KLM will trial a high-speed train service between Amsterdam and Brussels next March in place of one of its flights. But the Dutch carrier promises more than just a seat.
KLM currently flies five times per day between Brussels and Amsterdam. Beginning in March 2020, it will eliminate one flight and introduce a train replacement onboard a Thalys high-speed train.
Speaking on the news, KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said:
Intermodal transport involving trains and planes remains a complex and challenging business. Speed is key, not only in terms of the train itself, but also the transfer process at the airport. We aim to make maximum progress in both areas. Reducing our frequency from five to four flights a day is a good way of gaining more experience with Air&Rail services.
Not only with KLM sell you a train seat; it promises an equivalent flight experience in terms of comfort and service.
Does that mean we will soon be seeing blue-uniformed KLM flight attendants serving drinks and snacks in specially-designated KLM train cars? It’s not so far-fetched as it may sound, though I suspect not in this initial phase.
A train experience will always be different for at least two reasons. First, the seats are different. Second, security screenings will be in the middle of the trip rather than at the start of the trip for passengers connecting in AMS.
Train service between the two airports already exists without requiring a change of trains. Will the two hour journey save time versus the 45-minute flight once other concerns like parking and security are factored in?
KLM is not the first carrier to offer codeshare service with a train, but appears intent on replacing more shorthaul routes with rail service if this trial is successful.
KLM celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this year by encouraging people to fly less, a perfect illustration of our Zeitgeist.
Its new train service between Brussels and Amsterdam is more of a test than a sign of what is to come, despite wishes to transfer more shorthaul routes to train service.
This is not about local traffic, because superior rail options already exist. Rather, this is about connecting traffic.
Would you prefer to fly or take a train between Brussels and Amsterdam? What if you were connecting to/from another flight?
> Read More: KLM Shames Itself To Celebrate 100th Anniversary