Is it worth upgrading to Eurostar Premier Class? London to Parisby Amer on Sep 8, 2011 • 8:21 am 8 Comments
I’m not at my best when it comes to planning the date for my future travels. I’ve always planned my travels last-minute due to the inconsistent working pattern at the office I’m working with. This usually comes out for the worse, because I usually have to fork out a larger sum of money for a last-minute ticket. I’ve experienced this again on my last-minute trip to Paris lately.
The cheapest return ticket advertised on the London to Paris route is £69 return. To get this price you would normally have to book months in advance. Even longer if you plan your visits during the peak summer season. This being me, I’ve only managed to book my ticket 2 days before departure. By then the cheapest economy class ticket would’ve set me £180 return.
Fortunately for me (depends on how you take it), I was offered a one-way upgrade of only £15 for the London-Paris leg. After I profusely checked the Standard Class seating layout, only to find most of the carriages to be full, I’ve decided to jump on this exceptional opportunity.
Common waiting area
Eurostar provides two types of Business Class – Business Premier for business travellers and Standard Premier for leisure travellers for the more price-discerning businesses. Whilst Business Premier passengers have full access to a lounge and dedicated check-in and immigration facilities, Standard Premier passengers uses a common waiting area and has no dedicated facilities.
Larger seats and more legroom
The first thing that caught my attention are the extra-large seats in a 1-2 configuration. The Premier Class carriage has only 39 seats compared to 56 for Standard Class. It also have a slightly larger legroom at 37″ compared to 33″ in Standard Class. The legroom on the Eurostar is comparable to any seat you find in most airlines today.
According to the reputable SeatGuru.com British Airways Business Class (or Club Europe) seats for a flight from London to Paris has a legroom of around 36″ to 37″ and a seat width of only 18″. Premier Class has the added advantage of having much wider seats at 26″. The seat width for Standard class meanwhile is 19″.
Having travelled a fair number of flights, I can tell you that those extra inches do make a difference in any journey.
Being an early morning journey – 5:25am to be precise, I’ve booked my ticket for a single seat – hoping to catch up with some sleep.
Quiter empty cabin
I was also very surprised to find the Premier Class cabin to be nearly empty. In fact there were 6 of us in the whole carriage of 39 seats. I was offered to sit at the four person table seat by the attendant. I was overjoyed at the amount of space I’ve got and the quiet cabin atmosphere. You might think that this being an early morning journey, most people prefer to sleep than socialise anyway. Though the last time I’ve travelled on Standard Class on the same departure time, I’ve had a slightly disturbed sleep due to the number of overexcited travellers chatting away throughout the journey. But then, this could also happen anywhere. Besides, who wouldn’t be excited to travel to Paris?
Shortly after the train left Ashford, I was offered a light continental breakfast comprising of a Tropicana juice, a roll of bread, plain croissant and marmalade as well as the usual tea and coffee. Breakfast was way below my expectations to the verge of being quite sympathetic. I would have thought there would be a greater selection, quantity and quality of food to be served in this class. At least some scrambled eggs, it’s cheap and filling. Eurostar should’ve just look to Marks and Spencer for its sandwiches. Though, I was offered rounds of extra croissants and rolls which I accepted once. Apples were also offered at the end of breakfast which I politely refused. I then decided to catch up on some sleep, ready to be energised when I reach Paris about two hours later.
The Eurostar website states that free magazines and newspapers are provided to passengers in this class. However I can only confirm that there were no newspapers being offered in the cabin. There were some magazines – about 2, but with the titles I’m not familiar with and they’re all seem to be in French anyway. If you’re planning to read on your journey, do make sure to bring your own reading materials.
it’s worth it provided..
Overall I think upgrading to a Premier Class seat is worth it provided the difference of price between Standard and Premier is not more than £30 one-way. The seats are a lot larger and more comfortable. If you value space and a piece of quiet, this would be an unbeatable option. If you wanted to indulge in a bit of luxury, I can tell you that the food is abysmal to say the least. But I’ve yet to try their taster meals on a noon service. Judging on the quality of food served for breakfast, I would rather get a sandwich from Cafe Nero or Marks and Spencer from St. Pancras station. Save yourself some money for a much better meal option in Paris.
The overall service is quite good, as good if not better than a British Airways regional flight. What I love most about Eurostar is the amount of time it takes to go to the heart of Paris which is only 2 hours and fifteen minutes. The views of the French countryside is also mesmerising, better than the view you’d get from flying. I would definitely do this again if the price difference per leg is under £30 one-way.
Have you used the Eurostar Premier Class before? How was your experience on the Eurostar?