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Is Eurotunnel ever not poo-poo from Calais?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Fair enough, I've only ever used it around a dozen times but we've never ever departed on time.
The road from Paris today was almost empty and yet somehow they are completely failing to process the number of cars they need to keep the queues down. They have seven out of eight UK passport booths open but don't seem to be able to cope. I'm dreading the summer trip and wondering about using the ferry instead.


How hard can it be?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Been through Euro tunnel numerous times. Never had a problem in 15 years
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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?
Experienced both good and bad.

Although my gripe is that the bug9ers make a hefty charge to take a bicycle and then only allow 3 per train. The cost to transport 3 bicycles is more than to transport a single car yet takes up less room. Mad
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Only ever had one major problem in about 15 years of using it. 5 hour delay on a Sunday afternoon with work beckoning the following morning, due to a train stuck in the tunnel needing to be pulled out.
@king key, how are you transporting your bicycles? We have had four on our car before and not been charged any extra.

Usually minor delays due to lack of booths open or additional security checks.
We've had more delays from Folkestone than from Calais.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've encountered very few delays, in 16 years - but I do avoid peak times. Eurotunnel wins hands down over ferries, for me.
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Hells Bells wrote:

@king key, how are you transporting your bicycles? We have had four on our car before and not been charged any extra.
They will be ridden!. This is for a cycle tour to be carried out in France this year, 7 people who will have to be spread over 3 trains, plain ridiculous!

I too have had 4 bicycles on a car with no problem.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
my last trip was only 4 hours to get from folkestone to calais. carnage so bad it was taking about 30 minutes just to loop once round the car park. and 30 minutes queue for a slash, and that was the gents!
ferry would have been half that on that particular day too, and I've never had a ferry delay that bad in about 35 years.
it's more the price for me that's the killer. £180 vs £80 for those that don't have the privilege of cashing in tesco's tokens to hide/ease the cost. I'll take the ferry, ta, and have half hour or so to stretch legs and a spare 100 in the wallet to spend on something else.
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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!
Just arrived 35 mins before scheduled departure - train is leaving now, bang on time!'
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Never had a problem - always been bumped up to an earlier crossing too which is great.
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Always been straight through even at half term
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Usually there is a 1 to 3 hour delay each way, but over the last 6 trips most have left on time both ways. I think it is getting a lot better. I think a lot of it is due to me arriving between 9:00 and 20:00. Out side these times they seem to "consolidate" departures so each train is full. Or have "operational" issues.
I always schedule 3 hours between arriving at the tunnel and departing.
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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.
I appreciate the Flexiplus ticket is expensive, but it really does help mitigate general delays en route and at the crossing itself.
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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
@sasha320, IMHO having used the chunnel since pretty well its inception, things have got a lot worse over the years. Anyone saying they're sailing through has been extremely lucky the past 12 months. I've had refunds galore from crazy delays at peak holiday times, which are inevitable if you're stuck with those dates. Plus, this weekend was silly quiet by usual pre-Easter standards. I suspect brexit worries putting many people off travelling has had a lot to do with it.

Flexi is possibly just about worth it with the Frequent traveller option. It's not cheap but for a pack of 10 tickets it's not a whole lot more expensive than individual crossings booked at peak times.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I only ever see criticism of Eurotunnel here on Snowheads but never any discussion on ferries.
We use DFDS multi trip tickets which this year have cost us £76 per return trip, they are fully flexible and can be shared with family. We invariably leave on time or within a few minutes. In the time on board we get a meal and I get about an hour's sleep. When comparing the total journey time from home to our first nights stop (540 miles from Calais) when using the tunnel once, the tunnel was about 30 minutes quicker but I missed out on a meal and a sleep.

I am not saying that ferries are perfect, they're not, but I don't see many complaints on here about them.

As an example of how flexible they are last March we had checked in and between check in and the holding area the turbo blew on my car. Green Flag rescued us and DFDS rescheduled our booking to the following day with a change of vehicle and no charge or penalty.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I think all of my crossings (~15 ) have been mid - late evening or early morning & never ever had a delay or seen any queues, always got onto an earlier crossing if we arrived early, for free or £10 surcharge.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Timc, when the tunnel opened I was initially very enthusiastic about it and stopped using the ferries. However as the tunnel became more popular, it would appear its ease of use has suffered slightly and the cost has risen dramatically. At the same time the opening of the tunnel forced the ferry companies and the ports to sort out their inefficiencies, leading to a much easier and more relaxing experience.

I now use P&O multi trip tickets which are the same price as DFDS and have the same flexibility (subject to some peak dates having a £10 surcharge) and am very happy with the service. (Might try DFDS next time to compare).

Downsides are less frequent and lengthier crossings and susceptibility to weather disruption, but with Eurotunnel frequent traveller flexible tickets at three times the price of the equivalent ferry ticket, I can live with that.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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@king key, there used to be a minibus transport service for cyclists which picked up from the Holiday Inn Express. Trailer for the bikes, people in the minibus.

@Timc, there's been plenty about ferries if you have a look. I have used both ferries and Eurotunnel over the years. Good and bad experiences. We used to use the ferry in summer time, and have a meal in the brasserie on the Sea France crossing. Our dog used to sleep in the car for the trip. Not a problem. However, we have been delayed at the ferry terminal for several hours before on a DFDS service. We'd only gone for a weekend to Northern France too, so it ruined the weekend. Facilities at the terminal were dire, the only place to let a dog out for a pee was under the flyover, and it was an extremely unpleasant place to be for 4 hours on a very wet windy day. The eventual ferry was packed, dirty and had queues for self-service place so large that we gave up. Restaurant and bar weren't even open. We were lucky to find somewhere to sit.
One of our dogs now would probably be sick if left in the hold of ship, so being in the car with them on the journey is a much better solution.
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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?
We had a 5 hour delay at Folkestone last summer on about the hottest day with a 3 hour delay coming back. This got us a free return trip as compensation which we used for the SOPiB. Usually you turn up and they ask you if you want to go on an earlier train. The lesson we took from it was don’t travel at weekends in summer.
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Used it a lot when it first opened, less so nowadays largely because of the check in and security hassle at Calais, frequent delays and poor facilities, an awful end to amazing holidays, don’t need their poor service. Tend to use P&O ferries now or fly.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I usually keep an eye on their Twitter feed on the journey just in case of any problems. We got a free trip (including dogs) for our 4 hour delay mentioned above. If you're delayed make sure you complain.
I use frequent traveller tickets at £46 a crossing and sometimes use Tesco points. Usually cross at lunchtime, so we sometimes a supplement outbound, but not on return. The normal tickets are as flexible as we need them to be. We rarely cross on peak season dates, but even at Christmas we were straight on to the train when we checked in. Slow going through passport and UK border checks, but away promptly. Perhaps we've just been lucky.
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Lot of traffic at Calais tunnel checkin, currently in the overflow carpark.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
School holidays innit. Airports are busy too.
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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!
In the overflow car park at Calais now. Judging by the number of cars, I think we could be here a while.
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Not because of holidays - French customs working to rule -showing us what life will be like after the b word- gb customs still slower after he scrutinised our passports carefully to protect our borders and keep Daily Mail happy
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@Pierresel, because Trade Unions always think the way to win an argument is to p1ss off as many people as possible!
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
The plan for the work-to-rule was to check every car for explosives residue.
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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.
Travelling back next weekend. Would flexi plus mitigate this risk?
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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
Currently in row 23 of overflow carpark. Not sure if any other snowheads close by Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Looks like we are heading to terminal v soon now
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@rjs, & if you believe that, you’ll believe anything!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Gordyjh, Believe what ?

Swabbing for nitrates is an easy test, that is what they were doing, have had it done on the UK side before. The worry is that you will trigger the test if you have recently been on a farm or skiing in Scotland.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The french border people didnt even stop our car. The delay was with the UK border staff who seemed to be checking passports a lot more carefully than normal.
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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?
jw83113 wrote:
The french border people didnt even stop our car. The delay was with the UK border staff who seemed to be checking passports a lot more carefully than normal.


On the ferry today - and yes the UK border staff there were also making a big show of checking passports more carefully than usual. Holding each one up at arms length outside the booth to compare with the face of its owner in the car. It was very theatrical and seemed like a deliberate effort to appear more thorough. It was done in such a way so that the entire queue could see just how thorough they are!
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frejul wrote:
It was done in such a way so that the entire queue could see just how thorough they are!

Or their supervisors in the booth more like. I don't think any in the queues could care less tbh.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Bodeswell wrote:
@sasha320, IFlexi is possibly just about worth it with the Frequent traveller option. It's not cheap but for a pack of 10 tickets it's not a whole lot more expensive than individual crossings booked at peak times.


The most cost effective is to buy the normal 10 pack Frequent Traveller crossings, shared with a friend, and then just purchase for 1 separate flexi crossing when travelling back on a very busy day such as Saturday afternoon at the end of February half term trip.
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We came back via Calais eurotunnel yesterday. UK Customs told us French were working to rule, meaning not just the swabs, but pulling over a higher proportion of cars. That's what slows it down. We were Flexiplus and while I'm not sure how much time it saved us (I didn't even know there was an overflow carpark in action), then I'm delighted and it was definitely worth it. As it goes we booked through Erna Low and it's standard option with them.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Also came back on Sunday 14 April. Arrived at Calais before the recommended latest checkin of 7pm but couldn't get the hanger as there was a queue of cars from the slip road that leads from the A16. Diverted round a loop to be lined up in the "pre checkin" car park, never had that before. It looked daunting but actually moved quite quickly. French customs didn't even look at passports the hold up all seemed to be at UK border and result of volume of traffic. Getting on the train seemed to be a random process as there was a complete mix of letters on the train, departure was just over an hour later than the booked time, which meant the Indian takeaway was closed by the time we got home. Boo!
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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!
@andy1234, That more or less resembles the last time we used it, and vowed it was the last. We arrived an hour before our scheduled crossing and it was a totally random overflow area, check in, security, 5 into one lane free for all, and we crossed on a totally mixed letter train arriving into UK about 3 hours late. Then drive to North Yorkshire not pleasant at all, got held up with a lorry fire on M1 near Nottingham and evenually arrived home 6am instead of midnight.

Why Eurotunnel are so poor operationally beats me, they clearly massively overbook to maximise revenues at peak times rather than being sensible and offerring deals for people to cross at non-peak times and therefore get a wider revenue spread, and so can't check in such volumes of cars at peak times, I dont see why they can't use ANPR for check in and open more border patrol windows, total farce, and the facilities at both sides are disgraceful, we wont be using it again until they sort themselves out, not holding my breath either.....
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@Markymark29, sorry to hear of your experience. So if you've canned Eurotunnel what will you be doing in the future?
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taking the ferry? (which does use anpr Wink )

they refused to let cars in the overflow carpark when I used it last, despite the fact it was a 20min queue to get off the A20 to the booths, and cars parked the entire way round the carpark etc.
I abandoned mine. Nobody else was going to go anywhere anyway while i went for a slash.
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