Delta expands its Air + Rail program in Europe


Delta Air Lines is greatly expanding its service that allows passengers to fly to Europe and then connect to a train, all while traveling on the same ticket.

The Atlanta-based carrier last week announced an expansion of its Air + Rail service, just over a year after launching the option to travel between Amsterdam and two rail destinations in Belgium. Now, Delta is adding an additional 20 destinations to the air/rail program. It comes as more airlines are adding rail partners for European travel.

Related: Deutsche Bahn joins Star Alliance to become first non-airline member

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If you’re traveling to Europe in the future, linking your air and rail tickets might be something to consider for the sake of simplicity, though be sure to check and ensure you’re getting the best deal on both the air and rail portions. of your trip

We found occasions where the cost of booking the flight and train together was cheaper than booking the two parts separately. Other times, the air/train combination was quite comparable to the price of booking each ticket individually, with other instances where I might have been better off, price-wise, by booking the air and train separately.

As always, you’ll want to balance price, ease of travel, and any other booking preferences you have as you shop for your tickets.


Delta Air + Rail

Delta first launched its Air + Rail option in August 2021. Since then, travelers have been able to book a flight to Amsterdam, with a rail connection to the Belgian cities of Brussels or Antwerp.

Now the airline is preparing to greatly expand the list of destinations served as part of a series of similar partnerships.

Additional air and rail options are:

  • Fly to Brussels, connect on a train to Breda or Rotterdam in the Netherlands via the rail operator SNBC
  • Fly to Manchester, England and connect by train to one of seven UK destinations via TransPennine Express
  • Fly to Rome, connect on a train to one of four Italian destinations, including Bologna or Florence, with Trenitalia
  • Fly to Zurich or Geneva and connect to one of seven Swiss destinations with SBB

How does it work

The reason why booking your plane and train ticket together with an airline can be useful is that it makes things simpler first and foremost. You will travel with a single reservation and have a single confirmation number for your plane and train tickets.

As part of Delta’s partnerships, if you experience any delays during your travels, whether at the airport or train station, you’ll automatically be rebooked on a later train or plane. This is certainly easier than the rebooking effort you’ll face when traveling on separate itineraries for the rail and air portions of your trip.

Once on the ground in Europe, you’ll go through customs, collect your luggage (no, it won’t be automatically transferred to the train), and head to the station. There, you board the train you are already booked on to continue to your final destination.

While Delta will sell you the train ticket, you will manage the train-specific portions of your reservation through the AccesRail third-party online platform. There you will be able to check in for your train travel 72 hours before your departure using your Delta confirmation number.

Most Delta passengers will travel by coach on the rail portion of the trip, but Delta One customers will travel in the “premium” car.

Reserve your trip

When you go to book your trip, you can connect a train station located in one of the eligible cities as your final destination.

I tried this, for example, using one of the cities that already has Delta Air + Rail service: Antwerp, Belgium. You’ll want to look for the “includes train” notation when making your reservation.


As for the April dates, a round trip from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Antwerp costs $1,243 on Delta. It says there is a stop at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), just like it would when you have a layover, but in this case, you won’t be getting on another plane.


After arriving at Schiphol at 5:55am, you should have plenty of time to clear customs before taking the 7:34am train to Antwerp.


So I wanted to see how much train travel was adding to my plane ticket, so I decided to test it out by connecting a simple round-trip flight between New York and Amsterdam, with no train connection. When I did this, the price was actually up not including train travel — at $1,324. So in this case adding a train connection made things cheaper for me.


Let’s take a look at one of the new routes: Bologna, Italy, which can be reached by train after flying to Rome.

A round trip in March, by train, costs $1,071; You will have to change trains a couple of times between Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO) and Bologna train station.


The round-trip flights to Rome alone would have cost a little over $100 less, at $955.


However, checking train prices aboard Delta’s Italy partner airline, Trenitalia, train travel can often cost anywhere from $40 to $70 one way, so price-wise, it’s Fairly comparable to booking separately, although in this case, you may be able to find a more direct route. train route if you book the train part separately.


Earn SkyMiles

One of the big questions sure to come up here: Can you earn more Delta SkyMiles by booking your flight and train together? Not from now on, says Delta. Currently, you will only earn miles for the air portion of your trip.

However, because the train segment is included in the total price you pay for the fare to Delta, it should appear on your credit card statement as an airline purchase. For that reason, if you have a credit card that gives you points or bonus miles on airline purchases or Delta purchases, you can earn much more by buying train tickets through Delta instead of paying a third-party rail operator.

A Delta Air Lines aircraft at the gate at Dulles International Airport (IAD). SEAN CUDAHY/THE BOY WITH THE POINTS

Bottom line

With 20 new destinations, Delta’s Air + Rail service might be something to consider if you’re prepared to book your train tickets when you book your airfare. You won’t earn SkyMiles directly by traveling by train, but it could simplify your travel itinerary on your next trip abroad.

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