I am not able to get through to the Rail Europe office. We will be taking the TGV train from Paris to Avignon . Does anyone know if there is Wifi on board at the seats or only in the lounge area?
SNCF operates these trains, they're the people to ask.
I found the following on their UK site: http://tgv.uk.voyages-sncf.com/en/
Under "Onboard Services" WiFi is not ticked for either 1st or 2nd class.
on: http://tgv.uk.voyages-sncf.com/en/trains/tgv/class-comfort it says "Free WiFi in the lounges and at the station", but only for 1st class passengers. It is refering to the first class lounges at the station, not on-board lounges.
Even if a train offers Wi-Fi (and it sounds like this one doesn't), you can never count on it. Wi-Fi on a bus or train is merely the 3G or 4G signal "pulled off the air" and turned into Wi-Fi, so it fluctuates throughout the ride, and its speed and strength also depend on how many others are using it and how far away you are from the signal (which may not be in your car).
I use it on Amtrak from New York to Philadelphia and Washington. Due to the factors I mentioned, it fluctuates constantly during the trip, from fine to weak to non-existent. And, Amtrak blocks high-bandwidth activities like streaming audio and video (including Skype and the like); European trains are likely to do this too.
Wi-Fi on a bus or train is merely the 3G or 4G signal "pulled off the
Not necessarily. The wifi that Thalys trains offer is satellite based, and fast enough to stream video. Which of course has it's own limitations when a train is stopped at a station, and the signal is blocked by the building.
My daughter & I traveled in reverse (Avignon to Paris) this June on a TGV train & it did not offer Wi-Fi.
As far as I know, none of the trains we took in France, TGV, Intercity or Ter trains offered Wi-Fi.
So... just enjoy the scenery or catch on your sleep ;-)
No reliable Wifi, even if it is offered in first class. You have to be a member of their frequent traveler plan and it is a hassle (same in Italy BTW). Plan to use what I call hipster wifi, McDonalds, Starbucks, and other restaurants at the station. There is usually wifi in the tourist ticket help office at the station as well. If you are worried about having your ticket on your phone, download it as a pdf prior to boarding.