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Thalys from Amsterdam to London

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Jan 11th, 2014, 10:15 AM
  #1
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Thalys from Amsterdam to London

We are taking the train from AMS to London. Is it worth upgrading to 1 class from 2 class.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 10:48 AM
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If you check the Thalys website it tells you that 1st class has more comfortable seats and they recline. You get complimentary meal and drink along with newspaper or magazine. Only you can decide if it is worthwhile to you.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 11:35 AM
  #3
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Thanks Lateinlife. Just wanted to know if the seats are that much more comfortable or if the view is better
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Jan 11th, 2014, 07:09 PM
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A glance at the Thalys site indicates you will be changing trains en route. Will that affect your choice in any way? Just asking....
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Jan 12th, 2014, 12:02 AM
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I'm just about to take this trip, so if you can wait till Tuesday, I can report back then.

But for facilities on the Eurostar to London, you can check their website for images of the carriages and information on services. Standard class will have some seats set as four round a table beside a window, some will be airline style (some facing the direction of travel, some facing away) with limited view, whereas (if memory serves, but check the Eurostar website for details) in first class there will be more space around the seats and everyone gets a window.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 01:21 AM
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I am based in Brussels and have travelled both first and second class on Thalys, TGV, DB and Eurostar to London, Paris, Cologne and Amsterdam. I do not normally book first class unless it is the cheapest ticket or if second class is sold out. Oddly, sometimes first class is cheaper when booking online.

There is little difference in comfort.; however, there is more room in first class. First class often comes with a meal and drink. But because my journeys are less than 2 hours, I really don't care about a meal. There is no difference in view. Some lines have wireless in first class but I can remember which ones. First class also comes with a complimentary assigned seat. Some lines (DB, I think) requires you to pay a small surcharge for this which is worth it if you don't want to sit apart from your co-travelers.

Perhaps it depends on how long you are on the train to determine whether first class is a must. For me, definitely not. I just buy the cheapest ticket available.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 02:05 AM
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Another point - on Eurostar, even if you end up in an airline-layout aisle seat with only half a window in view, you can always walk through to the buffet car and look at the view out of their windows (such as it is - it's never spectacular and for most of the way much the same).
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Jan 13th, 2014, 04:34 AM
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FWIW, I'm posting this from the Thalys. In terms of comfort, the Standard class seats are fine, and more comfortable than Eurostar; the design is in "luxury" shades of red and purple velour if that makes any difference. As for the view, well, the scenery in most of Belgium and the Netherlands is flat and unremarkable; so far the train has passed through Duffel (of the coats and bags?), Mechelen (where you can catch a glimpse of its one notable feature, the tower dedicated - fans of Are You Being Served will wish to note - to St. Rumbold) and Antwerp. There's been some interesting trackside graffiti, but otherwise nothing I'd pay extra to see.

Wifi, BTW, is free with some classes of standard "Comfort" ticket, but the cheapest, non-flexible, bookings have to pay.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 04:46 AM
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Eurostar seats in standard class - 2nd class - are IME muchmore cramped than Thalys or trains in general - this has been becsue the train cars had to be made more narrow to roll between briges in Kent that were more narrow than to accommodate normal width Continental trains - now that the Channel Tunnel Rail Link has been fully finished all the way to St Pancras I presume there may be newer Eurostar cars that are wider.

But last time I went standard class seats were very cramped at least for a tall guy like me and as the trains are more and more full it's kind of to me like a cattle car at times - first class however seats are much much bigger and usually lots of empty seats and you go get a full-course meal with unlimited booze, at least last time I went.

There is always a significant difference on trains between classes and that is why Europeans will pay more to ride in first class and why there are always first class train cars but 2nd class is fine - just that first class much finer.

as as others point out due to the Byzantine fare structure sometimes first class may be as cheap or even cheaper - yes cheaper than 2nd class! Figure that out. Check prices in both classes before buying and if the difference is not much go first class - the meals themselves are probably worth about $20 and you also get more relaxed priority boarding on Eurostar.

For lots about Thalys and Eurostar and European trains in general I always point out these superb IMO sites - www.seat61.com; www.rickstves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com. Booking early on either Thalys or Eurostar can get deep discounts - just show up and pay $100 or so higher! www.eurostar.com and www.thalys.com are the official sites. www.railurope.com in the U.S. at times has prices as low as www.eurostar.com or lower and you can often book on that site up to nearly a year in advance - I think 90 or 120 days on the official sites.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 06:39 AM
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Pal, you are the only person I have ever heard complaining about the room in Eurostar standard class. There are all sorts of reasons to consider upgrading (affordeable treat, if the cheapest standard class fares have all gone etc) but unacceptable levels of space in economy imho is not one of them.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 01:12 PM
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RM - it's not so much complaining - it's tolerable but the difference IME is much greater on the Eurostar than the Thalys or continental trains - I was informed once it was because the train cars were narrower as explained - maybe they have new rolling stock I have not taken - I'm not sure how many Continental trains you have taken but IME of zillions 2nd class seats are more roomy on the Continent than on the Eurostar - it is not an unacceptable amount of space and I wish to retract any impression of that - it is just a little too cramped from what I am used to on European trains.

Point is there is a big difference between classes IME than on Continental trains in general. Again maybe some new rolling stock that is wider is being put into service but I have not heard that.

I always go standard class because of the price but I have on occasion gone first class just to see the difference - do you not agree there is a substantial difference even though standard class is not a cattle car as I may wrongly have implied. Or perhaps you have never gone first class on Eurostars?
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Jan 13th, 2014, 02:05 PM
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RM - Above is a report on Eurostar standard class from businesstraveler.com - and it makes a salient point - if the train is full and you are a tall guy like me then it can be very uncomfortable as the writer above speculates - so there's the 2nd person you've heard of who thinks standard class seats, for bigger folks at least, can be uncomfortable.

size matter is many things and in this case it is a matter of size - tall folks or those with long legs or aching knees, etc may want to pay more and at least go Standard premier or whatever they call the bit better Standard class.

And also I hear that some first-class carriages are being used for Standard class seating on some trains so if that is the case it would be different - I am talking about the usual older Eurostar train sets.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 02:55 PM
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the design is in "luxury" shades of red and purple

Never knew color affected how comfortable your rear is when you sit.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 09:22 AM
  #14
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Thanks for all the comments I feel ready to do more research. PALENQ I am confused by the statement of begin able to purchase tickets a year in advance every time I have attempted to purchase they will not allow greater than 90 days out. Please advise if able.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 09:40 AM
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>>Never knew color affected how comfortable your rear is when you sit.<<

It doesn't particularly, but, relative to the OP, feels a bit more upmarket than the usual standard class designs. Velveteen seats and fairly pliush carpets, that sort of thing.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 10:43 AM
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PALENQ I am confused by the statement of begin able to purchase tickets a year in advance every time I have attempted to purchase they will not allow greater than 90 days out>

Well that is thru RailEurope USA which, unlike many of their other tickets, does have discounted prices rivaling those on www.eurostar.com - the official site where yes I think 90 days is the outer limit so if you see something price-wise that is good on raileurope.com then book it - they not always go up to a year in advance but often do IME. Of course not sure of today's status but recently that was the case.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 10:44 AM
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I am talking about the Eurostar to London from Brussels, not Thalys trains.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 01:42 PM
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Oh I do believe RailEurope however has a service charge per order of like $15 so that adds on.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 02:02 PM
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Folks looking for the cheaper Eurostar tickets at www.eurostar.com will find IME that mid-week later morning trains are the slackest with Fridays thru Mondays, esp early morning or late afternoon trains are the hardest to get and those discounted ducats can sell out much earlier - always check several dates and times!
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Feb 3rd, 2014, 01:13 PM
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On another thread someone just booked at eurostar.com for 39 pounds - midweek late morning train. Or maybe it was you?
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