Buying Chunnel tickets

May 20th, 2004, 11:53 AM
  #1  
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Buying Chunnel tickets

I've never taken the Chunnel though many other trains all around Europe. This September, we'll be taking the Chunnel from London to Paris, then back. Our dates qualify us for at least one of their "Leisure rates" in second class.

I've never bought tickets ahead of time from RailEurope... always just bought my tickets and my reservations once there. But this time, I'm wondering...

--to get the leisure rates and still have a decent selection of available times, would you recommend buying them now, or at least a couple months before our trip?

--we'll be in London for 9 nights... could I get them instead on my first couple days in London and still find availability in those fares? (Now that with all the extra security it seems Eurostar is a more popular route for getting between the two cities than flying, so maybe the trains will be full?)

--if I do buy the tickets from RailEurope, does that include the reservation as well? I recall that those are usually an extra supplement to the ticket and a tickeet doesn't guarantee a seat. And when I travelled on a rail pass the TGV required you also have a reservation.

--some of the previous posts about this topic say to "call direct" for cheaper prices? Anyone know whom to call? Just RailEurope, or specific ticketing agency in London/Paris?

--Are there any European websites that list the ticket prices when ordered in London or Paris, in case Rail Europe is marking them up?

THANKS!
~kat
skatterfly is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 12:00 PM
  #2  
ira
 
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Hi

I think that you will do better if you buy your tickets on line at www.eurostar.com.

They are offering RT for two for 100GBP.

ira is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 12:09 PM
  #3  
ira
 
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OOPS,

That's good only through mid August.

You can buy tickets up to 60 days in advance.

Advance purchase is a low as 59GBP RT for two.

ira is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 01:16 PM
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I am looking for Eurostar tickets too in Aug. Ira, I couldn't find the 59GBP RT for two fare. Where do I find it? Whenever I fill in the dates, it comes back with insanely high fares like $488, single fare. Also it lists the fare in US$.
jand is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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I've been looking at this, too, and it seems to be very similar to booking airfare - the further in advance the better the price, but also the best prices come with severe restrictions(like no schedule change or refunds.) Since we are planning a fairly loose itinerary we'll just wait and try our luck with last minute discounts.
BTW, I've been castigated for using the term "Chunnel", told it's viewed by Europeans as crass, rather like saying "Frisco" for San Francisco.
Seamus is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 02:53 PM
  #6  
rfb
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DON'T buy through RailEurope. You will pay an inflated price, plus a service charge; and, if you are foolish enough to lose the ticket, they will tell you 'too bad, buy another one'.
 
May 20th, 2004, 02:56 PM
  #7  
 
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Kat,
I would recommend buying them now, as I've read that those special leisure day trips sell out very quickly.

Best,
Sandy
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May 20th, 2004, 03:00 PM
  #8  
 
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Kat,
By buying them direct, I assume they meant www.eurostar.com. You can book from them as well.

Sandy
sandypaws3 is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 04:27 PM
  #9  
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Eeeeks, Seamus... thanks for the headsup about the correct term. I could swear I have heard it referred to in Paris as the "Chunnel"... but maybe not. Last thing I want is to say anything "crass." Visions of Chevy Chase saying "Frisco" are blurring in my mind. And I live here in the Bay Area so that's definitely one that I can't stand myself.

Thanks for the tips everyone. I don't mind paying ahead of time since this is definitely not a loose trip... we have firm plans and firm accommodations. If it means we can get good fares I think I'll order sooner rather than later.

Though as Ira said it's not letting me buy tickets yet for September. I wonder if I can call and order them before 60 days out... or whether it's even necessary. I'll check their website for more info.

And Ira, WHERE are you seeing those great round trip tickets for 2?

And will they ship tickets to me in US or do I need to give them an address in the UK?

THANKS!
~k
skatterfly is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 06:12 PM
  #10  
 
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You can pick up your tickets at the train station. It's similar to getting a boarding pass from a self serve machine at an airport. Make sure you select "leisure" and not "business". The former does not permit changes but saves money.
Gavin is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 09:05 PM
  #11  
 
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Skatterfly,
I just bought our Eurostar tickets for a trip in July. While I didn't get the great rate that Ira has seen, I did save about $100 for 4 of us (nothing to sneeze at) by buying from the UK site instead of the US. (something I read about on this forum)

When you are on the homepage of Eurostar.com indicate your country of residence is UK. The fares are much better, even with the terrible exchange rate. They give you an option to have them mailed, but I couldn't get the address to come out correctly. I will be picking up the tickets at the station before departure. One less thing to worry about losing.
lisale is offline  
May 20th, 2004, 09:35 PM
  #12  
 
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message for jand. I, too, struck high prices for a single fare, but was able to halve the cost by booking a return instead - even though I never used the return portion!
twoflower is offline  
May 21st, 2004, 05:14 AM
  #13  
ira
 
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Hi all,

As noted, use the UK option at www.eurostar.com.

Choose "leisure".

Purchase round trip tickets.

Buy your tickets 60 days out. No need to try to buy them earlier.

Pick up your tickets at the station.
ira is offline  
May 21st, 2004, 08:30 AM
  #14  
 
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I bought our tickets from www.eurostar.com a week before before our scheduled date and the only leisure tickets at $94 RT were for the 5:30 a.m. departure for Paris with 8:30 p.m. departure to London, on a Thursday. This was back in late April. Interestingly, I tried both fares under the $ and the £, and the $ came out a lot cheaper. I had been looking at fares a couple of months before, and there were more choices at $94 RT compared to buying it a week before. I procrastinated since we were unsure whether we would go or not. I am really glad we spent a day in Paris. On the day of departure, we arrived 45 minutes before our departure time, and picked up the tickets. Since we were leaving on the first trip, the ticket office had just opened when we got there at 4:45 a.m. Allow enought time since you have to clear immigration and security.
Nena is offline  
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