The worlds least-favourite airline

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The worlds least-favourite airline

Strasbourg’s airport has yet to welcome in any of the low cost airlines, thanks in no small part to French protectionism. If there had been such a thing as a French low-cost carrier, I’m sure we would have had at least a direct link to Brussels in operation by now.

So if you want to fly direct to Strasbourg from the UK you have no choice whatsoever. The only service that exists is run by a firm called Britair (who occasionally outsource the actual flight operations to Scotair) who run the Air France route between Strasbourg Entzheim and London City.

As far as the service goes itself, it’s top notch. A dinky plane, usually half full, takes you straight into the heart of London, without the inconvenience of a five mile hike to the arrivals hall, nor having to find your way to London proper via train or coach. The downside is, it can be rather pricey, particularly if you need to travel during an EU Parliamentary sitting.

There is one other option nearby, which is about as convenient, as comfortable and as timely as an outbreak of acne. Ryanair run a direct service between London Stansted (near-ish London) and Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden (near-ish to Strasbourg). They also run a mini-bus service between Baden Airpark and Strasbourg, care of a firm called Eberhardt Flightliner, to meet up with the departing and arriving services from London (no such luck for passengers arriving from Dublin).

Alas, the minibus is usually driven by a German with precisely no knowledge (or total fear) of the local French road system. For if they were to even casually glance at a map of Alsace they would notice that taking the A35, a motorway which runs directly from Strasbourg along the border to with a few kilometres of the Airpark, would cut the journey time to between 20 and 30 minutes, from the tedious 45 to 60 minutes it usually takes them on the German roads.

The price of the minibus is currently 17 Euro one way (return tickets are only valid for same-day return – so while they are slightly better value, they are at the same time utterly pointless). Children pay half price (and a child includes babies as far as I can work out), although there are no child nor baby seats aboard the bus. To cap it all the the bus picks you up / dumps you at the (sometimes closed) coach park in the middle of a roundabout at Place Etoile.

So all in all, if you add in the cost of having to negotiate the Flightliner minibus and the Stansted express, the cost of the Ryanair flight starts to look less attractive. In fact it starts to look downright repulsive when you realise that the extra time required to deal with these over-priced and unreliable connections will up your travel time to somewhere near six hours door to door, and your stress levels to somewhere near life-threatening. The fact is it’s easier (and often quicker) to take the train.

So here’s my advice. If you have to get to London from Strasbourg (or vice versa) check out the prices in this order: Air France; Eurostar; SNCF; Ryanair (but remember to add in the connection costs).

End of lecture.

By | 2017-01-06T11:16:47+00:00 September 29th, 2008|Strasbourg|6 Comments

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6 Comments

  1. Anonymous January 1, 1970 at 1:00 am - Reply

    Matthew Morrisonat 7:03pm on September 30th

  2. Anonymous January 1, 1970 at 1:00 am - Reply

    Don't you just love London City? 10 minute check-in, laissez-faire attitude to carry-on luggage; civilised is the word I am looking for. And the best part? You get to ride the Docklands light rail, sitting at the front of course, like a train driver, beep beep, whoop whoop!

  3. Ross September 29, 2008 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    I agree 100%. Eurostar is always my first choice for times I don’t drive. Doing the journey for the first time with an infant at Christmas.

  4. Matthew Morrison September 30, 2008 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Don't you just love London City? 10 minute check-in, laissez-faire attitude to carry-on luggage; civilised is the word I am looking for. And the best part? You get to ride the Docklands light rail, sitting at the front of course, like a train driver, beep beep, whoop whoop!

  5. Andrew October 6, 2008 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    There is always Gatwick to Basel Mulhouse with EasyJet which is a bit more expensive then RyanAir, has the same difficulties in distance from London and Strasbourg at either end but a much better service.

  6. Andrew October 6, 2008 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Oh and I forgot the tram costs €3 into Basel and then €13 to get a single train ticket which takes about an hour.

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