Travelling by plane

Air travel 

We recognise that the largest source of transport carbon is international travel.  

We encourage all University staff to make flying for business the last option, even when travelling internationally. However, on those occasions when you really do need to attend a meeting overseas in person please bear in mind the following. They all help to reduce our negative environmental impacts:  

  • avoid flying when on business in the UK  
  • if you do fly, choose to travel economy 
  • for a full support service and to get the best deals for travel, whether short or long haul, make your booking through our preferred supplier by visiting our Travel preferred suppliers page.

Did you know

Evidence suggests that up to a distance of around 500 miles, rail travel compares very favourably in terms of travel time with travelling by plane.  

  • on journeys of less than 250 miles, conventional rail will usually be faster than air for point-to-point journeys (e.g. London to Manchester is 184 miles by rail, London to Brussels 232 miles) 
  • on journeys below 500 miles, high-speed rail has the potential to enable significant shift from air to rail (e.g. London to Edinburgh 393 miles by rail, London to Amsterdam 376 miles) 

We therefore recommend that staff travelling on business between destinations on the UK mainland should go by rail rather than air. The same applies for journeys between England and Paris, Brussels or other Eurostar destinations
Over 500 miles, however, flying is likely to be faster in terms of overall door-to-door journey time. As a result the rail option would need to have other advantages such as significantly lower prices, to be competitive in terms of time and money. For example, cities such as Berlin (748 miles from London by rail) and Milan (874 miles) are over this threshold.

For more reasons to travel and commute by train (including season ticket loans) please visit our rail travel discounts page.


Business Travel Toolkit

Save time, money and choose the most appropriate travel mode by reading the University Business Travel Toolkit.



Contact us

Sustainable Travel team

+44 (0) 1865 2 88782