Only a year after the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull caused travel chaos for millions of passengers, this month, a second volcanic ash cloud cancelled over 200 flights over Northern Europe. Fortunately, it was not as serious as first thought. Can travel disruption motivate us to build a real multimodal travel network?
When this year's volcanic eruption happened, cancelled flights forced passengers to seek for alternative transport modes. The one exception was in Berlin, where Lufthansa offered passengers the possibility to exchange their tickets for rail vouchers. This was possible, thanks to Lufthansa's interlining agreement with Deutsche Bahn. Making it easier for passengers to book their travel using multiple providers.
Such agreements should be an example for the whole travel industry. Innovation in technology has the potential to streamline travel brand's services, offering a seamless travel experience.
Interline agreements: a road to a single multimodal network
The release of the European Commission Whitepaper - Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - provides a vision of a fully integrated European travel network that will encompass all modes of transport.
European interline agreements form the quickest route to fulfilling the EU whitepaper's vision. No open access to a rail distribution network (meaning access to full fares and timetables) means lack of European interline agreements. How to overcome this challenge? A European standard is needed in order to ensure that travellers benefit from a total seamless travel experience. For railways would mean an opportunity to start capturing new business from other modes of transport.
A European standard will secure that travellers across Europe could keep moving in the event of a disruption.