Eurostar FAQ

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Bienvenue. Welcome to the Eurostar FAQ - for all your questions on fares, ticketing and what to expect when travelling on Eurostar. If you have updated or new information, please feel free to update this post by clicking on 'edit' below!

Q. How do I get the cheapest fares?

A. Generally, by booking as far in advance as possible on www.eurostar.com, the cheapest fares from London to Paris and Brussels start from £72 return in Standard Class. Standard Premier (Premium Economy-style) start from £159 for a return ticket. It is possible to mix fare classes and travel out in Standard and back in Standard Premier for example. Sometimes a Standard Premier ticket may only be a few pounds more or even cheaper than a Standard Class ticket depending on when you book. As with airline fares the nearer the date of travel the more expensive it is to travel, although from time to time fares do drop down in price when travel periods are quiet.

There are occasionally promotional fares from time to time such as 2-for-1 deals from The Daily Telegraph newspaper. Eurostar tickets are available to book four months in advance of travel.
When booking on www.eurostar.com there is a credit card fee for all transactions over £30. The fee is £4 per transaction regardless of the number of pax booked. There is no charge for payment by debit card.

Also, if you're going to Brussels, check Deutsche Bahn's website to see if their prices to Cologne are cheaper than Eurostar's own website.

Q. What if I only want a one-way ticket?

A. One-way fares between London and Paris/Brussels start at £41 for a non-exchangeble/non-refundable ticket in Standard Class. These fares are available in limited quantities and must be booked well in advance of travel (usually at least 3 weeks) but may be available at short notice during quiet periods. Discounted one-way fares in Standard Premier start from £110 and, again, are non-flexible.

Q. Are there any other discounts?

A. Travellers under 26 and those over aged 60 and over may book Youth and Senior fares respectively starting from £39 one-way (£69 return) to Paris and Brussels. Holders of international rail passes are also eligible for discounted Eurostar fares. Be warned though, normal fares may sometimes work out cheaper than buying a Youth, Senior of Passholder fare. Always shop around. Wheelchair users can book fully flexible fares and travel in Standard Premier with one companion for only £69 return each (the price of the cheapest Standard Class return fare).

Q. What about destinations beyond Paris?

A. As well as direct trains to the Alpine ski resorts in the winter, Eurostar now offers a year-round, direct service to from London & Ashford to Lyon, Avignon & Marseille. The service runs weekly throughout the year and up to five times a week in summer, taking around 6.5 hours. Fares start at around £10-£15 higher than the Paris price.

Tip: While the southbound is direct, northbound travellers will need to get off the train (with luggage) at Lille for security and immigration. Since you're doing this anyway, check to see if a TGV+Eurostar might be cheaper or more convenient.

Q. How can I book from overseas?

A. Very easy. All bookings on the Eurostar website allow purchases with most major international credit cards. You can choose to have your tickets delivered to your country of residence (if available from the list on the booking page), collect from the station on the day of departure, or print your ticket at home.

Q. What can I expect on board?

A. Eurostar offers three classes of service:-
  • Business Premier (First Class)
    Dedicated carriages for full-fare ticket holders only, at-seat light meal including drinks and champagne, express breakfast options, newspapers and magazines, lounge access. Option to pre-purchase chauffeur cars at both ends of the journey. All First Class carriages are now equipped with UK and continental power points. Business Premier tickets are recognised by the number "1" for First Class under the class indicator on your ticket.
  • Standard Premier (formerly Leisure Select)
    Exactly the same reclining seat as in Business Premier. A cold Continental breakfast or light canapé style meal and ONE complimentary drink including tea and coffee is served at your seat. Magazines are available, no newspapers. No lounge access. As Standard Premier is not First Class the number "1" will not appear under the class indicator on your ticket.
  • Standard Class
    Standard Class seat, refreshments for purchase from the bar-buffet. No at-seat trolley service. Full-fare ticket holders are automatically allocated seats in either coaches 5 or 14, the only coaches in Standard Class equipped with UK and continental power points.

Q. How do I collect my tickets?

A. From either the Eurostar self-service ticket machines or the Eurostar ticket office (Railtour office in Bruxelles-Midi station). Collection is easy, just bring the card you used to book and the 6-letter PNR (or 8-letter Elgar booking reference). Alternatively you can now print your tickets at your leisure and go straight to check-in on the day of departure. At the check-in gate simply scan the barcode on the reader and voila! If Print-your-own tickets have been changed at the ticket desk then you will be given new boarding pass(es).

Q. What are the check-in times?

A. Standard Class and Standard Premier passengers should check-in at least 30 mins before departure, Eurostar Frequent Traveller Carte Classique members can check-in up to 20 mins before departure and Eurostar Carte Blanche members as well as Business Premier passengers can check-in up to 10 mins before departure. Check-in opens at least one hour prior to departure.

Q. Is there fast-track check-in?

A. Yes, a dedicated fast-track check-in lane is available to Business Premier ticket holders and Eurostar Carte Blanche members at St Pancras International, Paris Nord and Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid.

Q. How do I check-in?

A. Most tickets these days have a barcode and you scan this on the ticket gate. If you have a ticket with a magnetic stripe on the back simply insert it into the automatic check-in machine and wait for it to pop out. If you have a paper ticket without a magnetic stripe or barcode (usually when booked through a travel agent), or have any issues, then you will need to go to the manual check-in desk.

Q. How do I find my seat?

A. Each Eurostar train has 18 coaches numbered 1-18. You will always find coach 1 at the rear and coach 18 at the front of the train when travelling to the Continent. First Class coaches (7-12) are located in the middle of the train with the two bar-buffets coaches (6 and 13) separating Standard Class from First Class. Each seat is numbered numerically with no letters. Coaches 1 and 18 (Standard Class) have family areas and baby-changing facilities. The majority of seating in these coaches are around tables of four. Coaches 9 and 10 are half-length First Class coaches and also where wheelchair users are seated (one per coach). Coaches 2-5 and 14-17 are normal Standard Class coaches and each coach has just two tables of four in the centre, with the remainder of seats being airline-style seats.

Q. Can I choose a specific seat when booking?

A. For online bookings you can select your seat from the seatmap on any fare in any class. When calling Eurostar reservations you may request a particular type of seat (facing, window, table, etc) available at the time of booking. You may also select a particular coach for your class of travel. On busy or overbooked services specific seat selection may not be available online.

Q. What are the seating arrangements like?

A. Standard Class:
Seats are arranged in a 2-2 configuration similar to airlines. Armrests are moveable but seats do not recline. All seats have a fold-down table and a foot-rest (except for seats around a fixed table). In a normal standard coach half the seats will be facing the direction of travel. Seat pitch is decent enough. A few seats are arranged with four seats around a table, which get snapped up very quickly.

Business Premier/Standard Premier:
There is no difference in the seating arrangements between these two classes. Seats are in a 2-1 configuration throughout the whole of First Class. Coaches 7, 8, 11 and 12 will have seats arranged in pairs, singles and fours around a table. Seats side by side with seatback tables are Aisle and Window seats. Seats of four around a fixed table are known as Club 4 whilst single seats facing each other around a fixed table are known as Club Duo. Individual (Solo) seats have a seatback table and foot-rest. Seats are reclineable by pushing the button on the moveable armrest and shifting the base of your seat. You will know if your seat is around a fixed table if it has Club Duo or Club 4 printed on your ticket.

There are seat maps here:

http://www.eurostar4agents.com/files...at_plan_UK.pdf
https://www.dropbox.com/s/3e9jdeisra...-plan.pdf?dl=0

Q. What food can I expect in Business Premier?

A. On all morning trains (departing origin before 11:00) breakfast will be served. There will be either a choice of a cold Continental or cooked breakfast served with fresh juice, yoghurt and pastries/bread. Lunch (departures from 11:00-14:00) will include a choice of two main entrees and a side dish (salad with dressing) and dessert. Afternoon meals (departures between 14:00-17:00) are exactly the same. Dinner is served on trains departing from 17:00 and, again, there will be a choice of two entrees together with a salad and dessert. Food portion sizes are small. A full complimentary bar is available on all trains but alcohol is only available on request on morning breakfast trains.

Business Premier afternoon meal example London-Paris

Business Premier afternoon meal example Paris-London

Q. What food can I expect in Standard Premier?

A. Very poor quality based on the comments in this thread:

Goodbye Eurostar Leisure Select, hello Standard Premier

Q. What food can I expect in Standard Class?

A. Expensive and average quality stuff from the 2 onboard bar-buffets. Better to buy a sandwich and a bottle of water before you board the train unless you are prepared to pay. When I travel in Standard Class I get free tea by asking for a cup of hot water and bringing my own teabags. I will not pay £1.90 for a small cup of tea or coffee. Because I'm tight.

The latest buffet car menus can be viewed here:

http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel.../food-on-board

Q. Is wi-fi available on the train?

A. No. Wi-fi is available in most Eurostar terminals and in the business lounges. On the other hand, 3G internet is available for most of the journey if you have a phone/tablet/etc. with the necessary SIM, and will soon be available under the tunnel.

Q. Any general seating tips?

A. Avoid the seats right by the vestibule doors due to the constant noise of them opening and closing throughout the journey. Coaches 9 and 10 may be less crowded in First Class at less busy times and offer slightly more space as each seat has a fixed table in Club Duo and Club 4 formation. Coach 18 in Standard Class is the most convenient for a quick exit on arrival in Paris and Brussels. Coaches 1-3 offers a quick exit on arrival at St Pancras Int'l. Coach 5 is the most convenient for the exit in Lille when travelling Brussels-Lille. Coaches 5 and 14 in Standard Class are adjacent to the bar-buffet coaches.

Q. What if I want to change my seat assignment?

A. It is now possible to change your seat assignment online until departure for both telephone and internet bookings. Once you have retrieved your booking you may select a new seat (subject to the seat selection function being available). At check-in go to the manual check-in desk to receive your new boarding pass.

Q. Do I get lounge access?

A. Business Premier ticket holders and Amex Platinum and Centurion card holders are entitled to lounge access. No guests. Railteam elite members are also entitled to lounge access, no guests except for Eurostar's own Carte Blanche members. Please check if your Frequent Traveller programme is a member of Railteam.

Q. What are the facilities in the lounges?

A. Lounges are available at St. Pancras Int'l, Ebbsfleet Int'l, Paris Nord and Bruxelles-Midi. In London there is spacious seating spread over two floors with lift access to the upper floor. For early morning departures continental breakfast is available which includes cereal, fresh fruit and pastries. Throughout the day there will be light nibbles such as nuts and...not much else. A free bar is open all day. International newspapers and magazines are available. As well as free wi-fi in the lounge there are four PCs located on the upper floor. At the time of writing direct access to the platforms isn't available. The lounge is located on the right, immediately after Business Premier check-in and passport control.

In Brussels and Paris the lounges are smaller with the old Phillipe Starck egg-chairs. Usual savoury snacks and biscuits and free bar are available as well as international newspapers and magazines. Free internet access is available. Business facilities are lacking. In Brussels you can find the lounge in the main departure hall near the shops. In Paris the lounge is located at the very end of the departure lounge. At Ashford Int'l you can find a quiet area with limited snacks and drinks.

Q. Can I upgrade my Standard Class ticket?

A. You can, if there is availability. For a lot more money than what it's worth you can upgrade your ticket to Standard Premier either at the ticket office or on-board the train.

Q. What are the baggage rules?

A. You can take up to two bags onto the train. There is no weight limit beyond that you need to be able to carry them yourself. Bags cannot be longer than 85cm (about 33 inches) in any dimension. You can also take one small item of hand luggage.

Excess and outsize baggage as well as weapons need to be checked (Eurostar calls this "registered baggage") at a fee of £18 per extra case for the first three pieces, £35 each for fourth and subsequent pieces, and £30 for sporting and collectors guns. Bikes can be brought on board in bike bags if they meet the 85cm limit; under 1.2m in a bike bag and it's £10, while larger bike bags and fully assembled bikes travel for £30. Registered baggage is only available for journeys between London and Paris, Lille and Brussels or vice-versa.

There's a list of prohibited items at http://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel...ohibited-items. Larger quantities of alcohol, including wine, need to be checked in.

Luggage racks are available near the doors and any items left there must be labelled with the owner's name and address on the outside of the bag. Labels are usually available for this purpose at check-in and on a holder next to the rack. Smaller items (up to the size of an airline carry-on) should be stored in the overhead racks in the carriages to leave the main luggage racks (which aren't really that big) free for larger items.

Q. What are the passport control and security procedures?

A. Passport control is now undertaken before boarding. At St Pancras Int'l security screening takes place immediately after check-in followed by passport control. At Paris-Nord passport control takes place immediately after check-in followed by security. At Bruxelles-Midi there are two separate passport control checks, one before security and one after. At Lille-Europe passport control takes place prior to check-in.

Security screening consists of baggage being X-rayed and passengers passing through walk-through metal detectors. There are no restrictions on liquids, and no body scanners or anything silly like that.

For journeys to the UK, if you are not a UK/EU citizen then you should complete a UK landing card prior to check-in (available from staff or displayed in racks near the check-in areas) and present to British Immigration officers. There is currently no passport control either on-board the train or on arrival at any Eurostar station, with the exception that there are sometimes spot checks at St. Pancras International on arrivals from Brussels services.

Q. Can I travel for free in Belgium?

A. Yes if you have chosen a ticket to "Any Belgian Station", no otherwise. See post 128 for more details: BRU tix no longer include 'any Belgian station'

Q. What happens if my train is delayed? Do I get any compensation?

A. If your train has been delayed (within Eurostar's control) by at least one hour you will receive a free one-way ticket (or 50% off the price of a return ticket) in the same class of travel for a future trip on Eurostar. If the delay exceeds 2hrs you will receive a free round-trip ticket. For delays of 5hrs or more you get a free round-trip ticket as well as a refund of the affected part of your journey.

Free compensation tickets are changeable once before departure and are capacity-controlled, with fewer seats available during busier periods, so it's best to book well in advance, particularly if you are travelling in Standard Premier. To book a compensation ticket by telephone simply quote the PNR of your delayed trip or exchange your used ticket at the ticket desk.

For full details on Eurostar's compensation policy please see below for their customer commitment charter and how you will be assisted in the event of disruption to travel, including help with onward travel and accommodation:

http://www.eurostar.com/UK/uk/leisur...er_charter.jsp

Q. How do I get between Eurostar terminals and local airports?

A. Here is a list of applicable airports:
  • LHR: London Underground Piccadilly line direct to King's Cross St. Pancras. Journey time approx. 60-70 minutes (depending on departure terminal).
    Heathrow Express to Paddington and change onto London Underground Circle or Hammersmith & City line (which depart from same platform) to King's Cross St. Pancras. Journey time approx. 45-50 minutes (depending on departure terminal).
  • LGW: First Capital Connect offer direct services from Gatwick Airport station straight to St Pancras Int'l. Journey time approx. 55 minutes.
  • LCY: DLR to Bank, change for the London Underground Northern line to King's Cross St. Pancras. Journey time approx. 35 minutes.
  • LTN: First Capital Connect offer direct services from Luton Airport Parkway station straight to St Pancras Int'l. Journey time approx. 35 minutes once you're on the train, but you need to get a shuttle bus or taxi from the airport to the station which can add up to 20 minutes.
  • STN: Stansted Express to Tottenham Hale, change for the London Underground Victoria line to King's Cross St. Pancras. Journey time approx. 65 minutes.
  • CDG: RER Line B suburban train from CDG T1 and T2 direct to Paris Gare du Nord. Trains depart every 10-15 mins, both non-stop and stopping, journey time approx. 30 minutes. Fare is approx. 8.50€ one-way.
  • ORY: Orlyval automated people mover to Antony, for a direct connection on RER B suburban train to Paris Gare du Nord, mostly semi-fast services. Journey time approx. 30 minutes.
  • LIL: Hourly shuttle bus between Lesquin and Lille-Europe. Journey time approx. 20 minutes, cost €5.
  • BRU: SNCB suburban train from Brussels National direct to Brussels-Midi. Journey time approx. 20 mins, trains every 20 mins. Fare is approx. €2.50.

Original information provided by Strawb.
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Old Nov 8, 07, 7:17 am
  #1  
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Eurostar FAQ

[Moderator Edit] Please see above for the wikipost containing this thread's information.

Last edited by stut; Apr 22, 13 at 9:14 am Reason: replaced by wikipost
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Old Nov 8, 07, 9:34 am
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Ah, cool stuff, UK Flyer.

I'd also add ORY: Orlyval automated people mover to Antony, for a direct connection on RER B suburban train to Paris Gare du Nord, mostly semi-fast services. Average journey time 30 minutes. Dunno the cost, but it's probably the same as CDG.

And possibly even (what with it being the new BD hub and all ) LIL: hourly shuttle bus between Lesquin and Lille-Europe. Average journey time is 20 minutes, cost €5.

Last edited by stut; Nov 8, 07 at 9:44 am
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Old Nov 8, 07, 9:51 am
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Yeah, thanks for the info. I've added that now. Excellent thread by the way stut.
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Old Nov 8, 07, 2:47 pm
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Current Eurostar Promotions

Valid until 30th November 2007

2-for-1 tickets to Paris, Brussels and Lille from Ebbsfleet Int'l.

This is a good deal for those living in Kent and Essex. Get two tickets for the price of one for travel from Ebbsfleet Int'l only.

www.eurostar.com/ebbsfleet

Enter promotional code...wait for it...'EBBSFLEET' to take advantage of this deal. Travel is permitted between 19 November 2007 and 28 February inclusive, limited availabilty at weekends.
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Old Nov 8, 07, 7:53 pm
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Originally Posted by UK flyer View Post
Eurostar tickets are available to book four months in advance of travel.
That seems to be true if I use Mozilla Firefox to visit the Eurostar website (won't sell to me more than four months out). If I use Internet Explorer, I appear to be able to purchase all the way out to about August 2008. Although various FAQ sites list 180 days out as the ticketing window. Which is correct? (will be traveling early April 2008)

And I was finding US$51.50 each way London-Paris return the other day when I was searching, but now the best I can find is about US$75.50 each way. Was there some kind of special going on or ???

edit: Guess I found my answer at http://meleterc.com/Page523.html - same day return at US$102 r/t.

Another question. I will be purchasing using a US debit card (ATM card with VISA number). I read somewhere that "virtual" credit cards are not permitted for online purchase, will I be able to use a debit card for purchasing Eurostar tix online.

Thanks

Last edited by omahajim; Nov 8, 07 at 8:45 pm Reason: correction
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Old Nov 9, 07, 5:56 am
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Eurostar UK officially states that bookings can only be made 4 months (or 180 days) in advance. You are right though - it looks like on the US site, when using IE, you can make bookings all the way up until August 2008.

If booking from the US site, then your US debit card should be accepted. Eurostar accepts the following debit cards: Maestro, Switch, Visa Electron, Delta and Solo. If your booking is successful then you should receive a 6-letter PNR beginning with one of the following letters; Q, R, S or T. You can view full details of your booking at anytime on the Eurostar website by entering the email address you used for your booking and the 6-letter PNR.

Yes, day returns in Standard Class are cheaper than longer period returns on the US site. In the UK, however, day returns in Standard Class are priced exactly the same as a longer period return. Only First Class day returns are discounted.

If you are booking now for April 2008 then you should expect to be able to book the lowest fares. If you are doing a day return then you should book on the US site as the price, US$102, is slightly cheaper than the UK equivalent. If you intend on a longer period return then US$151 is not the lowest fare right now. I would suggest booking on the UK site in order to obtain the cheapest £59 return ticket. You will, however, have to wait until the beginning of December in order to book on the UK site for April next year.
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Old Nov 9, 07, 1:05 pm
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Thank you very much UK flyer.

I did a United mileage run to Heathrow in November 2006 and had a great Remembrance Day walking around the Westminster area (5 hours in London before returning to the US).

On March 30 I will be on the inaugural DEN-LHR nonstop in C, so I figure I'll spend a few days this time and get down to Paris (first time there). Will probably do the Fat Tyre day and night bike tours in Paris.

Anyways thanks for the helpful info and FAQ, looking forward to my trip.
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Old Nov 10, 07, 2:06 pm
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The FAQ is wonderful, exactly what I need.

How far in advance should I arrive at St Pancras for ticket collection and to clear security and passport control? I hold a US passport, should that matter.

fwiw, I had the UK and US sites up, using different browsers. I was able to find a time on the US site available at a lower cost than on the UK site.

Last edited by SanDiego1K; Nov 10, 07 at 2:21 pm
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Old Nov 10, 07, 2:50 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
How far in advance should I arrive at St Pancras for ticket collection and to clear security and passport control? I hold a US passport, should that matter.
Based on previous experience at Waterloo the busiest periods for check-in are Friday afternoons, Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings. I would recommend turning up at least 45 mins before departure if you haven't already collected your tickets. There will be plenty of machines for you at St Pancras to collect them from.

Regarding passport control at St Pancras - after passing through security this will involve two inspections. Firstly your passport will be checked by British Immigration officers. You will then proceed to another desk where your passport will be checked again, this time by French Police officers. It remains to be seen if passport control by British Immigration officers will be on a permanant or a part-time basis.
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Old Nov 10, 07, 2:53 pm
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Thank you. That's very helpful.
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Old Nov 16, 07, 2:55 am
  #11  
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Quick Q about the 20-minute check-in for Carte Classique holders - is this still the case? The Eurostar website is self-contradictory about it.

If it is still the case, is is strictly member-only, or member plus guest?

TIA
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Old Nov 16, 07, 3:16 am
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Eurostar Carte Classique members are still entitled to 20 min check-in (plus guest if travelling together). This benefit has not been withdrawn.
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Old Nov 16, 07, 3:56 am
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Thanks, UK Flyer, that's exactly the answer I was hoping for! By all accounts, the current state of the departure lounge at STP sounds rather sparse, so that gives us all the more time basking in Barlow.
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Old Nov 16, 07, 7:53 am
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Small Correction:
Originally Posted by UK flyer View Post
Q. What are the passport control and security procedures?

A. At [...] Brussels-Midi security X-ray screening takes place immediately after check-in followed by passport control.
Actually, in Brussels, there is check-in first, then Belgian emigration, then security control with x-ray screening and metal detector, and then UK immigration.

SmilingBoy.
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Old Jan 3, 08, 7:26 am
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I was told when I booked my ticket today that the Business lounge in St. Pancras is still not open yet. Last time I was there, though, there was a little curtained off area with a 'Business Premier' sign on it. Is that a temporary lounge? If so, what is in there, and is there access with Amex Plat?

Also, is there a different immigration in London for people traveling to Belgium, or is it the same as going to France?

Thanks

Dr. PITUK
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