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  • 13.June.2024
  • 3 min
  • By: Steve Reid

The countdown to the Paris 2024 Olympics has begun, and sports enthusiasts from the United Kingdom are gearing up for an unforgettable experience. As the world converges on the City of Lights, we present a comprehensive guide to help you navigate your way to the heart of the action from the four capital cities of the United Kingdom.

Estimating the number of UK citizens who plan to attend the Paris 2024 Olympics is challenging, but interest is substantial given the event’s proximity and popularity. Paris 2024 is expected to attract 15 million visitors, with around 2 million coming from abroad. Although the exact number of UK attendees is currently unknown, historical data and the ease of travel between the UK and France suggest that thousands of British sports fans will make the journey.

AirTravelClaim.com has investigated how Olympic fans could navigate their way to Paris and found that flying isn’t always the most cost-effective option. Depending on your plans—whether you’re attending the whole event or just a long weekend for the medal ceremonies—you might consider rail, sea, or even coach travel.

When it comes to cost and speed, flying to Paris did, on average, come out on top. However, travellers are reminded of restrictions on luggage and potential delays. In 2023, 34% of the 131 million passengers experienced delays, and 3.8 million had their flights cancelled. While compensation can be claimed in such cases, missing the opening ceremony would be a devastating start to the games.

For travellers looking to save money and who don’t mind spending more time getting to Paris, AirTravelClaim.com found coach travel to be the most cost-effective option. With tickets starting at a mere £30 one way from London, the 9.5-hour journey, extra luggage room, and views of the French countryside could be the best option for those on a budget. However, for those travelling from Edinburgh, the 22-hour coach journey may be daunting, compared to the 1.5-hour flight costing around £221 one way via Air France.

Travellers from Belfast face more limited options, with only flying or driving being feasible. There are no direct flights to Paris from Northern Ireland’s capital, requiring a layover in either Birmingham, Bristol, Heathrow, or Glasgow, making the journey approximately 4 hours. The one-way ticket costs £253, making Belfast the most expensive city to fly from in the UK. Alternatively, a drive via the Cairnryan ferry, then from Dover using the Le Shuttle, would take over 30 hours and cost around £400 when including ferry, shuttle tickets, petrol, tax, and tolls.

Travelling by train has both advantages and disadvantages. Eurostar, the iconic high-speed train service, offers an efficient and picturesque journey from central London to Paris. Departing from London St Pancras International, these sleek trains whisk you through the Channel Tunnel, delivering you to the heart of Paris at Gare du Nord in just over two hours. Imagine sipping coffee as the French countryside unfolds outside your window—a seamless blend of comfort and convenience. With an average one-way ticket costing around £182 and the option to carry more luggage than on a plane, this feels like a no-brainer for those who prefer the more relaxed option of train travel.

Unfortunately, the further away you get from the English capital, the more expensive the trip becomes. Tickets to London St Pancras to transfer to Eurostar cost Scottish and Welsh travellers close to £300 one way. Additionally, potential train strikes, delays, and cancellations pose risks. The RMT (Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers) union has announced a series of strikes in July 2024, which could significantly impact travel plans to Paris. The strikes will occur on the 20th, 22nd, and 29th of July, involving 20,000 rail workers from 14 train companies. These strikes coincide with major events such as the Ashes Test matches and the Open Championship, causing further travel difficulties.

The Railway Magazine reported that more than two out of five train services in Britain during the first half of the year were delayed. Therefore, travellers should leave plenty of time to catch their Eurostar.

Steve Reid is a seasoned traveler and passionate advocate for passenger rights. With years of experience navigating the skies, Steve has become an expert in understanding the intricacies of flight delays, cancellations, and compensation.

As the go-to authority on all things related to air travel compensation, Steve brings a wealth of knowledge to our blog. Whether you’re seeking advice on claiming compensation or understanding your rights, Steve's insights give practical advice when things don't go as planned with air travel.

Connect with Steve on LinkedIn to stay updated on the latest travel news and receive expert advice.

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