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More on London Eye, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

More on London Eye, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Feb 19th, 2000, 07:43 PM
  #1  
Lori
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More on London Eye, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Maybe the message title should be called a stick in the eye too! I hope this info helps any of you planning on doing the London Eye on your upcoming trips to London.

I finally made contact with The London Eye Reservation line after several failed attempts this a.m. (overseas line problems perhaps, whatever, it cost me a few dollars in calls each time because the recording was not clear to understand.) I asked if anyone in London could call it for me and post the info on the Forum and Sheila (Wonderful Person, Thanks Again Sheila)in the UK called the number and relayed the basics to me and I called again tonight and got through this time & got a clear recording, but let me tell you all the recording is l o n g and it takes awhile to wade through it. The actual phone number is:
011-44-870-500-0660 (don't try and use a London city code, it will not work. The recording goes on and on and will get to the actual reservation info finally. You need to pick a date, i.e. April 17 and enter it in as 1704. Then it requires a reservation time - times entered in the 24 hr. clock format,i.e. 14:30, etc. It will then go through a sequence asking you how many adult tickets, how many children, how many seniors (this all takes up precious minutes while your phone bill climbs!). Eventually it comes to asking for a credit or debit card, and then the number and expiration date. After that it wants your phone number, country code, area code and number, if you don't get this correct it keeps asking and asking and asking (while you are trying to remember what the U.S. country code is.. it's 01 - remember to put that zero in!!) Finally you get to the end, it then will repeat all this to you (or if you made a mistake, "don't worry,just hang up and dial back in" ... imagine going through all that again, Good Lord!). Eventually it asks you if the info is correct and if it is no reservation number will be given but you should bring the credit card you used to the ticket office 30 minutes before "flight time" - yes, they call it a flight.

All in all I figured what the phone calls cost I could have taken 3 or 4 or you with me on the "flight". This thing better darn well be worth it my husband says and after we go in April I will post a report!

Quite honestly I have never gone through such a system to make a reservation (anywhere/anytime/anyplace) and we've traveled a lot. As for the UK I've called theaters in London, booked seats and was off the phone in 5 minutes or less .. the London Eye system is the worst I've ever encountered. I do hope British Airways soon realizes there has got to be an easier way for people to reserve because this current system is a real loser. Nigel, if you are out there maybe the BBC should do a piece on this .. human interest story or something entitled American visitor vs. the London Eye, or how to spent a small fortune making a reservation!

 
Feb 20th, 2000, 06:19 AM
  #2  
s.fowler
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To borrow some exclamation points from Cyrano.. AARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHH!!!!!! [Note: I don't write papers on Kant - my students do!]
At least you got tickets. I was worried that the punchline would be that at the end of the process they tell you that date is booked
From your description of the process I think I will settle for taking a picture of the "Eye" and wait for your report!
 
Feb 20th, 2000, 08:22 AM
  #3  
Lori
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S.Fowler, I was pretty darn worried too that when I reached the end of my booking I'd be told the slot was filled and start over! Thankfully it wasn't. I will be even more annoyed if it was all a waste of time and one can just walk up, wait a bit and hop on. Ah .. the joys of travel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Feb 21st, 2000, 06:41 AM
  #4  
frank
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the phone lines to book the eye have been jammed for the last few days, sheer volume of calls
 
Feb 21st, 2000, 07:09 AM
  #5  
s.fowler
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The "eye" managers should take a page from the online ticket service the Royal Opera House uses. I clicked my way to an order for Der Rosenkavalier on March 20 - recieved confirmation via email in a day and the tickets in under a week! So I guess the highest I will get in London will be the upper amphitheatre at the opera house!
 
Feb 21st, 2000, 08:08 AM
  #6  
Lori
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It would not hurt them to hook up with Ticketmaster UK for that matter, booking on like with them is a pleasure! I kind of wonder did they not think (or care) that anyone outside the UK would want to make a reservation. I wish their web page had an address for comments.
 
Feb 21st, 2000, 08:43 AM
  #7  
Cyrano
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Hooray for Lori for undertaking her labors (of Hercules, not the other kind). It appears you will be in London during school holidays (if April 17 is the real date) and you are unlikely to purchase tickets on-site, so your efforts will not be wasted. Please let us hear about your experiences. You should also plan to do non-kid things, like the V&A instead of the Natural History Museum, but how many days can you spend there? But pub crawls are always enjoyable.

s.fowler you are welcome to all the !s and ?s you can use. They have been gathering in my desk drawer for thirty years and multiplying. I am running low on ,s though--all those long sentences the German Kant used, so I only use them sparingly. You seem like a nice person but looks are deceiving. You actually make your students write on Kant?! Why don't you give them something exciting, like Thomas Aquinus or Francis of Assisi? I was always jealous of the students who got those assignments!
 
Feb 21st, 2000, 10:51 AM
  #8  
Lori
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Cyrano,
We will manage to do lots of non-kid things never fear -- we always do, no matter where we are! We've been to London many times and the V&A is a great place -- now I don't hate kids so don't anyone jump on me here but we've found that most of the time we manage to avoid them real well...it just takes some planning...granted this year the UK school holidays fall during part of our trip, but the schools in the U.S. should all be in session in late April so we will be spared large numbers of kids from the U.S. I know where I work "break" is in mid-March and the kids only get Good Friday off from school for the Easter Break this year because Easter is so late. Perhaps the London Eye will be loaded with kids, but it's only 30 minutes out of my life after all! What you really want to avoid is Spring Break in most beach areas in the U.S.
 
Feb 21st, 2000, 11:40 PM
  #9  
Gayle
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Sorry, but what is the VA? - Thanks
 
Feb 22nd, 2000, 05:20 AM
  #10  
lola
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Gayle- The V&A is short for the Victoria and Albert museum, which is like a huge attic for English art, artifacts and arts and crafts. It is one of the most fascinating museums in Europe and it's hard for anyone not to come out of there smiling.
 
Feb 22nd, 2000, 02:37 PM
  #11  
gayle
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Thanks Lola, we'll try and squeeze it in. Do you recommend it above the British Museum because we had planned a visit there?
 
Mar 24th, 2000, 08:25 AM
  #12  
CS
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Not complaining, mind you, but the phone number in this post is incorrect. The last 4 digits are 0600 NOT 0660. Tried the wrong number for 3 days (which of course got me nowhere) but the correct number worked the first time and we are booked for our day and time of choice. Can't wait! CS
 
Mar 26th, 2000, 08:11 AM
  #13  
Jerald
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Don't bet your booty on American kids not being on spring break, many Florida kids including 2 of my grandchildren that I'm bringing with me, April 14th-23rd. will be serching out the historical sites, so you can have the eye to yourselves. We'll wave up to you. Have fun!
 
Mar 26th, 2000, 06:09 PM
  #14  
helen
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This info is courtesy of Charlie Scrugg's posting of 3/23: he gave a US phone # (800) 223-6108 where you can book tickets. Apparently there's approximately a $5 surcharge (per ticket? I don't know), but from Lori's posting, maybe it would still come out cheaper!

Re the question about the V&A versus the British Museum: they're completely different experiences. The British Museum (in my own very subjective view) has great art and historical/archaeological artifacts (often plundered) from all over the world. Fantastic and excessive (ie, instead of one or five or even ten mummies, there are, like, fifty!), but a singular experience. The V&A is a unique experience also--it's looking at various time periods with a focus on decorative objects. If you're a collector or admirer of watches, jewelry, snuffboxes or any type of beautiful small object like that, you'll have a great time. If not, you might be dreadfully bored. I'm sure there are other posts on this forum (or websites) describing it in much more and better detail (I was last there about 5 years ago), but that's the general idea. One other museum idea: if you're interested in British history, you'll probably like the National Portrait Gallery. It traces the history of GB through its rulers and assorted other well-known figures. The emphasis is not on the artist, as it is in most art museums, but rather, on who's portrayed, what they did, and who they were sleeping with, etc. So you get to see Henry VIII and portraits of the assorted wives, stuff like that. Again, very fun if you're into that sort of thing.
 
Mar 26th, 2000, 07:05 PM
  #15  
Lori
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CS,
You are so right, I made a typo and the last 4 digets of the London Eye phone number are 0600 ... I was more than likely exhausted after trying endlessly to get through to them and when I typed my message I messed up the number. The fee for processing if you call direct is 50p - if you book through the ticket agency who apparently now has the ability to do that, it's considerably more. CS - you were really fortunate getting through so quickly, I know I wasn't the only one having troubles, I remember a women on this Forum from Australia who was having a heck of a time getting through to London Eye Reservations also. I hope you enjoy your "flight" as they call it on the Eye, we'll be there in a couple of weeks ourselves - we all must report back on this ride!!
 
Apr 7th, 2000, 05:03 PM
  #16  
CT
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Hi Lori, I was in London in late January and returned to the states before the London Eye had opened. I was very disappointed that I could not be there when it opened. I am planning to go back again soon and was interested in finding more information on the London Eye. I went into a search engine and found a website of a person who has been on the London Eye 2 times. The website is devoted entirely to her experiences from booking her tickets on the phone, to standing in the queues when picking up her tickets, and then waiting to board. There are also several pictures that she took. The website is www.losers.co.uk I know the address sounds abit rough but it is the firsthand experiences of someone who has been there and done that twice. She even has an e-mail address at the bottom of here website. Hope you have a great time. Wish it were me.
 
Apr 8th, 2000, 07:27 PM
  #17  
Alisa
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Hello,

What is the London Eye? I will be traveling to London at the end of April--is this something I should know about ?
 
Apr 9th, 2000, 12:53 AM
  #18  
Sheila
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It's a huge ferris wheel, built by British Airways on the south bank of the Thames to mark the Millennium. Probably worth a visit.
 
Apr 9th, 2000, 03:38 AM
  #19  
s.fowler
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WE decided to give the "eye" a "miss" this trip and when I saw the lines snaking around, I was glad we had. Here are a couple of pictures I took: http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Musee...and/thames.htm
 
Apr 9th, 2000, 05:14 AM
  #20  
alex
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Report on the London Eye -

I'm glad to report that the effort of using the reservations line is worth it and the London Eye is pretty brilliant!!

Went there on 1/4/00 as a birthday treat. If you've been lucky enough to reserve tickets then you have to collect them at the Eye - County Hall, just near Westminster Bridge. Tickets do seem available on the day and definitely for pre-booking, so you could always risk it and visit for tickets later on during your trip. Remember that capacity is 800 per hour and its now open 9am-10pm throughout summer (to 31/10/00) so you should still have a chance.

Unfortunately, as it was a Saturday, the building was deemed to be "full" so we had to wait ten mins in the rain just to get in. Then you have to queue in the"pre-boading" area outside next to the Wheel for your allotted time. Advise: get queueing just before the allotted time! Note that only the area near the Wheel is covered so bring umbrella if wet..

You then get the chance to have a "virtual" photo taken - costs 3.99 or 5.99 if you want to buy it and can then board the Wheel. Each capsule takes 24 people, plus steward and the capsule keeps moving as you board. Don't worry - it only goes at 1.8mph.

Then its up and away for the half hour trip. Very smooth and great views over the Thames, Westminster, St Pauls etc and beyond all over London. As it was raining the day we went the capsule did get a bit steamed up.. There is lots of space to sit or walk around during the "flight" so you do not need to jostle for position too much. The best thing is that the trip is over the river.

It is all over very quickly though. I would say that the best time to go would be around dusk when the sun is very low or just setting and its dark by the time you finish. Certainly it cannot compare to the Eiffel Tower and for tourists, you can get excellent views further east from St Pauls's dome (about 500 steps though) and the sixth floor of the Oxo Tower. However, I would recommend it, though it is quite expensive for what it really is.

Hope this helps
Alex
 

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