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I just read this blog post which describes a scenario where booking a flight at United's web site offers a connecting "flight" which is actually an Amtrak train. Although the itinerary starts at DAY (Dayton airport) and connects at EWR (Newark), the destination is given as ZFV-- the Philadelphia 30th St train station.

Despite this, the last leg is still listed as "flight" UA 3174. If you look up flight 3174 at PlaneFinder the "Aircraft" is "TRN", which I guess is "train".

My question is: WTF? OK, better questions are:

  1. How common is this? Just at Newark, or other places? Just United, or other airlines?
  2. Does United do anything special to let people know that their connecting flight is actually a train, besides a tiny note about the "aircraft" type? It's not super complex to get from a flight to the train station at EWR, but if you don't realize you need a train you might look over the flight departures board. Would you find it?
  3. What kind of ticket do you get for the train leg of the trip? Do they hand you a train ticket at check-in?
  4. If you have checked bags, are they checked through to the train?
  5. When the train arrives, do they announce United flight 3174? Does the train conductor announce it that way while en route?

closed as too broad by choster, Gayot Fow, drat, Dirty-flow, VMAtm Aug 6 '15 at 10:02

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This is pretty common to happen when the distance is too short for a plane or other considerations.

For example:

From Newark to Allentown the service is a bus provided by Trans Bridge Lines.

This is not limited to Newark as @AntiVeeranna pointed out. It is very common in Europe and is getting more and more common in the US as I have recently found that some airlines flying to New York sell tickets on Martz Trailways lines to go to Poconos.

Normally these flights may not be shown on the timetable at the airport but airline employees are able to looks this up if it's not printed on the ticket.

The luggage in this case is collected by you at the carousels as you normally would. You would then take it to the departure platform and put it on the train or a bus as if a separate departure.

The buses and trains don't announce it as flights for the airlines but your ticket will allow you to board and the conductors/bus drivers are trained to handle this correctly.

P.S. More on the bus codeshare

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Not a complete answer, but too long for a comment.

This is somewhat common in Europe, for example this blog post describes the Lufthansa AirRail service from CGN to DUB via FRA, where CGN-FRA leg is on a train, that has a flight number.

There is check-in desk at the train station, where you can check in your baggage and will get the boarding passes (rail leg has a separate boading pass).

Train has a separate dedicated coach for such passengers.

Once you reach the airport, you do not have to worry about your luggage any more, but you will have to pass through security as anyone else

Wikipedia has list of a few other train-airline code shares.

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