The current Coronavirus pandemic is surely changing the way we travel and affecting the rail industry across the country, so we can observe some companies trying to adapt to the current situation in order to survive the situation.
One of these cases brings us to a curious situation. In one of these adjustment measures, Eurostar – the connection between the UK and wider Europe – decided to remove the complimentary Wifi service onboard its trains. However, this measure did not affect all their cross-Channel passengers, but only those travelling on standard class tickets, in a move that surprised many. Standard Premier and Business travellers were not affected by the decision.
Why did this happen?
Internet service onboard Eurostar trains is provided by a trackside cellular network, with 3G and 4G connectivity, which is relayed through Wifi alongside the trainset. Taking this into account, people were trying to figure out how Covid could affect network availability and why only in Standard class. Could this decision have been made due to a reduction of bandwidth of said cellular network? Or, as some people point out, could it have been followed to achieve greater differentiation between the three levels of service?
Some comments point to the latter option, since among the security measures that have been taken by Eurostar to contain Coronavirus, in addition to social distance and the mandatory use of masks, food and refreshments service has been discontinued in the upper classes, what would have led to a loss of differentiation between the three different classes.
However, this decision did not last long. After facing some negative comments on social media, Eurostar resolved to restore wireless Internet service for all its customers, a move that has been very well received. Other services such as on-board catering will have to wait a little longer, with September 7 as the currently planned date to return to restore the service that was previously offered.
Do you think Eurostar took the right decision suspending the Wifi for Standard Class passengers initially? Let us know in the comments!