Air Canada has launched air-to-rail booking options for passengers connecting at European airports in select countries.
With this integration, passengers can book Air Canada flights and rail services with four major European passenger rail systems on a single itinerary, which facilitates easy connections between different modes of travel.
Air Canada Launches Air-to-Rail Connections in Europe
Air Canada has launched new air-to-rail booking options for passengers connecting at European airports.
This intermodal integration is available in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, as a result of a partnership between Air Canada and Lufthansa Express Rail Product, AccesRail, and WorldTicket. With these partnerships and collaborations, passengers can access trains operated by France’s TGV-SNCF Voyageurs, Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, Swiss Federal Railways or ÖBB, the national railway of Austria.
Passengers booking an Air Canada flight can book an onward rail connection at European airports on the same itinerary.
When it comes time to travel, you’ll be able to check in for all segments of the trip prior to departure, which means that you’ll get your air and rail tickets in one go. Upon arrival, you’ll be able to collect your bags and head straight to the train without needing to get your onward train ticket.
Furthermore, in the event of any flight delays or disruptions, passengers will be rebooked on both air and rail segments.
The air-to-rail connections are available at select airports and to select onward destinations.
In France, passengers can connect at Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport to 22 SNCF Voyageurs high-speed rail destinations across France, including Nantes, Bordeaux, Marseille, and Strasbourg.
In Germany, Air Canada is building on its existing intermodal connections with Lufthansa Express Rail, and passengers can access over 5,600 railway stations across Germany through Deutsche Bahn’s Rail and Fly products from Frankfurt and Munich.
Furthermore, Air Canada plans to launch codeshare on German rail in 2024 on Lufthansa Express Rail, which would add additional benefits to select passengers.
In Switzerland, passengers arriving in Zurich or Geneva on an Air Canada flight can connect to Swiss Federal Railways to reach 11 stations throughout the country, including Basel and Lucerne.
In Austria, Air Canada passengers arriving in Vienna can connect to ÖBB rail service to nine station, including Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck.
For eligible destinations, the booking process is live on the Air Canada website, and intermodal air/rail itineraries may be booked using cash. Air/rail intermodal bookings aren’t available via Aeroplan at this time.
How to Book Air/Rail Tickets with Air Canada
When you’re searching for flights, you can choose a railway station as your destination instead of the airport in your destination city. You can also just enter the city’s name, and you’ll see results for both flights and rail, if they exist.
Then, as long as you’ve entered an eligible itinerary on the Air Canada website, it’s clearly displayed that part of the journey is by rail. The rail segment is given a flight number, but it’s very clearly shown that you’re travelling by rail for some segments.
On the fare summary page, you can see all of the information about your trip, with the rail service connected to the air service in both directions.
If you book in business class, it’s not clear if you’ll get a higher class of service on trains, too. We’re looking into this, and will update this article as we find out any more information.
A New Era of Air Travel
With Air Canada now offering intermodal itineraries in Europe, passengers will be able to seamlessly connect to trains upon their arrival at eligible airports.
As a reminder, Deutsche Bahn became the first non-airline Star Alliance partner in 2022.
While intermodal air/rail bookings have existed for a long time, through Lufthansa Express Rail, Swiss Air Rail, and more, Deutsche Bahn joining Star Alliance paves the way for greater integration between air carriers and rail lines going forward.
Just as passengers in premium classes or with elite status enjoy benefits when travelling on other Star Alliance carriers, we can expect to see priority benefits, class-of-service perks like lounge access, and more as intermodal collaboration increases.
Furthermore, some countries in Europe are putting restrictions on short-haul flights when there’s an appropriate alternative with rail instead.
It’s likely that there will be more curtailing of short-haul flights as airlines and railways work towards promoting more sustainable travel, both in Europe and beyond.
Air Canada has launched intermodal air/rail bookings in Europe. Passengers travelling to and from select destinations in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and France can book connections between rail and air services on a single itinerary.
Fortunately, you’ll be able to check in for both the air and rail segments, and if you’re delayed, you’ll be rebooked on both.
The feature is now live on the Air Canada website, available for cash bookings throughout the schedule.