Open jaw: Where readers write back


Impossible journey

You insist that 33 minutes is a comfortable time in which to cross from the Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon in Paris ("Marseilles – the 360 city", 10 November). I guess you travel with just a small back pack, an iPod and that folding bike. Then you might make it. But if you are a family with two fractious children and a lot of luggage, or have limited mobility, it is utterly impossible.

We supply Metro tickets in advance for customers to help them get a head start, but, if they are in the back coach of the 18-vehicle Eurostar, it will take a good 10 minutes to reach the Nord concourse, then, assuming the children are not playing up and all the escalators are working, five minutes to gain RER platform level, five minutes to wait for a train, then agreed your eight minutes journey time to the Gare de Lyon, five minutes at least to reach the Lyon concourse, five minutes to ascertain where your train is from the electronic board and anything up to 20 minutes to join your train depending which platform it is given, composting the ticket and finding the coach.

A taxi across between the two stations is often worse as it can take 20 minutes' queuing to actually get in one, and then the same time again to cross the city. This is why Trainseurope does not sell this connection with under one hour available, unless specifically requested to do so by the customer, and then only with a disclaimer saying we will take no responsibility for a missed train.

David Gunning, Trainseurope

UK connections

My friend (resident in Leicester) and I (resident in West Yorkshire) are planning to go to Paris on Eurostar. We would like to set off separately and meet up in the champagne bar and then travel together to Paris. I have spoken to the travel office on Leeds station who say that they are not able to book the whole journey and advise me to buy my Eurostar ticket and then take it into their office and they will book me an appropriate return Leeds to Kings Cross. Surely, someone must be able to plan some joined-up thinking on this one.

Lindsay Mayor, Ashford Cutbacks

I understand that a potential passenger asked Eurostar how to get to Ebbsfleet from Ashford and was told by customer services "take a train from Ashford to Dover and then a National Express bus to Ebbsfleet". Not very quick or eco-friendly.

Also, there is no stop planned at St Pancras for the Cross-Rail project. This seems like a serious lack of joined-up transport planning. One way to maintain Heathrow's international role would be to have quick links to mainland Europe by rail for both incoming and outgoing passengers and that requires a fast interchange at St Pancras.

Humphrey Hudson

International Fares

The cheapest fare from London to Paris on the new Eurostar service is advertised at £59. I am paying $154 (£77) to travel from New York to San Francisco, a distance of approximately 3,500 miles. The next leg is San Francisco to LA, 400 miles at a cost of $58 (£29). These trips are advertised as among the greatest rail journeys in the world, and also the cheapest. There seems to be little coverage of the great American train journeys, which are bookable at www.amtrak.com

Douglas Yexley

Slow bag drop

I was interested in your "warning of the week" about check-in-creep. I think another candidate would be BA's wholly mis-named "fast bag drop". We checked in online for a 9.30am flight to Madrid on 18 October and arrived at the Heathrow terminal slightly after 8am when the buses at our executive parking failed to pick up from our stop. So it was later than we expected but by about 8.25am we were going nowhere in the "fast bag drop" queue and appealed to a supervisor to be bumped out of the queue.

She helpfully sorted us out but then berated us severely for not being at the airport two hours ahead of the flight.

Funny, we thought that online check-in and fast bag drop were supposed to let you arrive later at the airport but we are obviously mistaken. None of the BA staff we talked to were able to come up with a very good explanation of the advantage of web or machine check-in and then bag drop over conventional check-in.

There was a suggestion that by not checking in online we were likely to have ended up without seats together on our leisure flight i.e. you have to use the online service to not end up with a worse service than you used to get. And we can't work out why bag drop takes such a long time.

Dr Pamela Farries

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?