Choices, choices, choices. We’re very lucky in this day and age that we have so many methods of transport available to us: train, plane, car, coach, walk, bike, etc. So on our recent visit to Paris, we had a choice…do we fly, drive, get the Eurostar or take a coach? We didn’t really fancy driving, because we weren’t sure where we’d be able to leave the car, and we weren’t keen to try our luck with the drivers in Paris. A coach would have taken much longer than flying, and cost about the same, so that wasn’t a real option for us either. So it was between flying and the Eurostar, and we had to weigh up the pros and cons of each.
When flying, you have to be at the airport 2 hours before your flight departs. Once you’ve checked in, you then have to tackle the lengthy queues to get through passport control and then security. If you opt for the Eurostar, you only need to be there 45 minutes before departure. Getting through check in, passport control and security takes all of about 15 minutes, depending on how busy it is.
Jumping on a plane means you get to leave your luggage at the check in desk and don’t have to cart around a suitcase with you everywhere. However, you are limited on weight and what you can take in your hand luggage. With a trip on the Eurostar, you take your bag with you. There’s no weight limit, you just need to be able to lift it on and off the train. No restrictions on what you can carry in your bag (liquid wise, obviously they still don’t appreciate weapons and the such like), and once you’re on the train you just pop it on the luggage rail.
Winner: Eurostar if you don’t want to worry about what you pack, flying if you don’t want to lug your suitcase around with you.
Ease of transport
It’s a 20 minute journey from my house to the nearest airport, and 20 minutes from my boyfriend’s house to Heathrow airport, which means we can get to 2 London airports with ease from home. To get to St Pancras Station for the Eurostar, it’s an hours journey from my house, or an hour and a half from my boyfriend’s. If it were this alone, flying would be the winner. But we had to take into account the journey the other side. The Eurostar arrives in Gare du Nord, which is in the centre of Paris. Flying to Charles de Gaulle airport meant we’d have to tackle the journey to Paris. For some, this may be no problem, but our French is a whole new level of poor so deciphering directions and trains was a worry, and the idea of arriving in central Paris was appealing.
Budget carriers fly from London Luton airport to Charles de Gaulle, with some flights on offer for as low as £30. Eurostar seats can be on sale from £33, but at the time of booking, seats on the flight were marginally cheaper than those we were looking at for the Eurostar.
Some people have a crazy fear of flying, which would probably mean they’d jump at the chance to take the Eurostar. Others have a fear of tunnels, and would probably choose to avoid the Eurostar (although you’re only in the tunnel for about half an hour – we barely noticed we were in there). Personally, I hate not being able to get up and walk about. Once you step on the Eurostar, you find your seat and you’re then free to do what you like. If you want to get up, you can. There are no stewardess’ telling you to put away electronic devices as you take off from the station. And so…
Pretty much every country has an airport. While you may not be able to fly direct from London, you’ll be able to get to an airport for a transfer to your destination. The Eurostar is currently limited to France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland. You’ll be able to get a connecting train, but the destination list is somewhat limited.
So…which did we take?
Eurostar! When we weighed up the pros and cons of each, the Eurostar seemed like a clear winner. We were able to avoid the queues we usually encounter at the airport, didn’t have to worry about weight limit for our suitcase and were able to arrive in the centre of Paris. I’m not a great fan of flying, so the fact we had another option was fantastic. And we’d never been on the Eurostar before, so thought it’d be a great opportunity to experience.
We had really comfortable seats with LOADS of leg room and our own table, and were given a yummy meal. On our way home, we were on the train setting off for home 50 minutes after dragging our suitcase around Sacre Coeur. Definitely the best time saving option for us!