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Given up on Eurostar

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rmt4ever

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I have travelled many times to both Paris and Brussels (and Lille) always using Eurostar. Until now that is!

I told the Mrs I would take her on an impulsive break to Paris for our anniversary coming up soon (so booking very short notice).

Got a decent price hotel in a good location but when looking at Euro* fares they were really high, obviously due to the short notice.

I had a brainwave, why not use my Avios (of which I have stacks) for the Leisure select Euro* tickets. You have to call them. I did and gave the time and date details. They wanted over 40k Avios EACH for the return fare. Forget that!

Then about to give up, I logged onto by BAEC account and looked for reward flights. Bingo. Every flight from Heathrow to Paris was available on reward flight saver Business Class tickets for the day we want to go, and the return.

Got the perfect times I wanted each way for well under half of what Eurostar wanted for the train tickets.

Of course I had to pay 2x£50 reward flight saver fee. But well worth it considering the much reduced Avios needed for the reward booking.

And then of course, there is the small fact, that these days on Euro* leisure select, or whatever they call it, you no longer get any kind of decent on board service. One or two small cans of beer/cheap wine and a bit of crappy grub. No lounge!

With my BA Business Class reward booking, as much Champagne as I can humanly consume (in the LHR lounge and of course on board) and other decent drinks (including quality spirits) in the lounge and on board, and decent grub.

Of course fast track security and check in are all included as standard!

I never thought I would fly to Paris from London, but here we are... Maybe I will never go back to the train.
 
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Gagravarr

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You pretty much only ever get 0.5p/avios to 0.7p/avios for using Avios to book on the Eurostar. All the details you could (likely...) ever want in this HeadForPoints article

One big advantage of using the Eurostar over BA with Avios is the lack of taxes/fees to pay, and generally better availability as you can opt to pay more avios when the cheapest seats have gone. Right now is a bit unusual with Paris - tourist bookings are well down, and business trips are on their seasonal dip, which is why you're seeing BA make more seats than usual available for avios redemptions
 

JonathanP

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That's quite a specific reason to be furious with E* - that they aren't as generous as the airlines in their acceptance of the points you presumably earned by large amounts of air travel :D

Out of interest, to compare the timings, as an experienced air traveler how much time do you allow at the airport for going through fast track security & checkin?
 

rmt4ever

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That's quite a specific reason to be furious with E* - that they aren't as generous as the airlines in their acceptance of the points you presumably earned by large amounts of air travel :D

Out of interest, to compare the timings, as an experienced air traveler how much time do you allow at the airport for going through fast track security & checkin?

At LHR T5 I'll hope to be there about two hours before!

So I can get some hot lunch (they usually have offerings such as chillie with rice, pasta with cream sauce etc), and a few glasses of champagne in the lounge beforehand. When me and the Mrs have previously gone to the continent in Euro* we always get to St Pan early to have some lunch somewhere and Champagne in the longest Champagne bar, it starts the break off well!

The difference is this time of course, all that will be free!

Usually from getting off train at T5, fast track check in and security, I am in the lounge with a drink in 15 mins tops
 

miami

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At t5, going to Paris (or any euro destination) for the day I'd aim to arrive no more than 1 hour before, ideally 40 minutes but you need to factor in delays getting there.

That's about the same margin I give for Eurostar checkin
 
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Greenback

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I will always defend anyone's right to make the best choice for a particular travel situation. The train doesn't always prove to be the best choice, as we've seen in discussions here time and time again.

It's a shame that rail doesn't win every time, but Eurostar needs to focus on revenue maximisation just like other rail companies. Their business model needs to reflect their priorities, which aren't always going to be exactly the same as all of their potential customers.
 

duesselmartin

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personally I travel twice a year from Düsseldorf to Oxford and find the train is a good alternative. The door to door journey time is about the same as flying. Booking could be easier as SNCB as different offers to DB, the Eurostar site not helpful outside Belgium/France.
 

BigCj34

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I will always defend anyone's right to make the best choice for a particular travel situation. The train doesn't always prove to be the best choice, as we've seen in discussions here time and time again.

It's a shame that rail doesn't win every time, but Eurostar needs to focus on revenue maximisation just like other rail companies. Their business model needs to reflect their priorities, which aren't always going to be exactly the same as all of their potential customers.

Train is always best choice! Just often not cheapest if the journey goes further than London to Paris/Brussels. Sadly, it's difficult to find a deal that competes with airlines when the starting station is not London. The Eurostar should take into account railcard held, as quite often it's cheaper to split the ticket at London with one but it would be beneficial to have a through ticket with the CIV protection.

I have to say though, the Eurostar site is painfully glitchy, especially when looking at destinations such as Switzerland or Germany where it will say such a journey is unavailable.
 

class387

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Train is always best choice! Just often not cheapest if the journey goes further than London to Paris/Brussels. Sadly, it's difficult to find a deal that competes with airlines when the starting station is not London. The Eurostar should take into account railcard held, as quite often it's cheaper to split the ticket at London with one but it would be beneficial to have a through ticket with the CIV protection.

I have to say though, the Eurostar site is painfully glitchy, especially when looking at destinations such as Switzerland or Germany where it will say such a journey is unavailable.
Isn't the 'St Pancras International CIV' ticket, as explained on the seat61 website available with railcard discounts?
 

LeylandLen

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Hope this is the right place for this rant..

Ive not used Eurostar for a few years as took advantage of reduced fares for seniors (60+) when I qualified .. well looking at the menu they seem to have abolished the seniors fares? Not aware of any publicity about it, not that I look for it !
 

BigCj34

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Isn't the 'St Pancras International CIV' ticket, as explained on the seat61 website available with railcard discounts?

It does indeed, so why the actual Eurostar site doesn't I don't know. Loco2 doesn't include French railcards annoyingly, as I have a Carte Jeune also, but from my searching it's not cheaper to split tickets with SNCF anyway.
 

Bletchleyite

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Train is always best choice!

Is it? Yes, I know this is RailUK, but I find Eurostar a shoddy, lackadaisical operation at the best of times, and one that's far more likely to leave you stranded in the event of problems than even the budget airlines (Ryanair possibly excepted).

Should a premium international train service be on a par with Ryanair for customer service? I rather think not.
 

FQTV

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Eurostar is a niche product, with little commercial integration. It should not be an enormous surprise that, in many scenarios, other options will prove cheaper/faster/more convenient/more comfortable.

At the extreme, remember that a regular Cathay Pacific passenger between Hong Kong and Taipei can, easily, also redeem for a taxes-only ticket on BA between London and Paris.

However, they can rattle up and down the Kowloon Canton Railway as many times as they like, and never get anywhere as a result from St Pancras.
 

rmt4ever

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Train is always best choice! Just often not cheapest if the journey goes further than London to Paris/Brussels. Sadly, it's difficult to find a deal that competes with airlines when the starting station is not London. The Eurostar should take into account railcard held, as quite often it's cheaper to split the ticket at London with one but it would be beneficial to have a through ticket with the CIV protection.

I have to say though, the Eurostar site is painfully glitchy, especially when looking at destinations such as Switzerland or Germany where it will say such a journey is unavailable.

How on earth is train always the best choice??? Say travelling from somewhere up north to Paris, south of France, or even Germany etc?? A direct flight will be much much quicker probably cheaper and easier ?

How does that make train the best choice?
 

Senex

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Eurostar is a niche product, with little commercial integration.
It has always seemed to me that one of the problems with the way international rail travel in Europe has been developing over the last couple of decades is that more and more it has become a set of niche products with little commercial integration.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Is it? Yes, I know this is RailUK, but I find Eurostar a shoddy, lackadaisical operation at the best of times, and one that's far more likely to leave you stranded in the event of problems than even the budget airlines (Ryanair possibly excepted).

Should a premium international train service be on a par with Ryanair for customer service? I rather think not.
Very well said!
 

BigCj34

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How on earth is train always the best choice??? Say travelling from somewhere up north to Paris, south of France, or even Germany etc?? A direct flight will be much much quicker probably cheaper and easier ?

How does that make train the best choice?

To be honest I wasn't being serious, and didn't expect this kind of backlash! If its a similar price to take a train from the UK to France, Germany, Benelux then I would certainly consider. It has only been the case once though.
 

rmt4ever

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To be honest I wasn't being serious, and didn't expect this kind of backlash! If its a similar price to take a train from the UK to France, Germany, Benelux then I would certainly consider. It has only been the case once though.

It's a shame but that's the way it is
 

fandroid

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I do a lot of short-haul flights from Heathrow to European destinations. I now routinely allow 1.5 hours before take-off for arrival at the airport. The main reason for that allowance is in case of transport hold-ups on the way to the airport. Security is always pretty slick, unless you ignore all the instructions and have to be hauled over for a total bag check!
The tricks of the trade are: Check in online ( paper or phone); Hand baggage only if poss.;put all liquids in a plastic bag near the top of your main hand baggage; buy small containers <100ml of those liquid things you need; keep laptops/tablets accessible; have somewhere handy to put the contents of your pockets and wear shoes (not boots) with no metal in them!

The fatal mistake I still occasionally make is on hot days to buy a 500ml bottle of water before arriving at the airport and leave it in my hand baggage. But even if you forget all the tricks, the security holdups are rarely a big problem.
 
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