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Air Canada Launches Air + Rail Connections in Europe

Passengers arriving in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria can connect to rail with a single ticket

by Lauren Smith

December 12, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of CNW Group / Air Canada

Air Canada customers can now book their flights to France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria and onward train journeys on one ticket, simplifying their trips and giving them coverage for missed connections.

Air Canada’s new intermodal booking service allows travelers to check in for both their flight to Europe and their onward rail journey before they take off from Toronto (YYZ) or Montréal (YUL).

Four Countries in Europe

Upon their arrival in Europe, they can seamlessly connect to the national rail services of France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria without having to purchase additional tickets at the train station. If their trip is delayed or disrupted, both their airfare and train tickets will be rebooked.

Photo: Air Canada, Airbus A330-300. Courtesy of John McArthur / Unsplash.

Air Canada said its air-to-rail service not only provides convenience for travelers but also helps them choose trains for the short-haul parts of their journey, making their journey greener.

“As a leading global airline, Air Canada excels at flying, but we also know intermodal connections can enrich the travel experience through added convenience and by promoting sustainability,” said Mark Galardo, Executive Vice President of Revenue and Network Planning at Air Canada

“In offering easy onward airport connections with the national rail systems in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, we are creating intermodal hubs and opening the door for customers to reach stations at major cities and popular destinations throughout these countries,” he added.

Photo: SNCF, France. Courtesy of Antoine Schibler / Unsplash

Travelers flying into Paris can book onward train journeys from Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) with SNCF Voyageurs, the passenger rail arm of the French national rail company. Through the codeshare program, they have access to 22 high-speed rail destinations across France, including Bordeaux, Marseille, Nantes, and Strasbourg.

Paris is one of Air Canada’s most popular destinations, with 38 weekly departures to the City of Lights from Montréal in January and 28 from Toronto.

In Germany, Air Canada is working with Deutsche Bahn and fellow Star Alliance member Lufthansa’s Express Rail program to offer intermodal connections from Frankfurt Airport (FRA), where the Canadian carrier lands more than 80 planes a week.

Photo: Deutsche Bahn train. Courtesy of Daniel Abadia

From Frankfurt, travelers can access 24 stations within Germany. They can also use Deutsche Bahn’s Rail and Fly service from Frankfurt and Munich (MUC) airports to reach an additional 5,600 rail stations in Germany. Air Canada intends to introduce codesharing with Deutsche Bahn next year.

In Switzerland, Air Canada passengers landing in Zurich (ZRH) and Geneva (GVA) can connect directly to Swiss Federal Railways trains to reach 11 stations throughout Switzerland, including Basel and Lucerne. Air Canada operates 29 weekly flights to Zurich from Toronto and 19 to Geneva from Montréal.

Photo: Courtesy of Zurich Airport

Passengers flying on one of Air Canada’s 19 weekly flights to Vienna (VIE) can seamlessly connect to ÖBB services to nine railway stations across Austria, including Innsbruck, Linz, and Salzburg.

Back to Full Capacity

The new air-to-rail service is launching as Air Canada gears up to operate 100% of its 2019 transatlantic capacity for the first time since the pandemic next summer. The airline will operate 53 routes to 31 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India next summer, with its Toronto and Montréal offering the third and fifth most transatlantic seats of all North American airports.

Photo: Air Canada, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy of John McArthur / Unsplash

Air Canada isn’t the only airline helping passengers connect effortlessly to onward travel in Europe. Fellow Star Alliance member United Airlines has also partnered with Deutsche Bahn to offer single ticket connections to rail from Frankfurt Airport. United customers will also earn miles for their rail travel through the MileagePlus frequent flyer program.

Meanwhile, Air France is expanding its longstanding Train + Air service, which has allowed passengers to book train travel to and from Parisian airports on one ticket for more than 30 years. Eight new routes are now available from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Paris-Orly Airport (ORY), including to the new destinations of Arras, Laval, Lille Flanders, and Perpignan.