Eurostar defends drinks limit policy after passenger fury

24 June 2019, 20:24 | Updated: 24 June 2019, 21:25

Eurostar has defended its new policy of limiting the amount of alcohol passengers can take on to its trains.

The inter-continental operator allows one bottle of wine or four cans of beer but no spirits so it can "maintain a pleasant environment", it said in a statement following a wave of anger on social media.

However, alcohol is served at Eurostar stations and on board trains, and the firm's website encourages passengers to "bring back ... a bottle or two from a chateau-hopping trip".

The new policy was implemented last year, but passengers have started to notice and have voiced their anger.

Claire Tate, 40, from Newcastle, is on holiday in Belgium and says she was told she will not be allowed to carry a small, gift-wrapped bottle of whisky when she travels home.

She said the policy is "disgusting" and she will reconsider travelling by Eurostar in future.

"It's meant to be easier and more friendly than flying," she said.

"I think the policy is there for sports fans who come on drunk and disturb other holidaymakers. Something should be in place - like an extra fee - for those type of travellers."

Dozens of passengers took to social media to complain about the rule change.

Will Roberts wrote: "That's crazy. You mean I can no longer bring a six pack of Belgian beer back home in my bag after a trip to Brussels? Is there a way to convince them to change?"

Maurits Wever said: "That's a pity. We're going on holiday to the Scottish islands of Arran and Islay. We wanted to buy some local whiskies, but these aren't allowed on @Eurostar."

Rail expert Mark Smith, founder of Seat61.com, said Eurostar has "quietly changed its luggage policy" after previously having a "fairly easygoing" attitude to alcohol which saw only disruptive passengers and those travelling to ski destinations affected.

He claimed it will be "completely unnecessary" to enforce the new measures on all trains.

Mr Smith said: "Eurostar has been around for over 20 years. Why is (carrying alcohol) now a problem? I don't believe society has changed that much.

"There's an awful lot of people who are a bit shocked that they could be caught out. They're shocked that they won't be able to bring back a couple of bottles of nice wine from Paris or some fascinating Belgian beers from Brussels."

He added: "It's going to be inconvenient for a lot of passengers. It might not affect businessmen travelling first class who get (served) wine anyway, but it's going to be a pain in the neck."

A spokesman for Eurostar said its luggage policy was updated last autumn to "maintain a pleasant environment on board for all our travellers".

The company says passengers who want to transport prohibited alcohol should use Eurostar's luggage service, which charges a minimum fee of £30 per item.