If you travel to Europe via the Eurostar you might be tempted to go Economy class each time, on the basis that it is less expensive. But is travelling Economy class a false economy when you consider your health and work productivity?
I travel on the Eurostar to Europe regularly so I can explore and evaluate the route, station facilities, services, food and local community. On my last trip to Paris I decided to treat myself and ‘upgrade’ my usual Economy ticket to a Standard Premium ticket with the view of testing out whether or not paying slightly more would be a healthier alternative. Here’s what I discovered.
I expected to pay much more for the higher class of travel, but I was pleasantly surprised the total cost one way was only £79.00 to Europe. Admittedly, I booked the lowest price I could find and then used my loyalty points to bring the total cost down even further. A remarkable bargain in the end, especially when one considers the cost of the normal standard class fare is often £69.50 and the first class being more than the budget would allow for the same time slot.
So what does one expect for a higher price ticket? Well, for me it was comfort first and foremost. The food was another top consideration, but just in case I didn’t desire the options on board I had prepared a backup plan.
I’m not a tall person by any means, but I certainly found the extra leg room a welcome difference. I could spend the next 2 hours and 16 minutes with my legs stretched out and actually manage to do some exercises without being cramped by my briefcase. Now you may think that it is only necessary to do exercises when on a plane, but if you’re sitting down for two hours or more then movement is very important to keep the blood circulating.
The seat in Standard Premium was much bigger than in Standard class, and far more comfortable with soft puffy leather. There was also an option to recline, making it easy to relax if need be.
The table top was remarkably bigger, or so it appeared. I managed to fit my 15-inch laptop to the side of table top at the same time as the meal tray directly in front of me. More to the point the table wasn’t crammed by the seat in front, which allowed me to enjoy the meal with less fear of spillage.
Food and Drink
I emailed the day before to request a special dietary meal. Unfortunately, I was too late as the rule is 48 hours’ notice before travel for such orders. However, the caterers were extremely helpful and emailed over the menu so I could see if the items were suitable for my dietary requirements. For someone wanting a low calorific option, this provided some insight into how one could manage their diet. Nutritional information or a full list of ingredients weren’t emailed across, so if you have an allergy or more specialised dietary requirement, I would advise contacting the Eurostar at least two days in advance so they have a chance to prepare for your needs.
The food was ‘light’ in portion size, but for those with a higher calorific requirement extra bread rolls were available. I enjoyed my main ‘meal’ and had a yoghurt with a muesli top (236 calories) for dessert which I had picked up en route in the departure lounge.
As for liquid refreshments, there was plenty to choose from. For those not wanting any wine or alcoholic beverages, the options were plentiful. I had already brought a bottle of water out of habit, but found this too was plentiful and provided as part of the ticket price.
Mistakenly, I assumed that Wifi would be available in the better class tickets. This wasn’t the case so my ability to access and catch up on emails was still restricted to the terminal or another mode of connectivity. The good news is new trains are coming in with Wifi throughout.
It is a false economy to travel the least expensive price fare if it impacts on your physical and mental health in the long term.
So, if you’re travelling regularly on business and budget allows, then travelling Standard Premium may be more conducive to health, particularly if you are travelling on a day return or have further travel to make. When all costs are taken into account (meal and beverages) it can even work out less expensive!