KLM and Thalys implement integrated air and train travel

This allows the airline to operate one flight less each day on the said route. The majority of travelers to/from Brussels to/from Amsterdam are transit passengers who transfer to onward connections at Schiphol.

The aim of the collaboration between KLM and Thalys is to allow as many passengers as possible to travel by rail instead of by plane on this short route. The Brussels-Amsterdam train connection, which replaces one of KLM’s daily routes, takes approximately 1.5 hours. KLM has been offering its transit customers the option of choosing a train instead of an airplane on this route for several years now, but from now on train + plane it is fully integrated. The test phase of the project will last until October 29 this year, and after a thorough analysis, the partners will decide on further implementation and development air & rail.

A logical alternative

The project is an important first step in KLM’s implementation of the government action plan for rail and air services (Train and Aviation Action Agenda). This plan was jointly signed and announced at the end of 2020 by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Schiphol in Amsterdam, ProRail and KLM airlines and the Nederlandse Spoorwegen – NS Nederlandse Spoorwegen. It describes the detailed actions and measures that will make international rail travel a logical alternative to complement air services on routes less than 700 km.

For some time now, KLM has offered its transit passengers the option to travel on the Thalys high-speed train instead of a flight Brussels – Amsterdam –
but from now on the journey is fully integrated. KLM’s combined train + plane transport is comparable to the plane + plane transit experience that passengers are already used to.

Travelers can now check in for their entire journey via the airline. Their boarding pass is valid for both train and flight. In addition, KLM will keep passengers informed of updates throughout the journey. In addition to integrating services and greatly improving the customer experience, an important advantage of: air & rail there is also a lower impact on the environment.

The first effect of a government plan

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, people who chose the train made up 20-25 percent of all travelers, which translates to about 36,000 customers. The aim of the KLM and Thalys project is to allow as many passengers as possible to travel by rail instead of by plane on this short route. At the same time, KLM, together with NS Nederlandse Spoorwegen and other European rail carriers, is investigating possible options for fast, comfortable train journeys that can be used by transit passengers from other European cities on their way to/from Amsterdam.

– Our new service air & rail is the first tangible result of the implementation of the government’s aviation and railway action plan. We are proud of this achievement. Together with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, ProRail and the Dutch Railways, we strive for carefree passenger transport based on integrated rail and air services, says Boet Kreiken, Executive Vice President Customer Experience at KLM.

Test phase air & rail is expected to last until October 29, 2022, after which an in-depth analysis of the project will be conducted, with partners evaluating options for further implementation and development of the service. The Thalys train connection, which replaces one KLM flight from/to Brussels to/from Amsterdam (Schiphol station), runs daily and takes approximately 1.5 hours.

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