There are currently nine new Eurostar e320 trains on the tracks with a total of 17 in the pipeline. The Eurostar e320 trains can travel at up to 320 km/h, hence the name. If you want to specifically travel on the e320 train you currently have to travel on the Paris route, but in 2017 this train will also launch on the Brussels and Amsterdam routes.
Although you cannot select an old or new train, you can tell which train you are booked on once the booking has been made. The differentiating factor is that the old train has 18 carriages and the new has 16, although the new train can carry 150 more passengers.
There are two luxury or business class offerings on the Eurostar. Business Premier and Standard Premier. Both have identical seating which is in a 2 + 1 layout but Business Premier offers complimentary lounge access pre boarding (a benefit which also comes free whatever class you travel if you have an American Express Platinum Card or a Carte Blanche card), check-in just 10mins before travel and better food during the journey. The Business Premier tickets are also more flexible if you need to make any changes.
The Business Premier Experience on Eurostar e320 Trains
I love the 2 + 1 layout on Eurostar trains. The 2 + 1 arrangement is also the layout on the older Eurostar trains. The best seats for the single traveller are the single seats by the windows, ideally one facing the back of the next seat at the ends of the carriages. If you are travelling in a couple, the best seats in my opinion are the same single seats but the pairs that sit opposite each other in the centre of the train, as both have a window and aisle access. If you are travelling as a family the four seats around a table towards the middle of the carriage are a good choice.
The new carriages have deep red carpets and grey seating (see pictures below). The new seats are slimmer but recline nicely and are comfortable. The new Eurostar trains have wi-fi service as well as in-train entertainment which can be streamed to your mobile. There are also charging sockets on seats in both business and standard seats (with both UK and EU plug design).
In Business Premier (not Standard Premier) the menu has been overseen by Raymond Blanc. You can see the menu below. It offers a hot meal which it is a step above the Standard Premier offerings which in my experience is always cold.
Is it worth paying for a Business Premier ticket on the Eurostar?
For me no. I have a American Express Platinum card so I can access the St Pancras lounge and, the Brussels and the Paris Gare Du Nord lounge, so the main advantage in booking the Business Premier ticket is the food, which although superior, is not exceptional enough to justify paying to upgrading from Standard Premier. If you would like lounge access and don’t have an Amex Platinum or Carte Blanche card, Business Premier becomes more interesting. Equally if you need a flexible ticket, or expect to arrive at the station late so can take advantage of check-in just 10mins before travel, it is worth looking into the Business premier tickets.
Is it worth paying for a Standard Premier ticker on the Eurostar?
For me, yes. I love the more spacious 2 + 1 seating arrangement in the carriages and particularly like the +1 window seats that have both window and aisle access. I also like having food on the train. It helps the journey pass and the food in the lounge is not really a full meal (except perhaps for their continental breakfast offering) so I do need a bite on the train. Standard premier is a luxury experience and is absolutely worth spending the extra on. In fact, pound for pound, Standard Premier on the Eurostar is probably my favourite way to travel full stop.