Programs: AA, BA, Mucci: Sir Roger des Directions Routières, PCR
Goodbye Eurostar Leisure Select, hello Standard Premier
Originally Posted by ABTN
Rail operator Eurostar is introducing a new class of service, Standard Premier, to replace its Leisure Select carriages.
The "mid-class" offering will sit between the existing Standard and Business Premier in terms of service.
It is aimed at the "cost-conscious business traveller, but also leisure travellers who want that little bit extra space and service" said Eurostar.
Tickets for the new class will go on sale from May 5, for travel from September 1 ...
Travellers will be offered a "light meal" on board and a selection of magazines.
Eurostar will offer semi-flexible fares on Standard Premier bookings, which means the ticket is refundable with a deduction of 15% of the full value of the ticket, or of the outstanding ticket value if one of the legs has already been travelled.
I answered an online questionnaire about this a while ago, I wasn't sure of the purpose of changing the existing system. The did throw around a few potential names but I can't remember if this was one of them. Personally I always liked the middle-class tier as it was always quieter, same seats as Business Premier and also the same level of food service. Any ideas if the coaches are going to be refitted?
The main difference on the website seems to be referring to a "light meal" rather than a "tasty meal", and there's no reference to newspapers, only magazines. Hopefully it will be a straightforward rebrand and the service itself won't change too much.
They're emphasising flexible fares in Standard Premier, with the following caveat: "Standard Premier flexible fares are refundable with a deduction of 15% of the full value of the ticket, or of the outstanding ticket value if one of the legs has already been travelled."
Found a PDF on a rail trade website detailing Standard Premier service: essentially no more hot food, no more champagne, and only one free drink:
Dedicated fist class carriages and dedicated staff who welcome you onboard and are there throughout the journey to assist.
Light cold savoury meal consisting of 3 "tasting" dishes and drink at seat (see catering section)
Magazines on board
Power points at every seat (both UK and European compatible)
Comfortable larger reclining seats in air-conditioned first class carriages.
Meals served reflect a range of fresh and healthy international dishes and are appropriate to the time of day. Only Business Premier and Standard Premier customers are served meals at their seat. Breakfast is served until 11:00, Lunch: between 11:00 and 14:00, Afternoon meal: between 14:00 and 17:00 and Dinner: from 17:00.
Breakfast - Bread roll, pastries and orange juice. Tea/coffee.
Lunch - Light cold meal consisting of 3 small savoury "tasting" dishes. Served with bread.
Afternoon meal - Light cold meal consisting of 3 small savoury "tasting" dishes. Served with bread.
Dinner - Light cold meal consisting of 3 small savoury "tasting" dishes. Served with bread.
Drinks - 1 complimentary hot drink, soft drink, small bottle of wine or beer.
Programs: BA Gold, LH Sen, MUCCI, Junior Jet Club.
From another online forum...
Standard Premier Trial, 9 June 2010
Out on train 9012 8h55 from St. Pancras
Return on the 9039 15h13 from Gare du Nord
Light meal served
Served to us 8 mins after departure from Ebbsfleet (not necessarily the case on all services)
On tray: bottle of juice, porcelain plate with roll and croissant, butter and jam, cutlery in napkin, porcelain cup. AFTER FEEDBACK THEY WILL NOW PROVIDE A YOGHURT AS WELL
Glass for juice given on request – did not come as standard – AFTER FEEDBACK THEY ARE NOT PROVIDING THIS.
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate (on request) served immediately.
Staff came though for refills twice.
Tray taken at 10h10, with option for more hot drinks.
Water handed round in cups shortly before arrival.
Cold Light Meal option on Paris to Ashford Leg
Immediately after departure bottle of water was given out.
32 mins after train left from Paris staff came through announcing drinks to be served shortly with meal following. (times are approximate and may not be the case on all services)
Wine in small bottles offered plus various soft drinks.
Meal came through at 16h15 (times are approximate and may not be the case on all services).
On tray: cutlery in napkin and 3 different plates with tasters and a chocolate. Menu on tray. Different types of bread offered in basket.
16h30 staff came round with coffee and tea.
Tray was taken shortly after and table wiped.
Another coffee refill.
Hot towels shortly before arrival in ASI.
Prices have gone up a little, food has gone down a lot.
Prices have gone from a minimum of £169 to a minimum of £179. That's not great news.
The worse is the food. I used to travel in Leasure Select for my personal travel because it provided a good warm meal with much better seating (compared with economy). The odd £40 more or so you add to pay for this service were well worth it.
In the new class, you still get the nice seats, but the food has become sparse, and, frankly, terrible. You are served three tiny dishes (in my case a bit of saucisson, a tiny, tiny sandwich, and a bit of carrots). Together, they may replace a normal starter, but will never replace a full meal. In addition, the food is very disappointing. You can buy a much tastier and plentiful meal at the train's bar for less than £10.
So it no longer makes sense to use this intermediate class as opposed to economy. I don't really care about the improved seating as I can survive a couple of hours in the "ok" seat provided in economy, but I do care a lot about the food.
From now on, I'll book in economy, deal with the okay seat, buy myself a nice meal, and save the difference.
This will backfire. When I could get Leisure Select at a reasonable price, I would choose it, but having now tried Standard a few times, I realise a significant price difference is just not worth it. Now they've cut back on the product, and kept prices up, there will be a fall off in demand.
They've also missed the point that with a reduction in journey times since HS1 was opened, they need to have a significant quality differential to attract people to pay for the higher class. Instead they've gone the other way: and so more people will trade down for a journey of only two hours or so.
Couldn't agree with railways more. We always travelled LS, mostly because our usual journey out to Paris was Friday night, after work, and it was good to get a few glasses of wine and a decent if unspectacular meal so that when arriving in Paris at after 10pm you didn't have to hunt around for food.
Assuming I'm travelling with someone, and can get a set of 2 airline seats, I don't see any reason to go Standard Premier. The space isn't that critical for 2 hours, can get a sandwich or light snack from the buffet, and save really quite a bit of money depending on how far in advance I'm booking.
I really struggle to see how many people will pay for Standard Premier.
€uro* are definitely shooting themselves in the foot with this 'enhancement'.
I travel once to twice per week PARLON and have always chosen leisure select for the aforementioned benefits. After experiencing the new service tonight, no longer. The meal offer is wanting, and obliged me to leave my seat and trek to the buffet for further nourishment. No more of their (most base) champagne which was always a compelling USP for the English leisure travelers; and to partake of my preferred friday G+T no at seat sales, again trek through the carriages to the buffet.
Looking at the composition of the meal I can't see how many € € € s are being saved, particularly given that the staffing remains the same, they now just have much less to do, and are clearly embarrassed by the downgrade.
So I shall no longer fork out the extra €100-150 per trip, I shall pique nique in standard class instead. €urostar are going to loose €5-8000 revenue from me alone this year, and I fail to see how they are going to continue to attract customers into this new standard premier class.
With the continuous cutbacks airlines have been doing for years, I was impressed by the hot meal and champagne served on the LON-PAR sector in LeisureSelect back in June.
LeisureSelect was about a premium experience (bigger seat, hot meal, drinks) while StandardPremier seems to be just about the bigger seat (nice but certainly not worth the premium by itself for a two hour trip).
I enjoyed my trip and felt that LeisureSelect was good value, but am in no hurry to try this new incarnation.