a VirtualTourist member from Chicago
I was under the impression that you could only buy Eurostar tickets 120 days before travel so I was a little surprised when I went to the US site and could buy tickets all the way through November. I guess that explains why most of the decent trains on Sunday June 9th are already sold out at the lowest rate being that today would be the 1st day that they were available.
Did they recently change this policy?
And and FYI for those of you who live in London, I was able to buy on the UK site (saved a whopping10 although when I was looking earlier today I would have saved18 by booking on the US site, maybe that was a glitch) so I'm guessing if you live in the UK you could try booking on the US site?
Seems rather odd that they would give US residents an advantage over UK or France residents...
I don't think they've changed their policies. The latest date available for UK booking is 31st May.
The UK fare (39GBP) for that date is a bit cheaper than the US fare (66USD) for the same date/departure. And 39GBP is the cheapest fares ever go.
Although November dates are given on the US version of www.eurostar.com it won't let me book outside the 120 day limit. Are you using an alternative access point or is it that the site has 'sussed' me (via a cookie)?
I also suspect that there are x number of cheapest fare (& other fare) seats available for each market, so I don't think UK or French residents miss out per se.
I had to clean out my cookies in between looking at the US and Uk sites but I was fairly far into booking and could select a date well beyond June 9 on the US site. When I checked any of the sites the same trains were available at the lowest rate on the 9th but all of the midday trains were sold out and today was the 1st day I could book on the Uk site. That is why I think that the US site gives an advantage. But I also think it may be slightly more expensive?
I wouldn't be surprised. I have a feeling that many European railfares sell at a slight premium on their non-European sites.
I'll get rid of my cookies and have another go with the US site, because I'm intrigued....
I can now book up to the end of August (roughly) on the US site, at 66USD cheapest fare.
Not sure whether that gives an advantage or not. The cheapest fares are always available for x departures when the date is first bookable on the UK site. I think there are probably quotas.
June 9, 2013 is the latest I can book through NSHISPEED.nl today
No advantage for the Dutch :(
"Not sure whether that gives an advantage or not." I think it does in that I would have had more choices for trains on the Sunday we return if I had booked earlier on the US site, when I looked this morning (the 1st day the tickets were officially on sale on the UK site), all that was left at the lowest price were trains until around 2 pm and the last one of the evening which gets into London at 10:30 or so. Unless there were a bundle of people waiting until today to book the tickets and snapped them all up while I was sleeping due to the time difference, I have to assume that the US site purchasers bought all of the lower priced tickets on those trains before they officially went on sale in the UK and Europe.
I don't think there's a financial advantage in that the price on the US site and the UK site weren't that far apart (135£+4£booking which is220US RT for the two of us vs.230 RT on the US site for the two of us) but for the extra10 I would have paid on the US site, I would have rather taken a train that got us into London a little earlier
I wonder if the Paris>London bit is run by the French side of the operation? I've just looked at the UK site and there are still 7 morning and early-mid afternoon departures from Paris on 9th at the cheapest fare of £40.
I've always looked for London>Paris/wherever in the past, obviously. Cheapest fares are always those for morning departures a couple early afternoon and maybe one late evening. That's related to business travel demand, I think.
So it all depends on when you want to travel, I suppose. I can see that there might be an advantage in booking on the US site if, for example, I absolutely had to travel back in the late afternoon or evening.
I am curious. I cannot see the USA Eurostar site (I live in Portugal) but does it redirect to an agency or other third party site? In comparison, if you go to the TGV Europe site and select USA as ticket collection country you will be redirected to another site.
Does anyone have the full URL for the Eurostar US site?
The common complaint about these sites is that, in effect, they take bookings for trains that don't exist. The next Europe-wide rail timetable changes are due in early summer and it's quite likely that times will change.
Even the much maligned Rail Europe site is only selling Eurostar tickets until August. Eurostar's European sites are definitely only selling for 120 days ahead.
You won't be able to see any other Eurostar unless you first delete the cookies Eurostar put on your comp last time round. Then you get a page where you choose your 'base': it's not a redirection as such.
The US site looks the same as the UK & European sites, except for fares being given in USD or euro and the difference in booking dates.
Leics, I think you and I are seeing the same trains on the US and UK site, I just think I can book further out on the US site. And perhaps when I booked my air tickets there might have been a few more trains with the lowest price had I not thought the 120 days applied to both the US and UK sites.
I would have liked to return in the earlier part of the evening but every train after around 2pm was marked as sold out. Today when I look (from a different computer) they are not showing as sold out, rather they are showing with a slightly higher fare 44.50£-64.50£ instead of the lowest 34.50£ for the 2nd part of the journey. I did book my journey at 69£, the lowest fare available without special discounts but I'm not wild about getting into London at 22:13 nor am I wild about taking the last train of the day. Maybe I'll just find a King's Cross/St. Pancras area hotel instead of Earl's Court.
And I just looked again this morning to see what the cheapest US fare vs. the cheapest UK fare and the UK fare is slightly cheaper 69£ vs.118US, according to xe.com 69£ is109US. But I don't think the US site charges for credit cards so in the end it comes out to about3 difference.
I wonder why I didn't see the slightly higher fares yesterday though, I have different version of IE on my computers or maybe Eurostar was having a glitch. But it wouldn't let me book the 2nd part of the journey at the slightly higher prices. It either had the lowest price or said sold out.
I suspect it's all worked out using a highly complicated computer program which tallies demand, people checking the website and goodness knows what else to decide what fares are available for what trains on what dates for which markets!
I am curious what prices you get after you clear all cookies etc and revisted the website.
I'm back on my home computer which is running an old browser/operating system and the seats are showing as sold out again. Isn't that peculiar?
I cleaned out my cookies in between every time I looked, I can still see the trains with the lowest price but everything else, once I get to the return trip, is showing as sold out (ie it won't let me book the £34.50 on the 1st leg if I can't book the £34.50 on the 2nd leg)
Might be time to update my home computer ha ha