That’s according to analysis by Greenpeace
Taking the train to Europe is four times more expensive on average than flying, according to a new Greenpeace analysis.
The environmental group said the price differences are from an uneven regulatory playing field at the expense of the climate and workers’ rights.
Greenpeace analysed ticket prices on more than 100 routes between major European cities including the UK.
Many rail journeys on the continent were found to be twice as expensive as flying despite there being direct routes between cities.
Flying was cheaper on all of the 12 routes from the UK that the team looked at, including between London and Edinburgh.
Travelling to Barcelona from London by train was found to be 10 times more expensive on average than flying and up to 30 times expensive if booked last minute – the biggest price difference in the analysis.
Greenpeace said travelling by train is five times less polluting than flying but on 79 of the 112 routes they looked at between 27 European countries, flying was cheaper.
Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s director of policy, said: “As millions of Brits head off on their European breaks – many to areas that are being scorched by this historic heatwave – the twisted economics of the transport industry means they are being encouraged to keep throwing fuel on the climate inferno.
“Flying only looks like a bargain because the cost of pollution is so cheap. Low-cost airlines are paying negligible tax while imposing low wages and poor conditions on staff.”
Greenpeace called the UK’s 12 routes the “dirty dozen” and said train journeys cannot compete when a ticket to Barcelona from London costs as little as 12.99 euros (£11.10).
Swapping the 3.36 million annual flights on this route to rail would save around approximately 461,000 tons of greenhouse gases, the group said.
They also said 3.4 million passengers fly between London and Edinburgh every year despite there being dozens of train connections every day.
Greenpeace wants the Government to ban short-haul flights where there are viable rail alternatives, end subsidies for airlines and airports, phase out tax exemptions for kerosene and introduce a frequent flyer levy.
It is also calling for the introduction of “climate tickets”, which would allow travel on low-carbon forms of public transport in a country or region.
A separate analysis by the clean transport campaign group Transport and Environment recently found that the UK was missing out on £4.7 billion in tax that it could be taking from the aviation sector.
A Government spokesperson said: “We’re committed to decarbonising air travel without the need to limit demand.
“Our Jet Zero Strategy sets out our approach for net zero aviation by 2050, and recent reforms to air passenger tax means those who fly furthest, and have the greatest impact on emissions, incur a greater cost.”