We were happy to travel in a debauchery of luxury between Paris and Lyon for the purposes of the investigation. Braving the inevitable jealousy of colleagues, we almost kissed the editor-in-chief as he signed our mission statement with the unpublished statement: “Take a ticket in First Business class. Imperative”.
In the morning we arrived at the station one hour early, at 7.30 am, apparently equipped with this one-way ticket for 142 euros – when the traveler in Ouigo gets away with it for 22 euros – stating in red capital letters ” Salon TGV Inoui” and “Direct access”. Jean-Luc Mélenchon is not wrong, after a certain age luxury should become the norm. After so much economy-class travel, our reporter’s back deserves the plush cushions and the double-arm armchairs.
So fond of these little airport gifts, these priority lounges and first lounges with all-you-can-eat buffets, magazines galore and competitive wifi, we couldn’t help but wear a big smile while strolling through the beautiful Galerie des Fresques the Gare de Lyon in Paris, where the SNCF VIP lounge is located. The smile froze when he saw that the door was closed and read the sign: “Your salon is temporarily closed… we welcome you to our partners Multiburo and Paul”, accompanied by a map that allows you to discover these places of problem solving for small elites. find.
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Forget it. Remaining dignified in adversity, we go to platform 11 and think that it is much better not to stuff ourselves with butter croissants, because there will necessarily be a very nice assortment of brioches and pastries with the coffee served to us in our Premiere Business compartment. “Will they offer organic orange juice or a standard Tropicana? A seasonal fruit salad would be ideal.” Certainly the Italian trains arriving soon in France and offering a breakfast signed by chef Carlo Cracco are served instead: croissants, yogurt, fruit salad, mini organic lemon cake and tea or coffee. The competition is good, forcing the SNCF to reconnect with its past of dining cars and waiters in white coats.
No welcome on the train, but with good grace we wait our turn among these good people who haven’t had a chance to pay a Business ticket, the poor! They don’t know what they’re missing, we thought…
Somewhat disappointingly, the train is identical to that of the TGV Atlantique, with comfortable seats, large folding tables, USB connections, boarding mirror and housing for the smartphone. Nothing new, but it’s probably a sign that exceptional service makes all the difference. A headrest cover with a logo indicates that we, lucky lucky guys, are in “Première Business”.
The rest of the journey, arriving late in Part-Dieu, will be just a series of disappointments. The wifi, even with double credit units, is stupid. And no coffee, no treats, not even a glass of water. “I have the impression that the service will not be provided,” says the inspector with an embarrassed smell, when we ask him what time breakfast is served after an hour of travel.
Good Prince, we offer a solution to this annoying situation: “Never mind! The bar cart is open, bring me a long coffee and something to snack on, I’m hungry”. Because we were recently fined for unclear reasons in a TER in the Center region, we will not just let it pass by.
Annoyed that we dare to ask him for a drink as if he were a raunchy waiter, the hated cop turns on his heels before we can remind him of the exorbitant price this ticket and his ghost class cost us. A neighbor in trouble, disillusioned, launches: “It’s theft!” And there is no doubt about that. But we’re on the wrong side of the hat and cannot immediately demand a lump sum fine from the perpetrator: the railway group that has still not responded to the numerous complaints to its customer service.