As a frequent Eurostar traveller, I use the Eurostar website to book tickets several times a month.
It’s never been a state of the art site, but over time there are little changes here and there. One of the most important changes was the introduction of print-at-home tickets, who work very well (even using the PDF on a phone display works, but you still need to carry the paper).
However, recently they seem to have introduced small user interface “enhancements” to make my life even harder.
Very annoying things
- Pages are very tall and require continuous side bar scrolling. Combined with the 800 width on a 1280 px display, my mouse covers many useless meters when using this site.
- There is a lot of text. So much text, text text… my brain has now leartn to ignore all written text and just go for the buttons. I am probably missing something important?
- The site keeps offering me “amazing hotel deals” even when I book same day return tickets… hello?
- After some 50 trips on Eurostar where I did not buy insurance, they keep trying – do you want insurance? OK for a little just in case link, but this insurance section takes another good half screen in height, which means more scrolling. Besides, what insurance is it? They just say “insurance”. Is it medical insurance, repatriation, or cancellation/refund? I am certainly not going to waste time and click through to maybe read the details.
- I am myself (a-ha), and all my details are in my profile. There is only one preferred traveller in my profile – i.e. myself. Why do I have to always reselect myself in the list of “preferred travellers” when I am one and only one?
- In my profile, I only have the choice of 3 nationalities: UK, France and Belgium. Hello?
- The seat selection process is very annoying – an extra 8 clicks and page reloads… very very annoying, this is maybe the worst part. Bugs aside (the coach number often resets to 1 – be careful), it remains useful despite the scrolling and clicks.
Things become even more annoying
- I used to be able to select multiple trips and pay all in one go. This has disappeared recently. Now for every single trip I have to reenter all the payment details one by one and go through checkout. Truly annoying. Maybe they took this decision because the sessions could become long and users would get frustrated after filling in several trips to see all lost 10 minutes later.
- the ability to view all possible prices for each train – this is a good way to quickly see and compare options. Like on most airline sites nowadays. It makes it very easy. It’s not new, it’s been around for a while, but it’s worth.
- print-at-home tickets (PDF) – they work well. Initially, my printouts didn’t work and I had to go through the manual check-in desk. But after some time the printouts started working – maybe I changed ink or they changed lasers. I even tried to go through the automated gates by displaying the 2D code on my mobile phone display. The problem is that the human controllers want to see the paper and don’t accept the PDF document on a screen. Hello?
- favourite seat: I always book the same seat – 14-66 out and 14-33 back. I’d like to store this in my profile and if these are available, having them automatically preselected.
Obviously, I’d be delighted to help Eurostar redesign the website.