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High-speed Rail vs. Flight: How to choose?

When you and your group travel from Beijing to Shanghai, what transportation would you choose? Flight or train?

Recently, China increased the maximum speed of the Shanghai-Beijing high-speed rail line to 350kph(217mph) from 250kph(155mph). That means it would only take less than 4 hours traveling from these two cities, comparing to 5 hours of traveling time before. Meanwhile, the flight takes 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Although taking the flight is still faster than taking the train in theory, don’t forget that you and your group must arrive at the airport at least 1.5 hour in advance in order to check in bags, go through security inspection and take the shuttle or walk to gates, not to mention high delay rates of flights in China nowadays which would probably affect your next company or school visit schedule.

Since high-speed rail becomes more and more convenient, we consider it as a major transportation between cities when we design trip itinerary for groups. For groups that have never had high-speed rail experiences before, here is how it would work:

  • Many high-speed rails running during the day (especially between popular cities), so we will choose the most suitable one according to your schedule.

  • High-speed rails have a high punctuality rate and are less affected by weather conditions or traffic control. Arrive at train stations 15-30 minutes ahead of the departure time and you will catch the train.

  • The facilities are sparkling new and well maintained in train stations in China.

  • Once sit down, you can actually move your legs!

  • There are four options when purchasing the train tickets: second class seats; first class seats; business class seats; superior class seats which give small group passengers more privacy. Rest assured that all seats are comfortable.

  • You can enjoy nearly the same service as on an airplane, and you can walk around on a train.

  • You can use the Internet on the train without worrying about interfering with the train's signals.

  • Looking out of train windows and seeing villages fly by is a good way of seeing rural side of China.

For longer distances, flight is still a good choice. However, for shorter distance and those who want to stick to their schedules, enjoy extra comfort and beautiful scenery along the way, high-speed train is always recommended by our Real China trip specialists.

By the way, if your China trip itinerary involves a company or school visit right after getting off the airplane but you haven’t got a warning from your travel agent, you might want to find a more experienced agent.

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