for Easter the trains are full “as in the 19”

Christophe Fanichet, CEO of SNCF Voyageurs, had already unveiled the trend a week ago, since then it has been confirmed: SNCF has returned to its pre-crisis traffic level for spring break and even slightly exceeds the 2019 level. Easter weekend should be just as busy. A good omen for the summer holidays.

For this holiday period, distributed between April 8 and 9 by school zones, the SNCF announces that it has sold 7.2 million tickets on long-distance trains. This represents a growth of 3% compared to 2019. The contrast is stark with last year, with three times more tickets sold. In any case, it must be said that the spring break of 2021 had then fallen in full during the third national confinement.

SNCF concerned about the weakness of business travel

late decision

At the beginning of April, SNCF had already sold close to 5 million tickets. The momentum then continued with 2.5 million more bookings in the last two weeks. SNCF, like other long-distance transport operators, is also seeing purchases closer to departure date. Therefore, travelers tend to delay their decision until before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Easter also contributes strongly to this dynamic. For this extended weekend, the SNCF announces that it has sold more than one million tickets. It is as much as before the crisis. It thus indicates that no less than 2,500 trains, TGV and Intercit├ęs, will circulate during the three days.

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Online shopping is on the rise

Despite the well-known fiasco with the launch of the SNCF Connect application, whose numerous bugs have provoked the ire of travellers, the SNCF announces that online sales have skyrocketed. They increased by 21% compared to 2019, with more than 8.3 million tickets sold (TGV, Intercit├ęs and TER) on the site and the application. This digitization of sales also contributes to late purchase decisions: 40% of tickets booked on the app were booked in the weeks before travel.

A few days ago, the Trainline reservation platform noted a 12% growth in sales for the Easter holiday period, compared to 2019. In a press release, it thus noted a strong dynamism with a growth of reservations to Lyon, Montpellier. and Aix-en-Provence in France, as well as Amsterdam and Brussels in Europe.

Trainline also highlights that half of the stays are less than or equal to three days and 30% between 4 and 7 days. The average ticket price is 48 euros and the platform notes a significant drop in fares on the Paris-Lyon (-23%) and Lyon-Paris (-30%) trains with the arrival of competition from Trenitalia at the end of 2021.

The holidays are also marked by the launch of the “Ouigo classic train”, which now connects Paris with Lyon and Nantes with Coral trains clad in candy pink. On the program, longer travel times and numerous stops but reduced prices with a flat rate, in a context of high inflation in France.

SNCF launches its Ouigo low cost offer for Paris-Lyon and Paris-Nantes

The plane and the train already in shape for the summer

This momentum, therefore, continues to strengthen in line with that of the first quarter when the rail operator transported a number of leisure passengers almost equivalent to that of three years ago, at the same time. On the other hand, concerns remain about business travelers, whose traffic level is still 50% lower than in 2019.

The buoyancy of spring break should continue based on early booking trends for the summer period. These are equivalent to those of 2019, indicated Christophe Fanichet last week, while he specified that it is only a small percentage at the moment.

The trends for the summer are also good in the air, where tickets are reserved more in advance (although the time has also been shortened by the crisis). Thus, Air France records higher booking rates than in 2019, while low-cost airlines increase line listings.

This is also the case for Easyjet, which is currently experiencing strong growth with the reduction of health restrictions with the British market, the main provider of tourists in France. The company expects to recover 100% of its 2019 capacity this summer. It was already at 80% in March.