Air France Expands Rail Partnership As It Looks To Cut Domestic Flying

Last week Air France announced that it would be engaging in an expanded partnership with national rail operator SNCF. Officially commencing on December 15th, this deal will see Air France include a new service as part of its Train + Air program, namely connecting Bordeaux Saint-Jean and Paris-Orly Airport. This latest move helps Air France in its commitment to cutting CO2 emissions in half on the airline’s domestic network by 2024.

Air France Boeing 787-9
Train connections as part of Air France itineraries will take passengers from within France to the airline’s Paris hub for long-haul international flights. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | JFKJets.com

 “Air France is committed to halving its CO2 emissions on the domestic network by 2024, notably by suspending routes on departure from Orly for which a rail alternative is available in less than 2hr30. The deployment of the Train + Air service on the Paris-Bordeaux route will make it possible to meet this commitment while maintaining connections to France and the rest of the world.” -Vincent Etchebehere, VP Sustainability and New Mobilities, Air France.

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Connecting Bordeaux Saint-Jean and Paris-Orly Airport

With bookings already being accepted as of December 3rd, the Air France/SNCF Train + Air program will be offered between Bordeaux Saint-Jean station and Paris-Orly airport, starting December 15th.

This will facilitate connections to the entire international Air France network on departure from Paris-Orly airport. While this is greatly reduced when compared to the airline’s network out of Paris Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly does have connections to the French overseas territories of Cayenne, Pointe-à-Pitre, Fort-de-France, and Saint-Denis de La Réunion.

“Customers will travel by train from Bordeaux to Massy TGV, before transferring to Paris-Orly by a taxi service. There will be 5 daily departures from Bordeaux Saint-Jean and 4 daily departures from Massy TGV, with adapted schedules for quick connections.” -Air France.

Bordeaux Saint Jean
The new Train + Air route will replace a short-haul flight with a rail segment. Photo: GCMap.com

25 years of ‘Train + Air’

If you are unfamiliar with Train + Air, it’s a long-running Air France/SNCF partnership which has been offered for the last 25 years, formerly TGV Air. This allows customers to combine train and air travel in a single booking.

Every year more than 160,000 customers use Train + Air, which currently links 14 stations to the Air France hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. The stations are as follows:

  • Angers Saint-Laud,
  • Avignon TGV,
  • Champagne-Ardenne TGV,
  • Le Mans,
  • Lille Europe,
  • Lorraine TGV,
  • Lyon Part-Dieu,
  • Nantes,
  • Nîmes,
  • Poitiers,
  • Rennes,
  • Saint-Pierre-des-Corps,
  • Strasbourg,
  • and Valence TGV.
SNCF TGC Train
SNCF, short for Société nationale des chemins de fer français, is France’s national state-owned railway company. Photo: Phil Scott via Wikimedia Commons 

What’s included in Train + Air?

Meant to be a substitution for a short-haul flight, a rail segment is very much treated like another flight segment, including:

  • a single ticket for the entire trip, with the guarantee of a transfer to the next flight or train at no extra cost, in the event of a missed connection;
  • a first class seat onboard the TGV for customers in the Business or La Première cabins on Air France;
  • Miles and Flying Blue XP earned on the entire trip, including the rail leg.
Air France Boeing 777-328(ER) F-GSQK
The 777 connects Paris-Orly and France’s overseas territories. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | JFKJets.com

Jérôme Laffon, Chief Marketing Officer of Voyages at SNCF is delighted to be strengthening the partnership with Air France, saying that SNCF is “convinced that this combined offer is the most efficient and certainly the most virtuous from an environmental point of view.” Laffon adds that SNCF will continue to strive to make it even simpler and more attractive with Air France and the other airlines involved.

The press release also states that Air France and the SNCF are currently working on extending the Train + Air product to other routes and improving the customer experience throughout the trip.

Have you had a Train + Air itinerary? Please share your experience with us in the comments.

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