suppose it will always depend on where you live, if your close to Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton or Stanstead airports, then it’s going to be more advantageous flying rather than travelling by rail and making connections to services to Glasgow or travelling into London.......

 

Indeed.

See my first point about where journeys usually start and end.

London is well served in this regard and looking at the London and SE to Central Scotland routes, there is a choice of flights from Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Luton, Stansted and Southend.

To the South west of London, there's also Southampton Airport with its own station on the mainline. All passenger trains apart from a couple of very early morning starters, call at Southampton Airport Parkway.

These airports are going to be easier to reach, than a trip into and/or across Central London for many people.

 

 

........I can do a day trip to Edinburgh or Glasgow from the south of England if I fly, but by train that would be hopeless...........

 

Very true and not likely to change that much with HS2.

 

.......it's influenced by the fact that Southampton airport is pretty convenient for me, but if I can avoid a night away from home then I will...........

 

That's my local airport too.

Even to Manchester, the flight from Southampton is much quicker, more comfortable and far more bearable than the 4 hour multi-stopping XC service, that runs from the station some 50 yards away.

I can't envision any realistic improvement that could possibly change that situation.

One of my neighbours (now retired) used to commute from Southampton to his Edinburgh office every other week by air. Usually doing the return flight once or twice in the week.

Relying on rail would have meant having to stay up there for 4 or 5 days, away from his local desk and family.

 

.......When considering how to travel for work, does anyone take account of being able to do useful work on the train with a laptop?  ......

 

A useful way to while away the length of time.

Alternatively, I see people doing a bit of work at the airport, before taking a break from it for the relatively short flight time.

Some people appear to do work on the flights as well.

 

 

I don't think it's possible to generalise, as the circumstances will be different across various point to point journeys around the UK and depending on how the individual wishes to use their time.

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

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That's your opinion  and if you are close to an airport fair enough  ,but I think with the green lobby  gaining the upper hand internal flights will be on their hit list.This will take time  but think it will as will cut backs   using cars, overall  public transport will have to step up to the plate to offer alternatives  electric buses ,metro systems ,more rail routes.Times they are a changing   

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9 minutes ago, lmsforever said:

That's your opinion  and if you are close to an airport fair enough  ,but I think with the green lobby  gaining the upper hand internal flights will be on their hit list.This will take time  but think it will as will cut backs   using cars, overall  public transport will have to step up to the plate to offer alternatives  electric buses ,metro systems ,more rail routes.Times they are a changing   

But I seem to remember you are firmly against HS2, which conflicts with your opinion here.

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Everyone's situation is different. Right now Southampton is convenient for me and has direct flight options to several major cities in the North of England & Scotland. The alternative is the deceptively slow, noisy and frequently at least 4 carriages too short XC trains, or a trip to London and a tube ride to Kings Cross/ Euston and then a few hours to wherever I'm going.

 

I'd love to take the train if it were really viable, but I can leave my house at 6am and be at a meeting in central Glasgow by 10 (or I could last time I did it, they may have changed the flight schedule since), allowing enough time to get thoroughly bored of the limited offering at Southampton airport. I'd be doing well to be much past Crewe by then if I took the train. And crucially I could finish the meeting, get back to Glasgow airport in time to get bored of the shops there and be home by 9.30pm. A long day, but near impossible by any other means.

 

If I lived somewhere else then the calculation would be different, and perhaps flying wouldn't work. And some places it doesn't work for. York & Leeds for example are day trips by train. Newcastle I've done by air and rail. I've never considered flying to Manchester, but I only need to go there very rarely anyhow.

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No XC journey is comfortable, hence on Saturday i am travelling to Birmingham NEC from Warrington not Manchester - a Virgin Voyager will be preferential to an XC Voyager, in fact it is more likely to be a Pendolino now and still preferable.

 

It is pretty sad that what was always the ultimate journey on the railways a service from the top of Scotland down the East Coast and through to the South West has been reduced to what it is now - a cramped, uncomfortable endurance experience - you'd think they would want to do something special when they hold on to passengers potentially so long (I know not many do the whole length, but i have witnessed them and the expression on the guards face when he/she realises how long they have been sat in that seat).

 

Things are changing, looking at how TPE have addressed overcrowding with it's CAF stock and IEPs, you'd hope that the next incarnation of XC will reflect the experience TPE customers get and not be the Ryan Air of the railways any longer.

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It's a common rule of thumb that a train journey of less than 3hr will win most of the passengers from air.  In fact with increased airport security the threshold is probably creeping upwards.  

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2 hours ago, Edwin_m said:

.... In fact with increased airport security the threshold is probably creeping upwards.  

 

I'm not aware of any further increases in airport security, since it was increased several years ago ?

With increases in the number of passengers, queues and delays at security have increased at many airports, but efforts have been made a some airports to reduce the delays.

 

Mrs Ron and I passed through Heathrow T5 security in less than 5 minutes, a few weeks ago.

 

 

.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

 

I'm not aware of any further increases in airport security, since it was increased several years ago ?

With increases in the number of passengers, queues and delays at security have increased at many airports, but efforts have been made a some airports to reduce the delays.

 

Mrs Ron and I passed through Heathrow T5 security in less than 5 minutes, a few weeks ago.

 

And soon the latest 3d baggage scanners will be implemented that do away with the separated liquids in small bottles - this will make a massive shift towards making the security issues of today a memory whilst still retaining a very high level of vigilance.

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I think with any comparison it is highly sensitive to individual experiences.

 

If I was to base my opinion of rail travel on the overall average of my commute (which after all is the overwhelming bulk of the time I spend on trains) I'd say it was OK but not great. I'd rate it as probably no better or no worse than European short haul flying.

 

If I was to judge it from first class on Virgin WCML services I'd rate it highly, but then again I'd rate business class on airlines like Cathay Pacific, Singapore and Qatar very highly.

 

Comparing the best experience of air travel with being stuck at Euston when everything has been cancelled is just as meaningless as comparing the best experience of rail travel with Ryanair.

 

I think which is better depends on distance to be travelled. It's the same with driving, driving on a nice road with no congestion is very enjoyable but there's no joy being stuck in the traffic jam that is the M6 between Preston and the bridge over the Manchester ship canal.

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32 minutes ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

 

I'm not aware of any further increases in airport security, since it was increased several years ago ?

With increases in the number of passengers, queues and delays at security have increased at many airports, but efforts have been made a some airports to reduce the delays.

 

Mrs Ron and I passed through Heathrow T5 security in less than 5 minutes, a few weeks ago.

I was thinking over a timescale of 15 years or so since the liquids ban and similar measures.  

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11 hours ago, woodenhead said:

Connectivity is possible now for instance x country from the south to brum  and then other services to elsewhere there are search engines for this purpose so you can use the train instead of the plane.  Planes will be cut back eventually so rail will be the choice for long distance  but HS2 will cause problems as it will not provide true connectivity as current inter city to the north does now.

 

He's not wrong - on certain routes it is the best - if you live close to a principal station on GWML, WCML or ECML and you need to go any capitals then it's great but step away from that and it becomes patchy.

 

The car despite it's impact on the environment is the ultimate freedom of travel solution but we've been conditioned to using them, the world has developed around them and weaning us back off them will take time - time that the government could use to really ramp up the investment in public transport and infrastructure and make it a no brainer.

 

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8 hours ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

 

I said that partly 'tongue in cheek", but partly seriously.

 

 

You make some valid points Ron Ron Ron, but there are also some I would disagree with:

 

'As such, city centre to city centre journey times are largely a total irrelevance in the context of total journey time.'

Not at all, if you live (as I do) within walking distance of a station with a direct service to a major terminal (in my case Glasgow Central) with connecting trains all over the country. Whereas Glasgow Airport requires two bus journeys, or a taxi.

 

'Passengers simply need to get to the airport in good time to navigate their way through the airport, pass through security. and get to the departure gate in good time before boarding.'

Fair enough, but I regularly make an 11 minute connection at Glasgow Central into the first Manchester Airport train. And on Sunday, I made a 4 minute connection from a Down Anglo-Scottish service into my train home. The amount of time passengers require to allow for boarding a plane is still grossly in excess of that required to catch to a train. 

 

'Comfort and leg room? I've not found much comfort in being trapped in my train seat for more than 2 hours, even with getting up for the odd leg stretch.'

Art least train passengers can get up at any time to stretch their legs, unlike on a plane where passengers are regularly ordered to remain in their seats, for take-off, landing, turbulence, etc. And  the Class 380 sets on my local route have more leg room in the airline-style seats than the plane on which I flew from Heathrow to New York and back a couple of years ago ! Plus the seats are maximum two-abreast, not 3 or 5 as on many aircraft.

 

There will always be journeys for which air travel is quicker than rail, however it will be interesting to see, with today's hugely increased focus on the environment, how many internal flights in a small country like the UK can really be justified. However I do agree fully that rail has to seriously up its game, particularly in cross-country routes, in order to provide a realistic alternative.

 

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There seemed to be some mentally closed positions in this discussion.

 

The only time I have done London to Glasgow has been by plane but simply because I have arrived at Heathrow by plane and hence any other option is going to be more time consuming let alone more expensive, 

 

However for a number of years I commuted each weekend from close to Cologne to my house in Southern France.  I had a multitude of travel options but interestingly, without holdups, the door to door travel time was within 1 hour the same.

 

1.  drive - normal travel time 8.5 hours.  Relatively stressful because you have to be attentive all of the time.  Could be worsened during the summer months with all of the tourists travelling on their holidays.  No opportunity to work during the trip.  The most expensive option for much of the year, but at times (usually during the summer months when aforementioned tourists were on the road with their caravans) the only cost effective option.

2.  Train.  Tram to Cologne station, Thalys to Paris, cross Paris, TGV to South of France and picked up by OH and driven home 7.5 - 8 hours.  With planning I could work on the tram.  The Thalys had web access.  The TGV did not, but did have power to re-fuel the laptop for working off-line.  So 2.5 hours on-line work and around 2.5 hours work on the TGV off-line - downloaded as soon as I got home.

3.  Flying - I had options from Cologne to Marseille or Duesseldorf to Lyon.  The later was a preferred option by being somewhat quicker (7 hours vs 8 hours) and generally cheaper with shorter notice bookings.  Tram to Cologne as in option 2 with option to work.  Train to airport Duesseldorf option to recharge laptop and do a little work, Cologne no options.  Book in and work in airport for 30-45 minutes with sometimes wifi connection.  Board and work on plane 30 minutes perhaps a bit more off line on a 75 minutes in flight journey.  Wait for Train - 30 minutes work off-line - now can be done on-line.  TGV - work off-line perhaps on a 30 minute journey.  Pick up by OH and home.  Download all off-line work.  Leaving German home at 04:30 I was at real home in France by as soon as 11:30.  I had done 3+ hours work already.  The rest of the day being conducted from there.

 

Cost differences:

Driving - 1800km return - fuel, wear and tear, etc.  tax authorities allow 30/km = 540€

Train - Tram 2 x 4.5€=9.  TGV/Thalys typically 250€,  Paris transit 4€, drive home 24€ = 287€

Fly - Tram 2x4.5=9.  Train 2 x 6€, Flights 99€ ,TGV 35€ drive home 24€ = 179€

and bear in mind this was my costs with no subventions from the company - although I could claim the costs against my tax  bill.  

 

That is of course a privileged position.  But I hope it shows that although door to door travel times can be very similar depending on how you chose to travel, your options for working in transit can be very different.  Many people seem to think that short haul flights are dead time regarding the ability to work.  They need not be.   Others seem to think that a flight is so much quicker - well not always.

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12 minutes ago, lmsforever said:

Your Words:

Connectivity is possible now for instance x country from the south to brum  and then other services to elsewhere there are search engines for this purpose so you can use the train instead of the plane.  Planes will be cut back eventually so rail will be the choice for long distance  but HS2 will cause problems as it will not provide true connectivity as current inter city to the north does now.

HS2 will connect London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds and places inbetween, then some services will head north up the WCML for example which is less congested but still at 125.

 

HS2 is to relieve pressure on the southern half of the WCML and offer faster journeys from Manchester and Birmingham.

 

XC does offer journeys to Birmingham which is very good, but as I've alluded to elsewhere, it is a very poor service for the passenger, it needs lifting like TPE has done with it's services.

 

12 minutes ago, lmsforever said:

My bit:

He's not wrong - on certain routes it is the best - if you live close to a principal station on GWML, WCML or ECML and you need to go any capitals then it's great but step away from that and it becomes patchy.

 

The car despite it's impact on the environment is the ultimate freedom of travel solution but we've been conditioned to using them, the world has developed around them and weaning us back off them will take time - time that the government could use to really ramp up the investment in public transport and infrastructure and make it a no brainer.

Careful with the quotes you've merged your words with mine.

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5 hours ago, Edwin_m said:

It's a common rule of thumb that a train journey of less than 3hr will win most of the passengers from air.  In fact with increased airport security the threshold is probably creeping upwards.  

 

That used to be the rule of thumb in Europe but I read some years ago that both SNCF and DB both believe it's now closer to 4 hours where you have a 300+ km/h train.

 

Cheers

David

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On 12/11/2019 at 11:57, chris p bacon said:

 

I have a badge somewhere from the start of services with a picture of an 87 with the line "Fly the electric Scot" very apt considering the competition that evolved.

And APT that didnt... (irony in your post)..

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3 hours ago, adb968008 said:

And APT that didnt... (irony in your post)..

 

I can't believe how long it took someone to spot that .:D

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10 hours ago, lmsforever said:

Connectivity is possible now for instance x country from the south to brum  and then other services to elsewhere there are search engines for this purpose so you can use the train instead of the plane.  Planes will be cut back eventually so rail will be the choice for long distance  but HS2 will cause problems as it will not provide true connectivity as current inter city to the north does now.

It seems you do not understand the issue. Instead of burying your head in the sand, maybe you should take a trip to MK & experience the WCML for yourself to see how crowded it is?

 

The WCML is overcrowded right now & is continuing to get busier. I have commuted on it for 17 years & I was initially regularly able to get a 'block of 4' to myself on my way home. Now I struggle to get a seat at all. Off-peak services are also lot more crowded now than they were back then. Trains have been lengthened & their frequency increased, services have been accelerated. The options for increasing capacity on it have been almost exhausted & another solution is required. It cannot be built overnight so a solution needs to be implemented now.

You won't attract more passengers if you can't fit them onto trains.

 

HS2 will take some of the long-distance traffic away, freeing up space for others. It is not about speed but if you're building a brand new railway, then why not build it to a fast standard?

 

How will it cause problems?

 

It won't serve all major cities on the WCML, but that was never the point. It will serve London, Birmingham, Manchester, Crewe & eventually Glasgow. If you can take most of those passengers away from the WCML, you will create a lot of needed space....& this is exactly its purpose.

Other routes may be as busy & would also benefit from new lines to take some traffic away, but where do you start?

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14 hours ago, Andy Hayter said:

Many people seem to think that short haul flights are dead time regarding the ability to work.  They need not be.   

Working on a full-size laptop is just about possible on a full-service airline but my flights are normally with EasyJet and the line, where it's basically only possible by balancing it with the keyboard nearly vertical on the table.  It may be possible with a tablet but I need the laptop at the other end of the journey and taking a tablet as well would probably push me into needing hold luggage, thus adding another half hour or so onto the journey time while waiting to collect it.  

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