TMC Navan has launched a new sustainability feature enabling travellers to switch more easily between air and rail options during a search when both are viable options for the journey.
The new “Train v Plane” feature alerts travellers searching for flights in Navan’s booking platform when trains are available for the same route and presents a button to click to show rail options.
A traveller who still wishes to fly after viewing the alternative rail journeys can click another button to return to the flight options.
Navan, which was formerly known as TripActions before rebranding earlier this year, launched a beta version of Train v Plane in September, and the company said that more than half of the beta users in Europe and the US had engaged with the new feature.
The development was partly inspired by recent moves in France to ban certain short-haul domestic flight routes when there is a viable rail alternative. Navan reported that since September 2022, domestic rail bookings within France increased 54 per cent, with the largest increases on the routes affected by the ban.
Navan added that bookings for rail travel originating in the EU in general have seen a “steady increase” recently, including a 29 per cent increase in March compared with the previous month.
“As more of these short-haul flight bans are mandated across Europe, Navan remains ahead by ensuring we have the appropriate inventory, coupled with as much self-service functionality as possible for our customers,” said Navan’s director of rail partnerships Stephanie Weaver in a blog post.
Navan points out that corporates can also “significantly reduce spending” when their travellers choose a train journey over a flight. The TMC’s analysis of train and flight prices on intra-Europe journeys over the past year found that taking the train produced an average saving of €92.30 per booking.
The Train v Plane feature is an extension of Navan's Sustainability Suite, which provides data and insights on tracking, measuring and reporting an organisation's carbon impact from business travel. The TMC started showing travellers information on carbon emissions in the booking process in November 2022, with the aim of "empowering them to make more proactive carbon-conscious choices".