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Another day, another bollocks Eurostar experience

When will companies get that ‘internet’ is not just another nice-to-have? It’s not just an also-ran for a whole array of business executives, it’s actually important.

I’m sitting in the Eurostar terminal’s business class lounge right now at Kings Cross St Pancras. I’ve paid £450 for the return ticket. I paid the money partly because I want a big seat without somebody waving their newspaper in my face. And partly because I want stuff done. I want it to work. I don’t want to have to think. Create an exception for me and you’re costing me a lot of money in attention. Indeed, since so much of my work is cerebral, any exception that forces me to have to deal with shit gets really, really annoying.

Witness, for example, the frack-up last week when I changed my ticket from the 8pm to the 7pm train in Paris. The lady at the counter swapped the ticket for me in 30 seconds. I then spent the next 30 minutes dicking about — DICKING — about because the Eurostar reservation system literally double-booked.

What kind of bollocks reservation system double-books? I moved about the carriage three times, each time prompted by the Eurostar lady with her flimsy piece of paper printed at least an hour before. My name wasn’t on it — that’s why I know it was out of date. What the frack is Eurostar giving its team information on BITS of paper for? Why aren’t they carrying a dynamically updating ‘device’ of some sort to give them real time data? So. Stuff like this winds me up. It wound me up even more because I’d paid £225 for the privilege.

Back to the flipping WiFi.

Again, pay the top dollar and you’re supposed to get service. The business class section at Kings Cross is nice. There’s a team of attentive folk walking about asking if you’d like another drink. There are peanuts ready to be spooned on to waiting plates. There are mini cans of lemonade. There are newspapers and magazines.

And there’s bog-standard bollocks internet. It’s perfectly fine if you’re a consumer. When you are trying to while away the 40 minutes before your train boards, waiting a few minutes for your laptop to display your hotmail is, I suspect, wholly acceptable.

I was trying to actually work. You know. Work. In the business section. And that requires me to have fast internet.

Honestly, it’s literally quicker to connect to my 3UK MiFi dongle than it is to use the WiFi — which, by the way, is the same WiFi you get if you sit 5m to my right in the standard class area. It’s the ‘St Pancras WiFi’. That me and about a billion other people are leeching of.

And the sodding power socket by my chair doesn’t work. So my laptop battery is now at 33%. Gaahh.

Thanks a lot Eurostar.

I really was wondering whether I should bother spunking £450 on a business class ticket each week. I’m slowly getting the message that it’s a stupid, stupid way to behave.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

10 replies on “Another day, another bollocks Eurostar experience”

Welcome to SNCF – you only have to travel on the French railway to see where the system came from. Turned up the other week without what I thought was a boarding pass. Oh no – that’s your ticket sir. We can issue you a new one. £15. And he got a pen and paper out to do it.
I now copy and paste the QR code on the ticket to my mobile which opens the gate nicely.

Interestingly SNCF are trying to sell the complete system (trains, track, IT systems) to the US. Even apologised for their war time efforts in an attempt to get the business.

I shouldn’t have to though – AirFrance send me (admittedly badly done) MMS with it and about 20-25% of every flight seem to use their mobiles directly at the gate.

and the Wifi is truly ridiculous.

It’s a shame that you’re having to resort to hacking your own solutions
Rory. I might try the QR hack with Eurostar on my iPhone and see how that
works.

I think to do things reliably, AirFrance should be using apps (web or
otherwise) as apposed to MMS, surely?

Apps have their place – but you end up with app download fatigue. Web you need to be live – bit dodgy if you want to get on a flight. You are left with MMS which is probably more reliable (and cheaper inc. dev costs) across a wider range of platforms than Apps.

Quite a lot of complaints and issues here. Did you ask any of the Eurostar staff for help or point any of your complaints out to them in order thatthey may address your issues there and then?

For instance I do know that in the Eurostar business lounges there is a separate wifi network from the rest of the station, this is controlled by the business lounge receptionist and you need to ask or a log on which keeps it private Amd a lot faster than the rest of the station wifi.

Quite a lot of complaints and issues here. Did you ask any of the Eurostar staff for help or point any of your complaints out to them in order thatthey may address your issues there and then?

For instance I do know that in the Eurostar business lounges there is a separate wifi network from the rest of the station, this is controlled by the business lounge receptionist and you need to ask or a log on which keeps it private Amd a lot faster than the rest of the station wifi.

Hi there jph, no I didn’t address any of the complaints to the staff
on-site. I want stuff to work without exception. For instance, I don’t want
to go checking every single power socket before I can find one that works.

There’s no dedicated WiFi in the London St Pancras business lounge. Likewise
in the Paris Gare du Nord terminal (see this post for how it works:
http://bit.ly/ezzB7k)

Hi there jph, no I didn’t address any of the complaints to the staff
on-site. I want stuff to work without exception. For instance, I don’t want
to go checking every single power socket before I can find one that works.

There’s no dedicated WiFi in the London St Pancras business lounge. Likewise
in the Paris Gare du Nord terminal (see this post for how it works:
http://bit.ly/ezzB7k)

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