Vive les Français!
Let’s hope this is a sign of the coming times. The French—I assume this refers to the French Assembly, the legislative branch of the French government—have just voted to ban all domestic flights if the same journey can be accomplished by train in two-and-a-half hours or less.
As near as I can figure it, should this become law, it would only apply to flights within France. But the same concept—and God knows, it’s a valid one—could end all flights between London and Paris because the Eurostar high-speed trains routinely take you from downtown London to the Gare du Nord in the middle of Paris in about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
And forget about flying from London to Brussels. Eurostar makes that trip in two hours flat.
There was an occasion a couple of years ago when I flew from Paris’s de Gaulle to London’s Heathrow, but I was connecting with a flight out of Heathrow to Boston. At that time, since there was a connecting flight, it never occurred to me that it might have been better to take Eurostar.
Think of the impact a law like this could have on this country. Would not flights between Washington and New York be affected? And, by George, there’s also the 45-minute flight between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston that Southwest Airlines has been fighting so hard to preserve by opposing the construction of the high-speed rail line linking those two cities.
I feel compelled to add here that although flights among and between the four main islands here in Hawaii are all under two-and-a-half hours, there are no trains running inter-island.