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Eurostar website

The Eurostar website: one step forward and two steps backwards

Eurostar website

The Eurostar website

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.

Good things

  • 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?

What’s missing

  • 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.

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “The Eurostar website: one step forward and two steps backwards

  1. I love this site but right now I hate Eurostar. Why? Because the forced me to buy an additional EUR 245 ticket after I could not collect ticket from machine at Gare du Nord because my wallet had been lost that morning so I didn’t have credit card used to purchase. What I did have was a printed receipt and a passpost. Eurostars response – too bad for you. I have written a letter asking for EUR 245 refund. No response. You seem like a real expert. Any advice as to what my next step should be?

    Posted by Kate Hedges | October 7, 2010, 1:13 pm
    • Hi Kate –

      thanks for the compliment who obviously deserves a reply. I know they are very strict with procedures and rules, however in your situation this would be ridiculous.

      You should definetely send a written claim to the Eurostar Customer Service with all proof of puchases and your police or at least bank report for the lost card, and a simple letter describing date by date what has happened.

      If nothing happens you can also post a request for attention on the Eurostar Facebook page and contact the Eurostar Twitter team on @little_breaks.

      Keep me posted. I trust there are smart people working there despite a few not so smart ones.

      Posted by eurostarclient | October 8, 2010, 10:41 am
  2. Awesome website, I had not noticed eurostarclient.com earlier during my searches!
    Continue the great work!

    Posted by Shaun Phillips | October 19, 2010, 12:40 pm
  3. Wondering if anyone has had the Eurostar frequent traveller website “loose” their frequent traveller number details?

    I logged into the site ok with my email address and password but none of my points or details of journeys etc appear – anywhere – and when I try and add/associate my frequent traveller number the system does not recognise it and says its an invalid number?

    Appreciate any similar experiences or solutions.

    Thanks Kim

    Posted by Kim | November 30, 2010, 9:25 am
  4. Hi Kim,

    it all worked well for me, the only thing I can suggest is to double check your Frequent Traveller number – it should start with “3083811000…”. Make sure you enter the correct amount of zeros as on your card. The other option is to call them and ask them to check that your number is correct and/or active. Keep us posted, it’s good to know how you’ll solve this!

    Posted by eurostarclient | November 30, 2010, 2:30 pm

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