Is the Upgrade to Eurostar Standard Premier Worth It?
Updated: May 9, 2020
I love the Eurostar rail link between London and continental Europe and have been fortunate enough to use it quite a few times on both original Eurostar trains (that design really takes you back to the past!) and the lovely new e320 rolling stock. There are three travel classes on Eurostar - Standard, Standard Premier and Business Premier - and since I do love my little luxuries, for the past couple of trips I went for an upgrade to Eurostar Standard Premier. Was it worth paying extra? Absolutely! Read this Eurostar Standard Premier review to find out why.
What is Eurostar Standard Premier?
Standard Premier is the branding of Eurostar premium economy class, but there is a big difference between premium economy as you know it from airplanes and what you get with Eurostar. Whilst on a plane premium economy would put you in pretty much the same seat as economy passengers, albeit with a bit more legroom, Standard Premier on Eurostar puts you in the same carriages and seats as the passengers going Business Premier, so instead of the 2x2 seat layout, it's 2x1. This means a Eurostar upgrade just one class up from Standard buys you fewer people in the carriage, wider seats and ample legroom.
You can check out the seating plans here for all three train types that are in operation on Eurostar - this will show you where the Standard Premier/Business Premier carriages are in the trains and also the layout difference between the standard and premier carriages:
Is it expensive?
Well, the prices for Standard class on board a Eurostar train start at £29 on the London-Paris route (one way), and you certainly won't get a Premier ticket for that money. However, for the days/times I wanted to travel the £29 tickets were never available anyway, and the price difference between Standard and Premier can sometimes be only £10-£30 pounds (one way). If you're lucky, you could bag a one-way premium ticket to Paris for as little as £84, but prices can go up significantly, so if you spot a good deal, go for it before it disappears. The most expensive Standard Premier ticket I've seen was £199. Business Premier on the other hand, doesn't seem to fluctuate and remains consistently expensive at £245.
What do you get for your money in Standard Premier on Eurostar?
Apart from the awesome seats (with USB charging points as well as UK and EU sockets as seen in the photo above) and separate premier carriages, which in itself is a massive selling point for me (honestly, anything that mentions extra legroom gets considered, #tallpeopleproblems), you also get served a meal at your seat. While Business Premier passengers get a hot meal, for Standard Premier the main course is cold, but nevertheless it's a substantial enough meal consisting of a small main, bread roll with butter, dessert, a small biscuit, a bottle of water, a soft drink or wine, and tea or coffee, all served on proper plates and with proper cutlery. The Eurostar Standard Premier food can be a bit hit and miss - the first time I got some super chewy meat, but on the last trip everything was delicious, especially a super yummy nutty eclaire.
What do you not get with this Eurostar upgrade?
There is no lounge access or late check in and the check in queue and waiting area are shared with the Standard class passengers. That's one thing that could benefit from improvement in general when travelling with Eurostar as the queues can get rather long and slow. You have to pass two passport checks and a security screening before getting through to the waiting area and though the check is a lot easier than airport security due to no restrictions on liquids and no need to take out electronic devices, the queue still moves slowly. The waiting areas have also always been significantly overcrowded during my trips and more often than not it's been a struggle to find a seat.
So what's the verdict?
All in all, the Eurostar Standard Premier was totally worth it for me. I feel that the comfort of the Premier class carriages and the meal are well worth paying extra for and the price difference to Standard seats is often marginal. I don't mind spending more for that little bit of luxury and certainly found Standard Premier class on Eurostar to be a much better deal that premium economy/extra legroom seats on most if not all airplanes.
Want to make your trip even more relaxed and luxurious? Check out these must-have train travel accessories
If you're taking the Eurostar to Belgium, read about my impressions of and tips for spending Christmas in Bruges. If you're travelling on the Eurostar to London, do check out my London-related posts for things to do during your stay in this fab city.