Train, carpooling, plane... Which means of transportation should you choose for your business trip?
With the covid crisis, telecommuting and the rise of videoconferencing, the way business travel is consumed has of course evolved: the number of business trips has decreased over the last two years. However, the usefulness of some trips, especially from region to region, has never been questioned. Some business activities, such as negotiating a contract or visiting a production site, require the ability to travel physically to meet with economic players in the region. But faced with a deteriorating transport offer and a general concern about mass transport, new and previously "alternative" modes of travel have really taken off, and have changed the way business travel is consumed. We take a look at this subject in this article: depending on your type of business trip, which means of transport should you choose?
The advantages and disadvantages of the car
Today, the car is the most common means of transportation used by professionals, almost regardless of the distance traveled. 74% of employed people use it, i.e. more than 18 million people (source INSEE).
The advantages of this means of transport are obvious: the cost is a priori lower (even if the increase in fuel prices makes it more and more expensive...), it is easily accessible and, within the framework of a professional trip with 3 or 4 people, it is normally well adapted. Carpooling is thus experiencing a certain boom, including for business trips.
However, there are also many disadvantages. If the distance of the journey is too long, the additional cost in fuel and tolls quickly becomes very important. The fatigue caused by driving is also significant, making the car the most dangerous means of transportation with a significantly higher risk of accident than its alternatives. Traffic jams and other delays are also commonplace when driving long distances... Finally, working during the trip is almost impossible when you are behind the wheel.
The advantages and disadvantages of the train
For medium/long distance business trips, the train is often the first transportation solution that comes to mind.
Relatively accessible in terms of fares (even if it depends more and more on the routes, with LGV lines like Paris-London in Eurostar now reaching very high prices), the rail solution has many advantages for professionals. Working there is also easy, its configuration, especially in first class, being really thought for. Large table, access to sockets, "club" seats if you are traveling with several people... Train travel time can really be used as working time.
But the train is not infallible. As we have already pointed out, its price is tending to increase. The network of railway lines is not optimal either, especially in France, where the network is built around Paris. Traveling directly from one region to another without passing through the capital is thus almost impossible, and causes additional hourly costs due to the multiple connections... For a business trip whose final destination is not Paris, the train is thus often not the simplest solution... And not necessarily the most affordable... Finally, if working alone is easy, in a group it is more complicated: beyond the embarrassment caused by a meeting with several interlocutors for the other passengers, the confidentiality in the cars is not necessarily there, which can slow you down to discuss private subjects with your collaborators.
The advantages and disadvantages of flying
Fast, safe, direct, the advantages of air travel are numerous, making it the most popular means of transportation for business travelers. But since the health crisis, the number of routes and rotations between airports, especially regional ones, has considerably decreased, making air travel more difficult to achieve. As with the train, there are more and more connections. However, transiting through Paris is often time-consuming and not necessarily useful, especially when you know that the journey could be made by direct line...
In this case, the airliner can be replaced by a private plane, which is not subject to any pre-established commercial link. Is this solution more expensive? Not necessarily. For several years, business aviation has been democratized among professionals and in particular SMEs thanks to services such as OpenFly, the private aircraft rental portal that allows companies to rent private aircraft of all types and sizes at the best rates. Today, travel by private plane from 300€/hour of flight, it is possible! To travel directly, from region to region, without transiting through Paris or another major hub, this is undoubtedly the most efficient solution, including for work, since these aircraft are often similar to the "club" format of the train, with the added bonus of confidentiality. Time saved, fatigue saved, at an affordable cost, this solution, which we do not immediately think of, deserves to be studied when organizing a business trip!
Which means of transportation should you choose for your business trip depending on the distance to be covered?
For trips of less than 300 kilometers
Carpooling is the preferred solution:
On a short trip, less than 300 kilometers, the disadvantages of the car are less felt. Taking the road for this type of trip is often the least expensive option, even more so if you opt for carpooling, as it allows you to share your costs. To reduce the wear and tear on your vehicle, you can also opt to rent a car at your company's expense. This is a little more expensive but has the advantage of not wearing out your personal property.
Advantages of the car on a short trip:
- Easily accessible
- A priori not very expensive (if carpooling)
- Not very time consuming (except in case of traffic jams...)
Private aviation, the alternative solution:
For a short trip of less than 300 kilometers, flying may not seem relevant. Especially since most of these trips simply do not exist in commercial aviation! Only private aviation can make these short trips possible, often between regions, quickly.
On busy roads, where traffic jams are common and where the fatigue accumulated by driving is important, the private plane can be relevant. The time saving is often significant and on an important trip, arriving fresh and ready for your appointment is a significant advantage.
The other great advantage of private aviation is that it offers the possibility of pooling in one day a large number of "small" trips that you would previously have had to spread out over several days. In a private plane, going to 3 different cities in the same day is not impossible: on the contrary!
Advantages of the private plane on a short trip:
- Very fast
- Possibility of pooling travel on a single day (time saving)
- Less tiring and restrictive than the car
For trips of 300 to 1000 kilometers
The train is the preferred solution, if the direct route can be made quickly.
The train is the most used means of transportation for business trips. And it is true that for work, it offers many advantages. A tablet as a desk, sockets, Wi-Fi today to send emails... The train is really thought to optimize its travel time into working time. Many company managers take advantage of their travels to do a lot of work and deal with files they don't have time to manage the rest of the time.
In terms of cost, it depends on the route. If the price of a Paris-London trip by Eurostar can quickly reach high levels, this is not necessarily the case for regional trips: especially if booked in advance, with the right discount cards, the train is very accessible financially.
The real problem with the rail option lies in the fact that the French network is highly centralized. The lines are almost all organized in a star shape, around Paris. Traveling directly between 2 regional cities, without passing through Paris, is often impossible by train. To get from Brest to Bordeaux, you are obliged to go through the capital, which lengthens your travel time and makes it unnecessarily complex. This is why the train is not always the best solution, even for trips of 300 kilometers "as the crow flies". It all depends on whether a direct line exists.
Advantages of the train on a short/medium trip:
- Easily accessible
- Not too expensive (although it depends on the line)
- Ideal for working and optimizing your travel time
Private aviation, the alternative solution if the journey is not possible by train.
If the direct route is not feasible by train and too far to be done by car, there is still the option of flying. But of course, most of the region-to-region routes do not exist on commercial flights. The demand is not strong enough for an airline to decide to set up a regular route and this is one of the main reasons why French regions are so isolated. This is where private aviation comes in. With a private plane, there is no need to set up a direct regular connection beforehand: each trip is organized on demand, according to the traveler's own constraints and requirements. To travel without connection from region to region in a fast way, it is by far the best option. If it is most of the time perceived as more expensive than the train, the development of new services like OpenFly makes this idea more and more false. Today, private airplane rental rates start at 300€/hour of flight.
Advantages of the private plane on a short/medium trip:
- Very fast
- Possibility of making the trip directly without a connection
- No external time constraints imposed, unlike the train: you decide when you leave. You are the one who sets the time of the trip.
For journeys of more than 1000 kilometers
Airliner, the preferred solution:
For journeys of more than 1000 kilometers, which often implies going to another country, the options are becoming scarce... Too long to be done by car, ditto by train unless you have many stopovers... The plane is the only viable solution for these journeys, if a commercial line exists. Because if it is not the case, you will again be forced to multiply the connections.
Advantages of the plane on a long journey :
- Often the only viable solution (other options are too time consuming)
- Relatively fast
Private aviation, the alternative solution
You know the inconveniences of travelling by airliner: you have to go to the airport a long time in advance, go through multiple control zones, drop off your luggage if you have any... It's rarely a pleasure. There are many constraints.
The advantage of private aviation is that you are spared these multiple constraints. You set the departure time and all the details of the flight. You don't have to go to the airport 2 hours in advance: 5 to 10 minutes before takeoff, the time to settle in the aircraft, is enough. Private aviation brings you a level of flexibility and comfort that is absolutely unmatched.
Advantages of the private plane on a long journey:
Conclusion: private aviation, the alternative travel solution to consider for your business trips
Private aviation offers many advantages when you travel for work: whether on a relatively short trip, where you save time and energy compared to the car, or on a longer trip, where you are spared the time constraints, possible delays, and above all, the almost systematic connections between two cities that are not major metropolises or regional "hubs". The private plane brings you an unequalled level of flexibility, the possibility of entirely personalizing your trip according to your own constraints and needs, at a cost that is sometimes higher than "traditional" means of transportation, but which tends to become more and more affordable thanks to the development of new services such as OpenFly.