- Ease of Use
- Time Efficiency
- An almost perfect score for travelling on the Eurostar from London to Paris. The price for a standard class seat was similar to that of flying but we did travel on the cheapest days and prices can vary greatly depending on when you intend to travel. The standard class seating, whilst comfortable, felt a little cramped with a large number of seats per coach.
For our recent trip to Paris, Sarah and I had the choice of either grabbing a flight or taking the train. With the prices being similar, around £140 for a standard return each, and neither of us having taken the Eurostar before, we decided that taking the train would provide us with a unique experience and so the train it was to be.
Arriving at London Kings Cross St Pancras with our pre-printed tickets, we found the whole process of checking-in and passing through security considerably easier and less stressful than any airport I have ever passed through. (For some reason I always seem to be the one who is searched or has my backpack swabbed for drugs, luckily I have avoided the rubber glove treatment so far)
I would say that the whole process took no longer than 5 minutes from initially scanning our tickets until we were relaxing in the trains departure lounge.
The departure lounge in London is very spacious, with modern seating and a couple of cafe areas from which you can purchase hot and cold snacks.
Whilst waiting in the departure lounge I decided to kill the spare time by checking Twitter on my phone and sent the following tweet.
— J Travel Inspiration (@J_Travel_On) March 23, 2014
Around five minutes later I was approached by one of the managers of the Eurostar who said that she had seen my tweet and informed us that we were to be upgraded to Business class.
(I would like to point out now that being upgraded was a completely spontaneous event, at first Sarah and I had thought we were in trouble for something. I was not asked to write a review or leave any positive comments in anyway and the opinions in this post are entirely my own. On the way back from Paris, we were not upgraded and therefore I have experienced both the Standard and Business classes and feel that I can now leave a more rounded review of the Eurostar.)
Business class was nothing short of spectacular. The lounge was immaculate, with many well dressed business men and women reading copies of the financial times. We felt just a little out of place and underdressed in our jeans and converses but not wanting to miss out on the opportunity helped ourselves to the complimentary food and drink, when in Rome as they say.
Boarding the train and entering the Business class compartment the first thing we noticed is a rack of magazines that you are free to take and read throughout the journey. The seats are laid out in a 2-1 formation, instead of the usually 2-2 as in the standard class, allowing for extra space and a food trolley to be manoeuvred down the aisle.
As soon as the train got underway we were offered a glass of Champagne and light snack. Then around 30 minutes later we were handed the menu for the 3 course meal we would be receiving, another unexpected delight.
The food was great and a class above the usual airplane dinners, the staff were also very attentive and constantly offering you another drink or asking if you needed anything. Another added bonus was the power socket located under the table, which came in handy for recharging our phones and tablet whilst we travelled in comfort to Paris.
On the return trip, the Paris Gare du Nord station isn’t as nice and is a little more hectic than London’s King Cross St Pancreas. The Eurostar check-in is located on the first floor of the station and I would say that getting through security this end only took a little longer, around 10 minutes.
Making our way into the departure lounge we found that there wasn’t as much space and initially struggled to find somewhere to sit. Once again there are a couple of cafe areas and also duty free shops if you wish to buy any food or get gifts for family and friends back home.
We boarded the train and made our way to our regular standard seats. Although the style of the seats are exactly the same as in Business class, as mentioned earlier they are laid out in the traditional 2-2 formation and there is also less leg room and no charging sockets, meaning more people per carriage and dead phones. There were also no complimentary drinks or a 3 course meal but you get what you pay for and the journey itself was fantastic.
We brought our own snacks and within just over two hours we were back in London, with no turbulence, annoying safety demonstrations or delays that are so common when flying.
Wrapping It Up
I would say that if you can easily afford it or are perhaps travelling for a special occasion then you will be thoroughly pampered in Eurostar’s Business class. All your needs are catered for and you can travel to Paris in style.
However if you are travelling on a budget and looking for an easy, cheap and comfortable way to reach the French capital, then the Eurostar’s standard class is the perfect option.
Either way, it sure beats the hell out of flying.