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Travel - Euro tunnel standard or flexiplus tickets?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello,

I've been told that travelling by self-driving by eurotunnel rather than flying is more relaxing as you don't have as tight deadlines (you just get the next available train when you arrive?)

The thing is that the eurotunnel website only allows bookings for specific trains for the standard tickets and flexi tickets are 2.5 times the price. So I was wondering..... if I buy a standard ticket for 2 hours later than I expect to arrive at the tunnel, would they just let me on the next train when I arrive? (the worst case being that I have to park up for 2 hours to avoid been charged a penalty fare?)

I'm going during the night when prices are low (about £70) so I think it's safe to say there will be spare capacity on the trains.

Thanks,

mnbv
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Eurotunnel have always been really good for me. If a bit early then they tend to let you on the next available train if there is spare capacity, and if late they sort you out too. Never really had a problem on the french side as the roads tend to be traffic free, M25 though can have few issues. Have you booked accomodation yet? as some TO offer free flexi plus upgrade (Erna Low and Peak Retreats for example).
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
mnbv, the ordinary tunnel fares are very flexible, actually, providing trains aren't full. You can turn up days in advance, if you want, and up to 24 hours later (more than 24 hours later you have to ring and change it).

You might have to pay extra if you use a more expensive crossing than the one you've booked. Because I pay for my crossings with Tesco clubcard tokens I always book the most expensive time of day, then I rarely have to pay extra in "real money".

Whether driving is more relaxing than flying is a matter of hotly contested opinion on snowheads. It all depends. If you end up driving across northern France at 30 mph behind a snowplough it's not that relaxing. Nor if you have left it too late to put on your snowchains and are slewed across a road in the dusk with a cursing French coach driver trying to get past you. wink
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Hi mnbv,

Policies change but it's been my experience that if you turn up early for your train, they will happily put you onto the next one with plenty of spaces rather than making you wait for the one you have booked. It happens automatically I think when you scan your ticket on arrival.

In guess it works to their advantage as it leaves them spaces to sell on the later train.

Good luck with the planning!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Great - thanks all. So if they make you pay the difference couldn't the 'drive-up' fair be very expensive, assuming they use airline style pricing?

Would you say it's better to arrive earlier than late? (i.e. book a ticket a couple of hours after your planned departure?) - in case they want to charge you for the difference to switch trains?
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Never been charged the difference.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
They are a bit stricter now as Pam says above if you end up on a more expensive time slot (outside of the 2 hour allowance) you will pay the difference in price.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I once turned up about 10 hours early and they charged £15 to take an earlier train. As others have said, all the other times they have just let me on. It has been mostly on the bike though, so that doesn't take up much room.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
"They are a bit stricter now as Pam says above if you end up on a more expensive time slot (outside of the 2 hour allowance) you will pay the difference in price."

Is that 2hr allowance official? I can't see any mention of it on their website...
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
In the car I'll book a time just before 08:00 but turn up about half six to beat all the M25 traffic. If I ever have to wait I'll just grab an extra hours kip Smile
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Hells Bells, I once turned up about 5 hours late as we'd had to divert into Paris to pick up poorly daughter (a triumph of navigation, that was - eventually spotted a bus headed to the tube station where we'd agreed to meet).

They wanted to charge me something like £85. I pressed the button and talked to somebody, explained the situation. He said "how about £7.50?" so we agreed on that. Bizarre. I have been charged very small amounts, a few times, but then I practically never take the booked train. It's one of the great beauties of the Tunnel that it's so flexible. Outside the handful of peak days each year it would be madness to pay for the flexi fare. I agree with Avalanche Poodle on the sleep. If driving back on my own, or going out if I started early and feeling a bit weary, I often sleep for 30 minutes on the train - makes a big difference.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
mnbv
We have been early on several occasions and on some we have been asked to pay an additional fee to take an earlier train. We do tend to be travelling at relatively busy times, Feb 1/2 term for instance so maybe that was the key. On one return we were offered and earlier train but (from memory ) they were after £45! Which we declined and waited the hour for the booked train.

We can be reasonably accurate on the outbound part as we depart from Essex, its the return element that makes the planning interesting.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
From the last two trips back they have became a little anal it would seem about timings, not that we were late, an hour and a half early and they made us wait, ok not the end of the world but when you've hacked all the way through France, and taking past experience on board is that they used to let you on the next available train, waiting around is a mini form of torture especially when you have not let the OH have much of a break Sad

That said was travelling on a Sunday so quite busy and this Summer was bonkers busy with huge queues to check the dogs in, must have been around 40 dogs in front of us, they even had a marquee tent adjoining the office to keep people and dogs in the shade!

We always stay at my brothers going down and coming back who is just off the Lyon Chambery autoroute 45mins from St Exupéry so it's pretty well eight hours though we always allow an hour or so extra coming back.

I think dear Euro Tunnel have like so many other Co's seen a potential revenue earner and have gleefully grabbed it Crying or Very sad

Question is, how much would I pay to save not sitting round for an hour and a half?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Weathercam, most likely you were kept hanging around because the trains were actually full, or that has been our experience recently, especially at busy periods. If there is space at the last minute they might call your letter early and let some of you onto the earlier train, which is what happened to us in July. So I don't think even a huge wad of dosh would get you on any sooner.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Hells Bells, I agree. But presumably they always keep some empty places for the people who have paid for super duper flexi? Weathercam, it doesn't sound like revenue-grabbing if they didn't offer you an earlier train for loadsadosh.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
pam w, which I assume is why they then called our letter early, and let some of the vehicles onto an earlier departure in July.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
pam w, I don't think they hold spaces on the trains for the Flexiplus tickets, they just get to jump the queue. They go to the RH side in Folkestone where there is the lane behind the hoardings with the little hut and then drive to the loading point alongside the queue of waiting cars. At the very front they merge into the queue and then load as normal.

The loading lanes nominally hold a full trains worth of vehicles but if you are towards the back (say in the 4th of the lanes) there is a higher chance there won't be room to get you on board so you end up on the next one. That and issues with carriages out of order is the reason why your letter sometimes seems to slip a departure between checking in at the ticket barrier and queueing in the pre departure lanes.

The only thing you can do about this is make sure you are one of the first of your letter to get round to the departure lanes. I always park as near as possible to the roundabout giving access to customs/passport etc and head through as soon as I see someone with my letter make it. There are always lots of people trying to blag it early (me included sometimes) so you just need to look for the letter they have and see if they get turned back.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Last New Year we got on in 15 minutes with Flexiplus, when the main queue was 2 hrs. Book with Peak Retreats or Erna Low, and get flexiplus included in your holiday price
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cstreat wrote:
Last New Year we got on in 15 minutes with Flexiplus, when the main queue was 2 hrs. Book with Peak Retreats or Erna Low, and get flexiplus included in your holiday price


I do standard on the way out, flex home. Peak holiday times, jumped several 2 hour queues. Happy to pay the premium to not end our hols like that. Same reason I have a telepeage. vs Flying it's cheeeeeeep!!!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
If you arrive quite early and it is busy, they often put you on the train you booked, but you can usually head around early before your number is called provided you go into the retail part first. I have done this several times.

We had a breakdown heading out in the summer this year, and called up before our original train left and changed it for the next day. The slot for the same price the next day (about 9am) was £50 more that we originally paid, but the booking person said if you are sure you would be there, book on 1.5 hours early (7:30 am) and just turn up at 9, and only pay £5 extra. Worked like a charm.
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We always travel over on the Friday night of Feb Half term. Up until this year, we've booked a "normal" ticket with a crossing time that should have been easily achievable. We've had all sorts of travel chaos (M25 tailbacks, snow delaying everyone, and a cancelled train earlier in the day causing a backlog throughout the night). When we've arrived late at Folkestone, we've been put on the next "available" train for no extra cost... however we've waited 3 hours at Folkestone before now (and that small service station turns into a rancid refugee camp in those circumstances). Even when we've turned up on time, there have been sufficient delays that have put us back.
On the way home we're usually aiming for a 2:30am crossing.. but even when we've been early they've still put us on our scheduled train meaning that we've waited an hour or two in calais at night.

This year we've bought the flexi-plus tickets to see if it makes the crossing any smoother/quicker. Sadly, the lounge isn't available for tall vehicles (like wot we have), but I'm rather hoping not to need it anyway. I'll report back here at the end of Feb to let everyone know if it was worth it!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Amended my booking yesterday to a later slot for early next week and had to pay an extra £16. 9 times out of 10 I have been allowed to get on an earlier crossing when they've had space, having done the ferry once last year for a change, its the Tunnel all the way! Never done Flexi-Plus though.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I was going France waiting to early on parking and then been caled early 2hr to go....shocked
On the way back in France to early 4 hr asking to pay 85£ extra,,,,was tired and 2 am so I paid but ripping off
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Methinks things have changed in The five years since this thread was bumped!
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