My summer vacation: The London Eye

Raymond Chen

One of the popular tourist attractions in London is the London Eye. When I went to the Web site to pre-order tickets, there was a field for telephone number.

It had an up/down spinner.

Telephone numbers in the United States are ten digits long, and since this was an international order, I also needed the +1 prefix.¹ But I doubt they really expected me to hit the up-arrow ten million times.²

Our group included some people who were interested in the combination London Eye + River Cruise ticket, but others who are not fans of the whole “going high up in the air in a glass room” thing, but who were nevertheless interested in the River Cruise portion. What’s the way to purchase and schedule the tickets?

When you purchase the combination tickets online, the time you pick is for the River Cruise portion. So pick a time that works for everyone, and purchase the standalone River Cruise tickets for the same time slot. After you complete your purchase, you get an email message with instructions on how to book the London Eye portion of the trip.

If you decide to do both events on the same day, then this is the recommendation I received from the London Eye people:

Order of events Time to allow in between
London Eye, then River Cruise 45 minutes
River Cruise, then London Eye 60 minutes

(One turn on the London Eye takes 30 minutes. The River Cruise lasts 40 minutes.)

When you arrive at the London Eye, there’s a good chance you will be dismayed by the length of the queue. Just get into the queue before your scheduled time, and you’ll be okay. Somebody comes around every few minutes to confirm that you were in the queue in time.

Note, however, that if you choose to follow the Eye with a Cruise, a longer-than-expected queue will eat into your buffer time.

¹ Since this was marked as a numeric field, there is no way to enter the plus sign. Or an “x” for extension.

² If you start by hitting the down-arrow, you can set a negative telephone number! That gets me a minus sign, but I need a plus sign for the international dialing prefix.