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Eurostar – the bad end to a perfect 5 days

Posted by Tony On March - 26 - 2012


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The trip from Marlow to WSI’s annual internet marketing conference in Paris was largely event free. The Eurostar standard premium stage proved to include a good if small meal and arrived at Gare du Nord on time.The speakers at the conference were excellent, especially Avinash Kaushik, and the training delivered on the 3rd day by Francois Muscat was based on the world class materials of Scott Klososky. The metro & RER trip from Vaugirard to Louvres, to visit my friends Daniel and Brigitte, was easy and the weather almost summer like during my day with them on the Monday.I was to catch the 18:13 Eurostar from Gare du Nord back to St Pancras and caught the RER at Louvre with pleanty of time.But at Gare du Nord the trouble began. The Eurostar check in point was hard to find and required the use of the station information. Arriving at check-in at 17:25, I heard the last call for my training (strange!!). Despite the last call, the people at the British border check point were as quick as tortoises and it was 17:45 by the time I got to the boarding point. Still 23 minutes before the train leaves so everything is fine? ……I’m afraid not!!

Despite taking my contact details when I booked my ticket online – in case Eurostar needed to tell me anything – the train time had been changed to 17:58 without telling me. What’s more, I was now refused boarding on the basis that it ends 15 minutes before trains leave. I stood at the desk for about 10 minutes waiting for them to find me a seat on the next train, during which time some of the train staff passed me and went through the gate onto the train. I was still waiting when I watched the train leave the station.

Image of Paris rooftopsAs I sat in the lounge waiting to be called for the next train, I heard for the first time an announcement that the changed start times for Eurostar trains from Gare du Nord applied from 20th March until early April, due to work on the line. The Eurostar staff at St Pancras and on the outgoing train that I caught to Paris on 23rd March therefore knew of the changes but didn’t tell the passengers!!

Being a seasoned traveller, I stayed calm in the hope that everything would now run as planned – just an hour late. But no …………. I had ordered my tickets early to be in a single seats next to the aisle both ways so that I could work easily with plenty of elbow room. My seat allocated on the later train was by the window in a double seat arrangement. Well done Eurostar for adding insult to injury.

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