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Eurostar between Paris & London -- Is 1st Class worth it?

Eurostar between Paris & London -- Is 1st Class worth it?

Aug 16th, 2005, 11:52 AM
  #1  
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Eurostar between Paris & London -- Is 1st Class worth it?

I'm diving the week of US Thanksgiving between Paris and London (4 days in each). Traveling with my parents and sister from Paris to London on Wednesday afternoon of that week via Eurostar. Apparently it's $90 one-way for 2nd class, and $170 one-way for 1st class. I understand there's a full meal served in 1st class and included in the price, and there's more room, etc.

Do you guys think it's worth the additional $80 for 1st class? Is this good value?

Thanks!
Rob
Robby_Rob is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 12:02 PM
  #2  
 
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I have taken the chunnel in first-class and in second-class. There is no difference whatsoever.

Well they give you a newspaper and food in lst class, but you can bring your own and I'm not interested in the London Financial paper anyway.

The train is new, clean and very modern so where ever you sit you will be in comfort.
eurogals is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 12:04 PM
  #3  
 
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My travel agent had an embroidered pillow in her store:

Go First Class - your heirs will.

First Class is always "worth it" - if you have all the money you will ever need.
Robespierre is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 12:10 PM
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It depends on what $80 means to you. there is a big difference, more than on most trains, in terms of seat size betwqeen first and second class - i've always found 2nd class on Eurostar trains cramped - more than on a TGV for example - this supposedly is so because the antique tracks the train plies on the UK portion have bridge widths that are more narrow than those in France - thus Eurostar train sets are narrower and thus 4 seats in more narrow space are narrower as well. So if you're physically challenged or physically big the value may be better for you. You do get a nice meal with wine or Champagne in first class. Corresponsdingly more room for luggage and easier boarding - less lines - special entry for first class i believe (not sure about that). If you're under 26 you can go first class for as low as $105 - youth fare Mon-thu trains 11am-3pm. Any questions on Eurostar i'd call BETS (800-441-9413), Eurostar experts - a RailEurope agent but doesn't charge some of their fees. $90 one way (or round trip) is valid on trains Mon-thu leaving between 11am and 3pm, otherwise it goes up to $120 for any trains those days or $150 for any train any day (just $20 cheaper on those days than the $170 one-way first class fare!) Check www.eurostar.co.uk for prices in pounds - on weekends may have some cheaper than $150 but otherwise RailEurope's in US $ are cheaper as a rule right now (not always true in the past - depends on currency rates somewhat). $90 tickets can be very hard to book - can book thru RailEurope and BETS up to 9 months in advance.
Is it worth an extra $80 - not to me but i'm on a tight budget - if i was paying $150-200 a night for hotel then i'd use the same theory with this, i'd go first class for sure.
PalQ is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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"no difference at all"?? In first class you can get isolated seats - one seat with a window and aisle - in second class you always have pairs of two - 4 seats in second class in space of 3 in first class - you do the math and say there is no difference at all. Plus second class is often jammed packed and first class half full. In fact first class is so empty that Eurostar has recently began to change some first class cars into standard (2nd) class cars - now i wonder if they have refigured the seats or maybe eurogals had the fortune to ride in one of these yet unreconfigured first class cars that are now second class - must have been to make such a statement.
PalQ is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 12:42 PM
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I went first class Eurostar, and the food, and wines were no better that economy class on a plane. The champagne was a very cheap house, and non-vintage.

However, if you went standard class, you get no meal at all. The meal eases some of the boredom associated with train journeys.

I prefer to fly, it's quicker, and given rush hour traffic, it doesn't take that much longer to get there either.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 01:17 PM
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No offense, but anyone who says "There is no difference whatsoever." has obviously never experienced both. It isn't just about the meal or a newspaper. The seats are definitely more spacious and comfortable and you are far more likely to be less crowded in.
Whether that comfort is "worth" it to you is impossible for anyone else to say. I will say it's not a black and white issue -- in other words it would be wrong to think that 2nd class is awful and 1st class is fantastic, but there is a substantial difference in the comfort as well as the amenities.
Patrick is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 01:30 PM
  #8  
ira
 
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Hi RR,

>...Is 1st Class worth it?

If you have to ask, it is.

ira is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 01:32 PM
  #9  
ira
 
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My Lady wife says:

"If you have to ask it ISN'T".

ira is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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My husband or I (occasionally both of us together) ride Eurostar back and forth every week. Given the choice, we would always opt for first class. To say "there is no difference whatsoever" is completely misleading. Of course there is--first gives you more room, it's usually less crowded, more likely to have power points for plugging in your laptop, food served at your seat, etc.
For those who think the food service is no big deal, wait until there's a security or mechanical problem and you're stuck on the train for an extra couple of hours...believe, you will then appreciate having someone around to provide you with beverages at your seat! Fortunately, this occurs rarely.

This past weekend, I rode from London in first and back in second. I got lucky--the second class car I was in was quiet. The car in front of me had several restless noisy children and the one behind me was packed with boozers coming back from some blowout.

Whether the difference is worth it to you (or your family) is a decision nobody here can make. If going first class means you have to scrimp on your vacation somewhere else, then no, it's not worth it. If the fare difference doesn't put a dent into your trip finances, then you would probably enjoy going in first.

FWIW, Eurostar is still excellent, but it's no longer "new." Some cars could definitely use upgrading--the upholstery is showing signs of considerable wear and tear, trays don't always fit properly, etc. Eurostar is working on it, though.
BTilke is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 01:55 PM
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I took my family on 1st class several years ago and it was delightful. For me, after taking first-class trains on that trip through Britain and France, it's the one first-class ticket that really seemed to make a very positive difference. Other responders can give more up-to-date feedback, but my experience was very good.
letour is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 02:01 PM
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Isn't this a short amount of time? You could always send the $80 to needy children in Africa
rocklit is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 02:37 PM
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It's British trains that it's really worth going first on. Back in the days when I used to take train journeys, it was worth paying the extra just to avoid having to sit in a carriage full of people. First allowed you to sit on your own in quiet.

As for Eurostar, flying is cheaper, quicker, and unless you're going to somewhere like Antwerp (where Eurostar cuts station transfers out). You can get such cheap paris flights, you really should look into it.

I never think upgrades are truly worth it if you analyse it, but you're best just to pay for it and not think about what you could've saved.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 02:51 PM
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I prefer to go second class and send the difference to the less fortunate. Maybe I was fortunate, but my seat in second class was more than ample, of course I'm only 5'1" so I don't need much leg room, but still I thought it wasn't worth the extra money. Beside I had already gone lst class, enjoyed it, but wasn't a requirement second time around. FYI I have a friend who makes $1million a year and he refuses to fly first class when he goes to europe even to the far east. So you go figure.
eurogals is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 02:56 PM
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"FYI I have a friend who makes $1million a year and he refuses to fly first class when he goes to europe even to the far east. So you go figure."

What's that got to do with anything? People spend their money how they choose. It doesn't mean to say that first class isn't superior to economy. It is vastly superior, the reasons why your friend chooses not to fly it is another thing. No one can dispute that it is far more comfortable.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 04:39 PM
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Eurogals and rocklit, what rubbish!!! You have NO idea what someone in first class might be doing for others. One of our friends who usually travels first class gave years of his life working in Benin for the Peace Corps. Another spends countless hours each year with Habitat for Humanity.
When my mother comes to visit us in Europe, we like to travel with her in first class and take her to the best hotels we can afford. It's one of our ways of saying thanks for all she's done over the years.
That guy up in first class may be giving far more back to the community that you ever know--perhaps far, far more than some self-righteous smug git in second class. To make judgements about the character of someone you NEVER EVEN MET based on whether they're traveling first or second class is one of the worst kinds of reverse snobbery.
Rocklit, there are people who'd say why don't you cancel that trip to Europe you've got planned for next spring and give THAT money to help the poor in Africa. It's way more than $80.
BTilke is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 06:34 PM
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That suggestion of taking second class and sending the money to the poor is the biggest bit of rubbish I ever heard. Why don't people who suggest that (and who is willing to bed neither have ever actually sat down and sent the difference to charity?) just stay home in stead of doing expensive European travel and send an even bigger check to charity. It would accomplish so much more than the measly difference between first and second class on Eurostar. In other words, why not put your money where your mouth is?
Patrick is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 06:45 PM
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There IS a difference. First class IS roomier. First class does include a meal.

But 2nd class isn't bad either. More space than on an airplane and food/drinks can be purchased.

If money is not an issue - go 1st. But it is not an $80 difference - you are talking about $320. If that is a budget buster or if it could be spent on some special treat in London, then definitely go 2nd. You won't hate it. Afterall it is less than 3 hours.
janis is offline  
Aug 17th, 2005, 12:29 AM
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Wow, I was just kidding - I apologize for putting people on the defensive. I totally didn't mean it like that. Sorry, Robby, I obviously should not have said anything
rocklit is offline  
Aug 17th, 2005, 03:07 AM
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I'm in the "not worth it" camp. The journey is only a bit over two hours.

Also the diffrence between 1st and 2nd isn't comparable to the difference between 1st and economy on a plane. 2nd is perfectly comfortable, certainly comfortable enough for a short train ride.

The only reason I would pay the upgrade is if the days I was travelling on clashed with a major sporting event in France in which case 2nd can get a bit raucous.

david_west is offline  

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