STIB busEvery country has its scheme to get more money out of travellers going to and from the airport than would otherwise be the fare for a journey of the same distance. STIB, the Brussels public transport, has a new one for the Airport Express buses 11 and 12 from Zaventem to Schuman. Tickets cost €4 if you buy them on the bus, and €3 if you buy them beforehand, only there’s no way to buy a ticket beforehand at the airport – so everyone gets fleeced for an extra Euro.

This is quite mild in comparison to the ‘Leonardo Express’, the train between Fiumicino Airport (FCO) and Roma Termini railway station. The train is run by FS, the main Italian rail company, and rather than change their pricing structure per kilometre they instead make the airport train a 1st class only service, but still use 2nd class carriages. Classy.

Then there is the UK. Stansted Express is just damned bad value – £26 for a return ticket on a commuter train just painted a different colour. Heathrow Express into London is at least comfortable and efficient, but for 15 minutes it must be one of the most expensive rail journeys anywhere.


  1. William White

    Just take the de Lijn bus to Roodebeek – reasonably fast, and no supplement at all.

  2. Yes, OK, I am here and I can buy that ticket… But at the time I wrote that piece it was deliberately tougher on people arriving from elsewhere. There might be a ticket machine at Zaventem now – thankfully I have not been there for a number of months.

  3. What a fuzz about nothing! Once you’re in Brussels, you can buy a 10 trip card “Airtport Line” for € 21. So only €2,1 for every trip to the Airport and no need to buy a ticket at the driver anymore.

  4. I go in and out of Heathrow quite a bit, I cant be bothered to drag my suitcase around the airport going up escalators and downstairs – especially lately when there have been alot of renovation work going on.
    I just have a driver from meet me inside who will take care of my luggage take me to his car and get into central london in air conditioned comfort.
    If there are 2 or more people travelling together its madness getting a bus or train it works out even cheaper than the heathrow express.

  5. Margarita

    Oops, I always used a normal ticket to get to the Brussels national airport and back ( about 6 times already) Did I break the law? 🙁

  6. Thanks to some investigation by a friend in Brussels, complaints about this should be directed to:

    Christophe Delgado
    Relations clientele
    STIB, Ave de la Toison D’or 15
    B-1050 Bruxelles

    Apparently a machine will be installed at Zaventem in April!?! Why so long? Maybe because it’s in Flanders and that’s like operating in a different country…?

  7. giacomo

    I never liked the Venetian habit of treating tourists as they were chickens worth to be plucked… but it seems not to be only a Venetian bad habit…

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