Eurostar scraps call centre booking fee offering better value service to travellers

11 Aug 2009

-- Eurostar becomes only London-Paris/Brussels operator to avoid call centre charges-- Transparent credit card charge set lower than airline competitors-- Debit card bookings remain free – ensuring customer choice
Eurostar, provider of high-speed, carbon neutral rail journeys between the UK and the Continent, will from 11 August scrap its £5 booking fee for all ticket reservations made through its UK-based call centre.
The removal of the charge will enable travellers to make journey enquiries by telephone and complete their reservations at the same price as booking via the Eurostar.com website.
At the same time, Eurostar is introducing a charge of £3 per credit card transaction for all bookings by phone and on the internet – which is significantly lower than any of its airline competitors. The charge will offset most of the costs levied on Eurostar by the credit card companies.
However all bookings by debit card remain free, ensuring that Eurostar travellers can continue to avoid any extra charges, and reflecting also the much lower costs levied by the banks for this type of payment card.
Nick Mercer, Commercial Director, Eurostar said: "We're scrapping the fee for booking through our British call centre in order to give travellers even better value and service. The costs levied by credit card companies are out of our control and we are having to pass these on, but we want travellers to have the choice of avoiding extra charges and thus all debit card bookings will remain free.
(Information obtained from the relevant web-sites and call centres on or before 7 August 2009).The £3 credit card charge per transaction will be clearly signalled throughout Eurostar's online booking process avoiding the practice elsewhere of extra charges appearing at the last minute before confirmation of a ticket reservation.
***ENDS***
Notes to editors:
1. Eurostar provides high-speed, carbon neutral rail journeys between St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps. Onward connections are available to destinations across mainland Europe.
2. Travellers can buy connecting fares to the Continent from more than 200 stations across the UK. Return ticket prices range from £63, including Brighton from £71 and Edinburgh from £92. Eurostar's lead-in fare of £59 return from London to Paris/Brussels has gone unchanged for six years. To book tickets or for more information, please visit www.eurostar.com or call 08705 186 186.
3. Under its Tread Lightly environmental plan, Eurostar has set a target of reducing its CO2 emissions by 35% per traveller journey by 2012. Because emissions cannot yet be eliminated, Eurostar is also the world's first train operator to make all journeys carbon neutral, at no extra cost to travellers. Research commissioned by Eurostar has shown that a Eurostar journey between London and Paris/Brussels generates just one-tenth of the carbon dioxide of an equivalent flight.
4. Eurostar and Friends of the Earth are working together in the UK on Eurostar's Tread Lightly initiative and Friends of the Earth's climate campaign. To find out more about Friends of the Earth visit www.friendsoftheearth.co.uk.
5. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe's leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
6. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate businesses. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's biggest customer.
7. To book tickets or for more travel information, please visit www.eurostar.com or call 08705 186 186.
For more information contact:
Eurostar Press OfficeEurostart: 0044 (0)20 7843 5500e: press.office@eurostar.co.uk