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Eurostar Standard vs Standard Premier – London to Brussels

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Close up of the Eurostar logo on the side of a train. Eurostar standard vs standard premier.
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If you’re wondering about the differences between Eurostar Standard vs Standard Premier, this post is for you!

I tried out both classes of Eurostar’s service, to see if it’s worth paying for the upgrade. 

Trains have always been my favourite transport mode. I’m a big advocate for overland travel of any kind, but especially rail travel. It’s greener and more comfortable, and it allows you to see more of the countries you’re touring. You can look out of the window, you can relax or even walk around.

Eurostar, now in its 20th year of operation, is an icon of European transport. It’s also a fantastic way to travel quickly, smoothly and comfortably across Europe. I’ve travelled with Eurostar many times, including a trip in the Standard Premier carriages from London to Brussels, and have always had a fantastic experience.

But when it comes down to Eurostar Standard vs Standard Premier, you may be wondering what the differences are, and if it’s worth the extra cost to upgrade. I’ve shared a review of my experiences with both service options below, to help you decide.

My trip with Eurostar was complimentary in exchange for this review – however, I’ve since paid to travel with them on my own trips. This review is, as always, completely honest and unbiased. 

Why Travel with Eurostar

“But flying is so much quicker!”

That was the reaction I had from quite a few people when I told them I was travelling to Rotterdam by train, with Eurostar as far as Brussels and then on with Thalys to Rotterdam.

As a lover of overland travel, relaxing train journeys, and comfort over speed, I didn’t pay much attention. But, having now taken the journey by train, I’m not sure it is that much quicker to fly.

Eurostar train running along a track with a grassy field in front and a row of tall green trees behind
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From central London, it takes 25 minutes to reach Heathrow via the Heathrow Connect or around 50 minutes by Underground. You need to check in two hours before flying, and the journey time from LHR to Rotterdam is one hour.

When you factor in that it generally takes at least thirty minutes to get your bags and leave the airport… you’re still looking at 2-3 hours to reach Rotterdam from Central London by flying.

Is Flying Faster?

Eurostar, on the other hand, leaves directly from Central London. The journey time to Rotterdam is also around 3 hours.

I had to check in 30 minutes early, so the total journey time – including a change in Brussels – was three hours.

Once I’d arrived in Rotterdam I was straight off the train with my bag and away. No customs, no slow luggage carousel, and no waiting around whatsoever!

So, in reality, the total journey time with Eurostar into Europe is at least the same, if not a tiny bit quicker, than flying. That’s one reason to choose rail travel over flying, but I can think of numerous others…

Why Choose Eurostar Train over Flying

  • It’s so much less stressful. Quicker security, fewer queues, and no need to check-in hours in advance. 
  • Extra luggage allowance. For me, going away for a month in total, this was a big one. On a flight, I’d be able to take one bag up to 20kg, plus carry on. Eurostar allow two pieces of luggage per person, plus a small piece of hand luggage, with no weight restrictions. Plus nothing gets placed in the hold; all luggage comes on the train with you, and leaves with you – cutting a huge chunk of time (not to mention the risk of lost luggage) from your trip.
  • Train travel is much more comfortable. The seats are bigger, there’s more legroom, there’s no turbulence and you’re free to get up and walk around whenever you want.
  • It’s green! Eurostar promise that travel with them is ‘faster and greener than flying’, and independent research reflects that: per passenger journey, travelling by Eurostar between London and Paris or Brussels generates up to 80% fewer carbon dioxide emissions than travelling by plane
  • Eurostar tickets offer much more than just travel, with 2 for 1 entry to some of Europe’s most popular museums and galleries in Paris, Lille and Brussels. 
  • Journey flexibility. Travelling by train meant that I could see two countries on one trip, stopping off in Brussels for three days on my return journey. With direct trains to many cities in France and Belgium, and connections to The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland via partner companies like Thayls, it’s possible to see a lot of Europe by Eurostar.
Front ends of three Eurostar Trains at St Pancras station with red brick walls in the background
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My Experience with Eurostar Standard and Standard Premier

Just after Christmas, I arrived at St Pancras International with my luggage, grabbed a quick coffee and headed straight for the Eurostar check-in.

With no hold luggage to deal with, the whole process could be automated. I just had to scan the barcode on my ticket (printed in advance at home – although you can download the app to get an e-ticket on your phone) at the check-in gate, and head through into security. Which took less then two minutes.

Quick and Painless

Given that each Eurostar has 750 seats, which is almost the same number as on two Boeing 747 planes, I had been expecting a lengthy wait at security.

In fact, the whole process – whizzing my suitcase and backpack through an x-ray machine, walking through the body scanner, and having my passport checked – was so quick and efficient that I was blown away. So much faster and easier than flying! I’m not sure if things always move this quickly with Eurostar, but it was the same story on my return trip from Brussels, too. 

After check-in, I waited in the departure lounge – where I was pleased to find decent shops, comfy leather seats, and free wifi to help me pass the time. Not that I had to spend long in the lounge, though; we were boarding in no time, again a very smooth and painless process.

Space and Comfort

Onboard, I tucked my (foolishly big) suitcase into the luggage area and once again found myself comparing my journey favourably with my normal flying experience – there’s no way I could have taken that suitcase onto a flight with me without paying extra baggage charges, let alone as carry-on. I pushed it into the luggage area at the entrance to my coach and headed for my seat.

Again, so much more comfortable than flying. The seats were wider and better made than standard airline seats, and I loved that the edges of the headrest curved round slightly, giving me better support and a little privacy from my neighbour. Tray tables were much bigger than onboard planes, there was a lot more legroom, and plenty of space overhead for my backpack and coat. Even for a standard ticket, the train was much comfier than regular trains within Britain, and so much better than on board a flight.

We set off, bang on time, and less than two hours later I was in Brussels. I read on my Kindle, played on my phone – without having to switch either of them off for take off and landing – and looked out the window at the beautiful, snow-covered landscape of Belgium, glowing in the setting winter sun. It was a truly fantastic journey!

In Brussels, I hopped straight off the train, luggage in hand, and headed for my connection to Rotterdam. There was no waiting, no queuing, and no delays!

Sunset through a train window

Top Service

Service-wise, the Eurostar is one of those few travel companies that still treat everyone, even standard customers, like VIPs. Staff were on-hand to help and point me in the direction of my seat, and everyone I had contact with was brilliantly friendly and welcoming.

It’s a comfortable and pleasant journey which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I was quite genuinely blown away by how much easier, faster and generally smoother it was than my normal flying experience.

Eurostar Standard vs Standard Premier

Eurostar offers three ticket types: Standard, Standard Premier, and Business Premier. While my outbound journey was an ordinary Standard ticket, for the return trip from Brussels back to London I travelled in the Standard Premier coach.

So I was able to experience both Eurostar Standard vs Standard Premier, to see if it’s worth paying for the upgrade.

The short answer: yes, it is!

As Eurostar themselves outline it, “if you want to get there quickly and simply – choose Standard. If you want to travel in style, choose Standard Premier.” The Standard Premier tickets are designed to help you make the most of your journey, and that was the experience I had.

A meal on a grey tray with a small tumbler of wine, a white coffe cup, and a white square plate with potatoes ham and green beans, all on a table on a train with the train window in the background. Eurostar Standard vs Standard Premier - onboard meal
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What Extras do You Get on Standard Premier?

  • Extra spacious and comfortable seats
  • Complimentary magazines
  • Light meal and drinks served at your seat
  • UK and Continental power points on board

The Onboard Experience with Eurostar Standard Premier

Onboard, in the dedicated Standard Premier coach, the seats were even more comfortable than on the rest of the train. They were more spacious, with vast amounts of legroom, and even reclined slightly for the perfect comfort level.

Better still was the individual power socket at my seat. There was a selection of complimentary magazines available, and throughout the journey, the super attentive staff were on hand to assist and help out – all impeccably polite and friendly.

There’s a certain exclusivity to the Eurostar Standard Premier coach, which made me very aware of the upgrade. You really feel like you’re travelling in style! Things were more comfortable, a little quieter, and generally more luxurious than the standard journey. Although the standard trip had been by no means shabby!

Food on Eurostar Standard Premier

Also included in the ticket price was a light meal and drinks. It’s a short journey, but the addition of some yummy food did make a big difference. We had a choice of two mains, and as I’d already had lunch I opted for the cheese plate. This was a small plate with two kinds of cheese plus (seemingly unlimited) bread and a side salad.

Close up of two pieces of cheese on a bed of rocket on a white china plate. Meal on board Eurostar Standard Premier.

Dessert was a creamy rice pudding, and it was all served with a bottle of water, Belgian chocolate, a mini bottle of wine of my choice and an endless stream of coffee, all served right at my seat.

It was similar to an airline meal, but classier – with metal cutlery (a touch that makes all the difference) and a great menu of tasty, well-chosen food. A brilliant way to make the most of the journey through Europe; cheese, bread, wine and chocolate.

Lower half of a waiter wearing blue trousers pouring coffee from a kettle into a white mug on a tray on board a train. Eurostar Standard vs Standard Premier - interior of premier coach
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Overland Travel with Eurostar

There are a lot of really great pros when it comes to travelling with Eurostar. Much greener, much less stressful, and more convenient. But what really surprised me was how much easier, faster and more pleasant it was than flying.

Plus, with Eurostar Standard Premier, I really did feel that I was travelling in style vs standard. Rail is the best way to travel Europe, and if you’re setting off from London you really can’t go wrong with the Eurostar.

More Info and Prices

Eurostar operates up to 9 daily services from London St Pancras International to Brussels with return fares from £78.

Prices vary depending on travel dates/times and how far in advance you book. The fastest London-Brussels journey time is 1 hour and 53 minutes. Tickets are available from or 03432 186 186.

Eurostar Standard Premier

With the option of flexible fares, Standard Premier offers the freedom to work, think, or simply unwind. You will be presented with calm, spacious surroundings with on-board staff offering a light meal and a selection of magazines.

Standard Premier fares range from £140 to £458 for a return from London to Brussels, depending on dates/times and how far in advance you book.

15 thoughts on “Eurostar Standard vs Standard Premier – London to Brussels”

  1. i was so excited to do this journey! I finally got to in 2011. Then, I took the 6.30am train as it was the cheapest and fell asleep 5 minutes after leaving London and woke up about the same from Brussels! Shattered!

    1. So you missed the whole thing :( Still, waking up in Brussels is never a bad thing – and it’s a much more comfortable place to sleep than on a plane, in my experience!

    1. I don’t have any first hand experience – but there were lifts to the platforms in both St Pancras and Brussels stations, and I think it would all be fairly accessible. I did some research and saw that Eurostar have a wheelchair user fare, which will seat you in a more spacious part of the train, and it seems they ofter plenty of assistance where needed. They have quite a bit of info here you should take a look at:

  2. Travelling by train is so much better than flying! 100% agree! I’ve done the London to Paris (or Brussels) several times, and it’s so nice not to have to go through a busy airport – LHR is chaotic at the best of times!

    I plan to ride throughout the world by bicycle. However, this will not stop me travelling by train. The bulk of trains (including Eurostar!) allow the transportation of bicycles. You can’t lose! :)

            1. I haven’t done it myself, but it looks pretty straight forward. Depending on the size of your bike you can either carry it in with you and leave it in the luggage area, or pre book it as registered luggage. More info here:

    1. Hello -we are a family of 4 who would liked to take the Eurostar (standard premier or business premier) from London to Brussels for a 2-night stay, returning directly to London, then using the train to proceed to Cambridge.

      Which pass do we purchase?:
      Benelux pass,
      2 country pass (originate England, Brussels destination), or
      3 country pass (because we go through France to get to Brussels)

      We also love trains and have taken the high speed Paris to Grenoble, and the bullet train around Japan. We’re excited to take the Eurostar through the Chunnel!

      Thank you!

      1. Hi LBB :) I’m afraid I actually have no idea which pass is best! Have you asked Eurostar? I’m sure one of their customer service reps will be able to help you!

        Very jealous of your upcoming trip. I loved taking the train to Brussels!

    2. Maybe a dum question but how much of the trip is spent in the tunnel and how much of it are you able to see the country side? Also, you mentioned leaving your luggage in the luggage area when you got on the train and then found your seat. Is it safe leaving your luggage? How often is luggage stolen?

      1. The actual Eurotunnel section of the journey takes about 20 minutes, the rest of the time you’re above ground. The journey from London to Paris is 2 hours 16 minutes so for most of that you’re above ground and can see either English or French countryside depending on which side you’re on (London-Dover is only a short section before the tunnel).

        As for leaving your luggage, I thought it was no less safe than any other train. I wouldn’t leave my valuables in the luggage section – my laptop is on me at all times! I can’t imagine many people want to steal a suitcase full of my clothes but I guess there’s always a risk if you’re leaving your luggage somewhat unattended. However, no one really gets off the train until Paris so it would be hard for someone to steal it without you noticing as you’ll all be getting off at the same time. This TripAdvisor discussion may help:

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