Hats off to Paul Quartz, a UK-based travel agent who not only battled Eurostar on behalf of his disabled client, but also won the skirmish. Still it could signal a potential trouble spot for other disabled travelers.
It all started when wheelchair-user Allan Sage booked four standard tickets on the Eurostar train, for a much anticipated family vacation. The problem is that the only accessible seats on the train are located in the Leisure Select carriage. Now normally this isn’t a problem, because they just upgrade disabled passengers and one companion at no extra charge. But Paul was traveling with four people, so Eurostar informed Mr. Quartz that the other two passengers could be upgraded, but they would have to pay the difference between the two fares. And that was a pretty pricey proposition.
Apparently sitting together with his whole family was of great importance to Mr. Sage. So Mr. Quartz advocated on his behalf. And in the end, Eurostar let the whole family sit together in the Leisure Select carriage, without any upgrade charges.
Alls well that ends well, right?
Eurostar was quick to point out that this doesn’t signal a change in their policy for disabled passengers. They still limit the free upgrade to the passenger and one companion, with additional passengers paying the full fare. So if you’re traveling on Eurostar with more than one companion, be sure and fight for your rights. Why?? Eurostar also admits that each case is decided on an individual basis. But if you don’t speak up, concessions can’t be made. So be polite but firm if the situation should arise.