Every year British commuters are left despairing at the soaring cost of train fares.
Rail prices rose 3.1% in January, adding hundreds of pounds to the annual cost of travel for people all over the country.
But while extortionate train prices are nothing new, one commuter was left particularly outraged when his return ticket from Stockport to London cost more than a flight to New York.
Ben Hoare, BBC’s wildlife editor, paid a whopping £287 for the luxury of a two-hour standard class return journey on Virgin Trains
To add insult to injury,pictures suggest the train was practically empty.
Ben claimed he got the ‘cheapest ticket available’ a week before travel and that he counted 320 empty seats in 7 standard class coaches the 17.20 return from Euston.
Tweeting about the price he said: ‘Given how much my Stockport-Euston day return (booked a week ago) cost, is it any wonder this Virgin Train is half empty? Something’s v wrong with our railways’.
Virgin Trains responded to the tweet, explaining open return tickets are high in price because of the ‘flexibility’ they offer.
But as many angry twitter users were quick to point out – you could fly to a number of destinations across Europe and beyond for a similar or even cheaper price.
Air Canada are currently offering return flights from Manchester to New York for as little as £286 as early as October.
Although that would require a stop over on the return leg of the journey, direct flights aren’t much more.
In the first week of October a direct flight to the Big Apple from Manchester would cost £297- £10 more than a return train journey to London.
It’s even less if you fly from London, with flights in March next year showing up as £255 on Skyscanner.
A quick search on travel website threw up over 50 countries you could fly to for less than the price of Ben’s train ticket.
Exotic destinations you can fly to for under £287 include Morocco, Gambia and Armenia.
But there are dozens of destinations closer to home you can fly to for well under £200.
Norway is considered one of the most expensive countries in Europe to visit.
But those looking for a last minute city break will find return flights to the capital, Oslo, for £179 – £100 less than Ben’s Stockport to London ticket.
Even if you wanted to hop on a plane tomorrow, there are plenty of last minute flight deals that will set you back less than a train from Manchester to London.
Bare in mind it’s the peak summer holiday season, you can get flights to Amsterdam from Manchester Airport for £191 on Thursday 1st August.
By comparison if you booked a return train from Manchester to London for tomorrow it would set you back anywhere between £249 and £350 if you don’t have a rail card.