10 Reasons to choose the high-speed Sapsan over a Russian Plane

10 Reasons to choose the high-speed Sapsan over a Russian Plane

Last Updated on October 5, 2022

Many travelers to Russia long to see St. Petersburg and Moscow. However, it takes most visitors a while to even get to Russia. In the past, the eight-hour overnight train trip or plane trip wasted a lot of vacation time. That is, until Sapsan trains zoomed on the scene. High-speed Sapsan trains cut down the travel time and are more predictable. Although there are several ways to travel between the two metropolises, the Sapsan St. Petersburg to Moscow route (and the trip in the other direction) is a time saver, a hassle preventer and an experience in and of itself.

1. The Hassle Factor

At first glance, the 1h 50min LED-DME flight time might seem appetizing. Nevertheless, when factoring in the two hours of time spent checking in, checking bags, going through security, waiting at the gate, waiting on the plane and reclaiming baggage, this time is extended. That amount of effort is needed even if everything goes well with the flight. Meanwhile, train stations only have quick baggage x-rays. Passport control isn’t an issue. Arriving 20 minutes early to a Sapsan train usually suffices.

2. Reliability

A little-known fact is that Russian trains run like an atomic clock. That makes a Sapsan a fast and reliable time saver. Three minutes is an uncommon delay for a Russian train. On the other hand, delays and cancellations plague plane trips. In winter, the likelihood of unforeseen problems elevates.

3. Baggage

Airlines usually charge extra fees for baggage. Only 7kg of luggage can stay with passengers on a plane, therefore, on an international trip, lost checked luggage can be disastrous. Replacing needed clothing and items in a foreign country is a huge hassle and expense, when it’s possible. However, trains rarely even weigh luggage to see if it meets the 36kg limit. Passengers really need only be able to handle their luggage, and the risk of losing it is lower.

4. Comfort

Sapsan’s economy class and Rossiya airlines have similar seats. However, Sapsan’s open plan allows for greater room to stretch out and move around on a train car. Rossiya’s planes are in their senior years and the cabins are cramped. With Business Class Sapsan tickets, tables for meeting and power outlets can even make the fast trip a productive one. In First Class, passengers can expect to actually recharge their own batteries with a host of amenities, instead of just pausing between hassles on a train trip. Those making out the best on a Sapsan train are families with under children six. Sapsan has anticipated their needs with a kiddie-carriage with toys.

5. Food


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Plane cuisine usually leaves a lot to be desired. Ever think you’d miss a soggy lettuce-leafed sandwich? Well, most Russian airlines have nixed included food service entirely due to budget cuts and other issues. For those with families or those who don’t like stopping to eat before rushing off to museums, or really anyone for that matter, the Sapsan dining car doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. Rather, with fresh salads, omelets, blini (Russian pancakes) and specialty coffee, it’s a meal to enjoy. The prices are a bit higher than normal though.

6. Entertainment

Short Russian flights lack entertainment. It’s a problem for children, teenagers and the antsy. But realistically, even adult family members and friends need to veg out from one another on long trips. Sapsan train passengers can pick from anything the internet offers with free WiFi. Likewise, the Sapsan entertainment system offers music, movies and audiobooks. An old-fashioned news stand keeps you up to date on world events or lets you practice reading about Russian current events.


Whether you’re traveling for the purpose of getting to know Russia or it’s just a plus while you accomplish something else, it’s much easier to do on a train. Sapsan tickets come with a seldom-mentioned benefit: huge windows!

8. Beautiful, Centrally Located Stations

Train stations in Russia are so beautifully crafted that they rank among the sights to see. Moskovsky Vokzal has romantic wrought iron gates. Leningradsky Vokzal boasts an impressive clock tower. The last stop on your tour of either St. Petersburg or Moscow can be the centrally located station to take you to another city. This eliminates the need to take another form of transportation to the airport.

9. Eco-Friendliness

Plane travel is among the worst things for the environment. Carbon-conscious travelers, who can be anyone on any day, can rest assured that a train ride is less detrimental than a plane trip. When traveling such a short distance, purchasing a Sapsan St. Petersburg to Moscow ticket is a guilt-free no-brainer.

10. Safety

Lastly, a list of advantages of a train wouldn’t be complete without factoring in that trains are safer than planes. In Russia, with an aging fleet and harsh weather, this is all the more true!

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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