Eurostar on Monday Night

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by 33Hz, 4 Jan 2017.

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  1. 33Hz

    33Hz Member

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    On Monday night I had the dubious pleasure of travelling back from Paris by Eurostar. I'd already received an SMS in the morning telling customers to check in 1 hour early and luckily I'd been unable to book a train that was <1 hour from my incoming connection.

    However, turning up 1 hour early I was greeted with a massive crowd of people snaking around the whole lower concourse of Gare du Nord. That was probably just the Brits because everyone else seemed to be barging to the front.

    I found one member of Eurostar staff who had no clue and couldn't help with access to the Business Premier check in.

    There was one member of Eurostar staff with a handheld speaker (not a megaphone but something the size of a mobile phone) trying to organise people, but he could not be heard more than a few metres away.

    After more than 2 hours I eventually made it upstairs to be greeted by more queues. The source of the problem? Only a few UK passport booths open. The train left 1.5 hours late because in addition to this delay, staff then had to kick out all the people who got on our train but were booked on the later train. There was no checking whatsoever after the x-ray machines to stop jokers doing this. To top it off, it was announced the buffet cars were out of hot food and drinks before we'd even passed Saint Denis. I just made a connection getting me home at 1 AM but anyone on the later trains with onward journeys was probably going to have to stay in London for the night.


    The only response Eurostar could give was that it was a really busy day for travelers, but this is absolutely pathetic. The trains were booked up long before Christmas (as evidenced by not being able to get the one I wanted and only a few seats left on the next one) and yet there are not enough passport booths open, no crowd control to speak of and staff were totally ill-equipped to manage the situation.

    This is the third such incident I have had were a train has left late due to check in delays, but it is by far the worst. The days of the reliable 10 minute check in are long gone. I can understand delays caused by bad weather, a technical breakdown or even illegal immigrants trying to get through the Channel Tunnel, but this is a totally artificial situation that is completely unnecessary. I am due another Carte Blanche in the next few weeks but I can see it being my last now. Eurostar can no longer be relied on for anything involving multiple legs and the difficulty in getting domestic CIV tickets is just the icing on the cake.


    p.s. the e320 interiors are still a poor relation to the DB class 407 Velaro D, which I had the opportunity to compare immediately before.
     
  2. theageofthetra

    theageofthetra Established Member

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    So basically all the fault of UKBA who failed to resource the passport booths adequately. I have given up with E* over security concerns, poor service and the crime ridden hell hole that is GDN.
     
  3. 33Hz

    33Hz Member

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    UKBA are for sure the primary cause and have been for some time. I don't know if they really don't give a monkey's or are trying to make Eurostar go away.

    However Eurostar were totally unprepared. They couldn't even get some barrier ropes or access to the station tannoy, yet alone a megaphone, to let people know what was going on.

    The selling point of Eurostar - namely the quick check in to beat having to queue at the airport - has been eroded to the point of it becoming completely unreliable to plan a multi-hop trip. I was queuing for longer than the entire time it would take to check in and fly.
     
  4. HowardGWR

    HowardGWR Established Member

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    WHAT I miss from this unfortunate story (my sympathies,it sounds horrendous) is the bit where the UKBA spokesman responds to your complaint to UKBA with their explanation.

    Without that, I could imagine any reasons for what occurred. You have emailed them, I suppose?
     
  5. 33Hz

    33Hz Member

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    To get a canned response? No thanks. Eurostar need to liaise with the UKBA to get this sorted out. This wasn't a one-off and it's going to cost them business.
     
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