Getting A Private Flight Is Now Cheaper Than Getting The Train In The UK

by : Francesca Donovan on : 01 Apr 2017 16:37
undefinedTom Church/Supplied

This man has figured out it’s cheaper to travel around the UK on a private jet than it is to take the train.


You might think adventuring close to home and exploring the Great British Isles would be a cheaper way to escape from the daily grind. But as train ticket prices soar, you may want to look further afield to feed your wanderlust.

But that doesn’t mean you have to wait in line with the world and his dog at departures, or spend six hours cramped next to a screaming baby, trying to keep down the delights of cheap food on a ‘no frills’ aeroplane.

Just watch how self-titled life-hacker and extreme bargain hunter, Tom Church travels in the clip below:


Tom, 26, flew from London to Newcastle in a private plane – living the high life as the only passenger – for less than half the price of a train ticket.

If Tom had taken the train from London King’s Cross at 17:00 it would have arrived at 19:50. Instead, his private pilot took off at the same time from Elstree Aerodrome, near Watford, and delivered Tom safely to the North at 18:30.

undefinedTom Church/Supplied

Unbelievably, the journey was nearly twice as fast and the flight cost £67.

The train, according to the prices set out by Trainline, cost £146.

Tom Church/Supplied

To pull off his financially-sound time-saving trick, Tom used a service called Wingly, which connects hobbyist pilots with the public.

Tom put a message on the website asking if anyone could take him to Newcastle to see some friends.

Tom Church/Supplied

Tom received a number of offers from fully-qualified and licensed pilots who offered to take him up to Newcastle with them on pre-planned trips, or just for fun.

Tom explained:

You can go in a private plane as the only passenger and it’s cheaper than the train. The perception that flying is a rich man’s hobby is over. Now anyone can do it and it can save you money.

Tom Church/Supplied

For them, it’s about spreading the joy of flying, taking routes they wouldn’t normally do and offsetting some of the cost.

The booking is then arranged direct with the pilot. Tom even got a personal text message confirming the aircraft was fuelled and ready to go.

Tom described the flight, telling UNILAD it was ‘unlike any normal trip’:

There’s no check-in, no baggage handling, no bothersome security. It’s just you and the pilot.

We were surfing on the clouds and Andrew, the pilot, explained how it all works. We saw rainbows and beautiful clouds. I will definitely be doing it again.

Tom Church/Supplied

Tom Church, who co-founded LatestDeals.co.uk and recently brought up the secret Domino’s pizza deals hack, said:


This is a wake up call to Transport Minister Chris Grayling. When flying between UK cities is cheaper than the train, you know something’s gone wrong.

Members of my bargain hunting community had long been complaining about the price of train tickets. It’s one of Britain’s worst problems.

So I started to research alternative means for long-distance travel. Going by bus is the cheapest, but it takes too long. There’s no option by boat or ferry. So I turned to the sky.

undefinedTom Church/Supplied

Wingly connects the public to pilots who fly all over the world, across Eurasia.

Andrew Hyett, the pilot, added:

I think this is a great idea. I was flying from London to Newcastle anyway, so it makes sense to take someone with me.

This has to be the best kept secret in travel – which, thanks to Wingly, just got a lot cooler and cheaper.

Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.

Topics: Featured, Best


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