Eurostar chaos - latest info & your rights
Eurostar has lifted its warning against travelling from Paris, although it says there may still be delays and cancellations – here's what you need to know.
Eurostar says the disruption was due to ongoing industrial action by customs officers in France, which has been causing delays and long queues for at least two weeks.
Passengers were previously told not to travel from Paris until the end of March. But Eurostar has now updated its advice to say the strike has been suspended and "the situation is progressively returning to normal".
However, more than 20 services between the UK and Paris on or before 30 March are still set to be cancelled – check the full list to see if your journey's affected.
If your train isn't cancelled, Eurostar now says you can travel and should arrive at the station at the time indicated on your ticket.
But it's warned there could still be delays and further cancellations, so carry on checking the Eurostar website and social media channels for updates.
Routes to destinations other than Paris – for example, to Amsterdam and Brussels – shouldn't be affected by the disruption.
Train cancelled? You CAN get a refund
If your train's been cancelled, you will be able to get a full refund or exchange your ticket:
- If you booked your ticket directly with Eurostar, you can claim your refund or change your journey via the Eurostar website.
- If you booked using a third party, you'll need to contact it directly to claim.
Eurostar has confirmed that you can claim a refund or exchange on your entire trip – not just the affected leg of your journey.
But if you opt for an exchange, Eurostar has warned you may not be able to rebook onto your first choice of train due to the current limited availability.
While the warnings against travelling from Paris were in place, Eurostar said that all passengers who were due to travel from Paris could claim a full refund or exchange.
However, Eurostar customer service agents on Twitter have said that if you're due to travel today or later and your train hasn't been cancelled, you won't automatically be able to refund or exchange your ticket if you choose not to travel.
'It's taken us 12 hours to get home'
At the height of the disruption, Eurostar customers reported long queues, delays and cancellations on social media:
Train delayed? You MAY be due compensation
Eurostar has warned that there may still be delays if you're travelling from Paris.
If you're delayed more than 60 minutes, you are entitled to claim for compensation, paid as a Eurostar e-voucher or refund (although the refund amount will be less than the e-voucher if you were delayed for three hours or more).
Here's what Eurostar will pay out:
|60-119 mins||Voucher or refund worth 25% of the value of the affected ticket|
||Voucher or refund worth 50% of the value of the affected ticket|
|180+ mins||Voucher worth 75% of the value of the affected ticket, or refund worth 50%|
Your compensation will be calculated based on the arrival time of your booked train.
You can claim your voucher online from 24 hours after your train arrives, and you must claim it within a year of your delayed journey.
Eurostar WON'T cover other bookings, eg, hotels but your travel insurance might
While you'll be able to get back the immediate cost of your ticket, Eurostar says it doesn't cover all losses which you may suffer as a result of delayed or cancelled services.
You may be able to claim for "direct costs", for example if a cancelled train leaves you stranded and you have to pay for food and accommodation. The Eurostar website has a full list of eligible costs, and a contact form if you're able to claim.
But Eurostar says it won't cover what's known as "consequential losses" – ie, indirect losses as a result of the disruption, such as if you were unable to use a booked stay at a hotel or missed a connecting train.
It's worth noting, however, there's nothing to stop you asking it to reimburse you and saying why you feel it should. If you're unhappy with its response, or it doesn't reply within a month, you could escalate your complaint to Médiateur SNCF Mobilité (you can write in English). You can also escalate to London TravelWatch.
If you have travel insurance, it's worth checking whether your policy will cover you – though it will depend on your level of cover.
We've also heard of a small number of cases where a credit card company has paid out for consequential losses after a Section 75 claim – though there's no guarantee this will work for everyone. The Financial Ombudsman Service has said it will depend on each individual case and factors such as whether you still manage to use part of your bookings.
What does Eurostar say?
Earlier this week, a Eurostar spokesperson said: "French customs officers at Paris Gare du Nord continue to take part in industrial action. As a result, the regular pre-departure security checks are taking longer than usual and this is causing delays on departure in Paris. We are very sorry for the inconvenience this is causing passengers."