As readers of this blog know, I am a regular user of Eurostar. Some months I am using it to travel between London and Paris every week. It is more efficient and less traumatic than fighting through the airport and flight delays.
Today (Wednesday) arrived at Gard do Nord station in Paris to catch the 17:43 train to London to face a chaotic Eurostar area. I thought it was because France closes for 5 days due to public holidays. But found it was due to a fire on the line that meant no electricity for the trains.
The lounge was packed.
Overall in the end we arrived just under 2 and a half hours late in London (at 9.30pm instead of 7pm). Overall I think Eurostar handled it all well because:
– in the lounge they kept telling people there was a delay, why and apologised. Even though they had no new news. So you felt informed, even though there was no new news.
– when the station lounge got too busy they boarded the trains, even though it was still electricity free. But it was a bright sunny day and they came round with drinks.
– even though there was no loudspeaker they came round regularly and shouted out the status and updates
– finally just after coming out the tunnel, they apologised again and advised as a gesture they would give you a return ticket as compensation if you kept your current ticket and handed it in when booking.
A good move timing wise of telling people too!
I am not sure what the redemption rate is, I suspect lower than one imagines as people forget or are tourists. But a good gesture.
I compare that with some of the airline experiences I have had. The most noticeable being “My Virgin Nightmare“: click here for that