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Error makes Eurotunnel fares cheaper for Britons than French

Setting your residency as the UK when booking tickets leads to prices around €25 less

17 December 2020
By Thomas Brent

Passengers booking tickets on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle’s website might find tickets over €25 cheaper if they mark their residency as being in the UK rather than France. 

A spokesperson for the company told The Connexion that this is due to an “issue related to the automated yield management system”. 

The company has said they are investigating the price difference but do not yet know when it will be fixed. 

Eurotunnel ticket prices are calculated automatically based on demand and historical records. The fault is in this system. 

No proof of address is required when booking tickets, meaning that customers can put that they are resident in the UK and benefit from cheaper tickets if they wish. 

The spokesperson said that he does not know yet if it will be possible for customers who have bought tickets with their residency set in France to be reimbursed for the price difference.  

The Connexion was alerted to this issue by a British reader who lives in France and uses the tunnel to go between the countries. He said that it has been a problem for at least one year. 

What is the problem?

When passengers go to book tickets on the Eurotunnel website, they are asked to provide details of their journey, their car and also their residency. 

The Connexion looked at how the ticket prices change for a journey from Calais to Folkestone on the same day, at the same time, in the same car but with the residency marked as different. 

It was found that for a journey on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 12:00, the price for a ticket when the residency was set as France is €126 (approximately £113.40). The price for the same journey when the residency is set as the UK is £90 (€100), a difference of €26.

The spokesperson said they did not know if the difference in price is caused by the exchange rates being used by the company.

How are Eurotunnel’s tickets calculated?

Ticket prices are calculated automatically based on a demand-led pricing system and 25 years’ worth of data, said John Keefe, a spokesman for Getlink, the company that operates the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle train service.

He said that if the company’s historical records show that there is a greater demand on a certain day of a year, at a certain time and in a certain direction, then ticket prices will be more expensive. 

“That way we have the possibility of managing the number of customers coming through the tunnel,” he said. 

“We don’t want to have the tunnel completely saturated at peak times and then empty during the rest of the week or month. So, by giving that variety of prices it enables us to spread the demand across the week.”

This explains why ticket prices fluctuate but not why the place of residency affects the cost.

Read more:

Airline passengers are still waiting for Covid-19 refunds

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