October 9th saw Malaysia Airlines and French state railway company SNCF sign an agreement that will enable single bookings to be made directly to 19 French cities. From Malaysia passengers will be in possession of a ticket that enables them to transfer on to a SNCF TGV service at Charles de Gaulle’s TGV station that will then take them onto their chosen destination. The TGV train will be issued an airline style flight number which will be used on the ticket, and by travel agents and airlines on the booking network.
The agreement adds Malaysia to the growing number of airlines who see value in partnerships with High Speed Rail operators, and as I highlighted here, for whom there’s value in bringing their flight network into the heart of European cities.
This also means French railway stations such as Lille Europe, Poitiers and Bordeaux’s St Jean are now part of the Malaysia airlines network.
What are the Advantages? Where is the value?
As I explained here this initiative promotes Inter-modal convenience and the call for a single booking process. For this agreement specifically, 2 excellent advantages are mentioned that promote the targets of the “Joined Up Journey”, the second of which is strangely undermarketed.
- Passengers can now make a single booking at their travel agents to and from any of the French cities to Malaysia. There’s no need to buy both a train ticket and a flight ticket, and spend ages trying to pick two services that are convenient.
- The entire booking is protected. If the train is late and the flight is missed you will be helped and rebooked in the same way as if your connecting flight was missed. The train service is now treated in exactly the same way as a flight. This is a huge bonus psychologically and I think really helps sell the service.
Which cities are included? Where can I go?
The list of French cities covered by the agreement are below, together with their stations that now benefit, and their IATA airport codes. (Clicking on the 3-letter airport code will take you to a Google Map that shows where the station is). Travel agencies with websites that sell this channel should support you entering these codes as your departure or destination ‘airport’. I checked today with Expedia and it works!
- Aix-en-Provence TGV = QXB
- Angers St Laud = QXG
- Avignon TGV = XZN
- Bordeaux St Jean = ZFQ
- Reims / Champagne-Ardenne TGV = XIZ
- Le Mans = XLN
- Lille Europe = XDB
- Lorraine TGV = XZI
- Lyon Part-Dieu = XYD
- Marseille St Charles = XRF
- Montpellier St Roch = XPJ
- Nantes = QJZ
- Nimes = ZYN
- Poitiers = XOP
- Rennes = ZFJ
- Tours (St Pierre des Corps) = XSH
- Strasbourg = XWG
- Toulon = XZV
- Valence TGV = XHK
The Malaysia Airlines Press Release announcing this agreement can be found here.