It’s always good to see airplanes and trains coming together to make a more seamless travel experience. Now it appears that Virgin Atlantic has linked up with Eurostar to provide easy one-stop booking on Eurostar’s chunnel routes to Brussels and Paris. Unfortunately, the booking is the only thing that’s easy. This is far from seamless.
Those of you familiar with London have probably already spotted the problem here. Heathrow and Eurostar’s London-terminus at St Pancras are nowhere near each other. Were Eurostar to operate out of Heathrow, it would be an incredibly credible way to get to Brussels and Paris from anywhere in the world, but that’s not the case.
Once you land at Heathrow, you can hop on the Piccadilly line to Cockfosters (heh, heh) and about 45 minutes later you’ll be at King’s Cross. St Pancras is basically right next door, but you will need to walk. You could also take Heathrow Express to Paddington and then a cab or the tube to St Pancras, but that will add a transfer and only save you 10 to 15 minutes or so. Either way, you can imagine how little fun this would be if you have a bunch of bags with you.
So is this partnership really anything special? Well, yes and no. It’s not special for those looking to connect to a train, but if you have business in London and Brussels or Paris, it’s a nice step toward seamless booking. We have a long way to go before planes and trains are better connected, but I suppose you have to start somewhere. It’s not like they can just will the train stations to move closer to airports.