Interrail is way to complicated. Do not use!


So I am planning a Trip trough France. While looking for tickets, I found this Interrail ticket, which promises cheap prices and flexible trains. So I decided for Interrail and ended up not buying the tickets upfront and directly. Not knowing what a pain in the a** this Interrail program is. I spend the hole last evening and the hole morning trying to figure out how to buy reservations for the TGV. 

They tell you to get the reservations up front, because they might be limited. But there is no way of checking for reservations without buying the pass. On Eurail you can't look for tickets until you have bought an Interrail pass. So I ended up buying the pass, and now there are no Reservations available at all. Every reservation has a different error message. What the heck? There is even an App that shows all the possible routes and the reservation prices. Which then don't exist?!

Apparently, SNCB took the reservation system out of their Website. There are plenty of options on where to book the reservations, but neither of them work. On b-europe.com you can book tickets but only for french stations. So I can't take the TGV from Germany to France because I need a reservation for the German rail as well, which I can't book. DB doesn't work internationally at all. I tried calling multiple phone numbers, some just don't connect to anything, others can't help me. I'm just furious about this hole system. 8 hours of my free time just wasted.

Screw this Interrail System. I am taking my car. I really want to take the train for environmental reasons, but apparently the systems are so broken, that trains are not a viable option anymore...
I mean, how bad can you make the experience of your customers?? And I can't even get a full refund for my pass.


10 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Why not just taking the TER trains without reservations? Saves money like Germans love and also offers usually more interesting scenery along the way.

Beside you could have done your homework before buying the pass. You can check availability on SNCF website.

And last but not least say thanks to your government who prefers to push flights and cars instead of trains.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Jans DE fahrt heuer mit das 9€. Jenau so koennte mann machen mit IR in diese TER-zuege.

ESpana ist noch schwieriger-wie wri hier jede Tag ansagen. Aber jeder 1e Mal kommer will jenau nur in diese Laender zugli fahren jehen

@oracle I could not agree more!! 

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Auf die Idee bei einem DB Reisezentrum zu gehen? Oder hast du keines in der Nähe?

Die DB kann die TGV/ICE Paris-Frankfurt/Stuttgart/München buchen und die TGV/AVE Spanien-Frankreich. Sogar die Züge in Spanien kann die DB verkaufen (da brauchst du aber gute Mitarbeiter die auch wissen wie es Funktioniert). 

Online über die SNCB gehen die Züge in Frankreich und Eurostar/Thalys Züge. 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

On the one hand, prospective travellers need to do their homework.

On the other hand, it is a major shortcoming that Interrail/Eurail do not show pass holder seat availability on their own website without you having bought a pass. For some trains, that website is the only possibility to check pass holder seat availability online.

I guess some kind people on here or twitter would check individual trains for availability, in such cases where someone is thinking about a purchase.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

I guess some kind people on here or twitter would check individual trains for availability, in such cases where someone is thinking about a purchase.

Sure. But that's not how it should work IMO. We've seen quite a few angry posts over the past few months from people who wanted to cancel their pass after they found out there were no pass holder seats available for their journeys.

I guess some kind people on here or twitter would check individual trains for availability, in such cases where someone is thinking about a purchase.

We've seen quite a few angry posts over the past few months from people who wanted to cancel their pass after they found out there were no pass holder seats available for their journeys.

And notably on trust pilot . fr, es, .it as well!

Userlevel 1
Badge

I am very much enjoying my interrail journey at the moment and as a dedicated train geek I have gotten famliar with all the systems involved in checking and making reservations. But let’s be honest the system is a mess, not just for interrail but booking international trains generally. It’s down to the countries of course but with interrail it’s pretty hard to work out what exactly what trains you can just get on without doing quite a bit of research.

As much as it is possible to figure it all out and make it work, why should someone who has no interest in these things and just wants to travel round Europe for a couple of weeks have to? As shown here, the result is another car on the road.

The trainline and raileurope do a pretty good job of collating all the ticketing together. You have to pay for the privilege, but it’s not extortionate and it’s a lot simpler than trying to figure out the various operator platforms with their sometimes confusing translations.

I’m not sure why interrail feel entitled to charge 2 euros for making a reservation when you’ve paid hundreds of pounds/euros to them already, but the least they could do is allow you to search for them in advance.

Userlevel 5
Badge +9

Is the problem simply that the World is moving faster than most of us can keep up with?

I like to think I am tech literate but the sheer speed my life has moved from researching books and using real travel agents, to the move to everything on my laptop and phone (and my laptop is only surviving because I need a big screen). In the last 12 months all my banking has gone on-line, I now have all my pictures in the cloud and I get instant pictures of my grandson via WhatsApp.

Fortunately for me I never used a paper pass or the days before reservations, so I have done all my learning on the current somewhat dysfunctional processes, but they do work when you take the time to understand those processes.

This is all in the shadow of Covid and the awesome impact of Ukraine on prices.

 

For me the biggest change was adapting from the well developed self booking flight/accommodation  process to the application by Interrail of their infant of an online offer. 

It is no surprise to me that many find it complex and walk away from it, going back to the well developed low cost flight model.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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