Eurostar Separates Business and Leisure First Class Passengers Starting September 1

North American Sales Of Eurostar Tickets by Rail Europe up 15% Over 2004

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 6 /PRNewswire/ — In response to passenger surveys, the high-speed Eurostar train connecting London with Paris and Brussels through the Channel Tunnel will offer separate cars for leisure and business travelers in first class starting September 1. Tickets for the “reinvented” Eurostar (for travel from September 1 on) are on sale now.

Eurostar continues to attract an ever-increasing number of travelers, including North Americans, according to Rail Europe, official North American distributor of Eurostar. “We have seen a 15% increase in the number of passengers buying Eurostar tickets between January-April 2005, compared to the same period last year,” says Fabrice Morel, President and CEO of Rail Europe Group. “And despite concern about exchange rates and the costs of European travel, North American passengers are showing a distinct preference for Eurostar’s first-class, accounting for 53% of tickets sold by Rail Europe, compared to 48% at this time last year.”

New class designations

As of September 1, the designation “first class” will no longer be used, replaced instead by “Business Premier” ($375 US/$492 CAD one-way for completely refundable/exchangeable tickets) and “Leisure Select” (starting at $190 US/$249 CAD roundtrip for non-refundable/non-exchangeable tickets), each in separate cars. Standard class cars will seat both leisure and business travelers.

“Surveys showed, not surprisingly, that business class travelers paying a premium for first-class flexible tickets prefer to travel in an environment more conducive to work,” notes Nick Mercer, Commercial Director of London-based Eurostar. “And leisure travelers paying the extra money for first class felt less relaxed when they were among business travelers working on laptops and discussing business matters on cell phones. This latest change is just one of many recent customer-suggested improvements to what is a phenomenally successful product.”

Business Premier passengers will have: exclusive use of the Executive lounges at London, Paris and Brussels Eurostar terminals, and fast-track check-in counters. They will also have two options for breakfast — express or full service.

Both Business Premier and Leisure Select passengers will enjoy more spacious seating (in their separate cars), power outlets at their seats for laptops and other electronic devices, meal service at their seats and newspapers and magazines.

Standard class tickets start at $90 US/ $118 CAD roundtrip

Standard class passengers have a 30-minute check-in – still substantially quicker than airline passengers – and can purchase light meals, snacks and beverages at the buffet/bar car. Fares in standard class start at $90 US/$118 CAD roundtrip.

Traveling at speeds up to 186 mph, Eurostar makes the journey London-Paris in an astonishing 2 hrs 35 min, London-Brussels in 2 hrs 15 minutes on the fastest schedules. Travel times will shrink by another 20 minutes in 2007 when the last segment of high-speed track is completed in England. More than 61 million travelers have ridden Eurostar since the launch of service in 1994.

For more information visit http://www.eurostar.com/ or contact Rail Europe, Eurostar’s official North American representative at http://www.raileurope.com/ or 1-800-EUROSTAR (1-800-387-6782).

Photos: members of the press may download high-res photos of Eurostar and other European trains at http://www.raileurope.com/presspix

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