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Who should reimburse the hotel?

  • 21 September 2023
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This is a situation that I had last month. I had an Interrail ticket, and I planned to travel from Copenhagen (Denmark) to Geneva within a day. However, one of the trains from Denmark (DSB) was delayed which made me lose my connection, and eventually I arrived to Basel very late and there were no more trains to Geneva that day. I had to stay in a hotel in Basel (which I paid for) and continue the day after. I contacted DSB to ask for the reimbursement of the hotel (as it is their fault, their train was late), but they said that it should be SBB who pays, as the hotel was in Switzerland. I asked at a SBB station, and they have no idea about who should pay or what should be the procedure. They told me to fill in the passenger rights form on the SBB website, but it doesn’t work because it’s an international trip. In the international passenger rights from SBB it says that if I didn’t buy the ticket with SBB, I can’t fill in the form. Interrail states clearly that they do not take care of hotels.

I am completely lost. I don’t know who is responsible to refund the hotel. And, even if I knew, how do I convince them to reimburse me? If DSB says no and SBB says that they don’t know. 

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Best answer by Alba2 22 September 2023, 15:22

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I would be interested to hear the outcome of this.  I almost had a similar situation last year, but in the end I made my connection.  Leaving Cologne at something like 0900, I eventually arrived in Milan around 2300, having spent all but about 15-20 minutes on trains, with tight connections at Basel and Zurich, instead of an hour in Basel and 4 or 5 in Zurich as planned.

Right until I got the train in Zurich (after arriving 3 or 4 minutes earlier) I didn’t know whether I was going to need to book a hotel for the night in Zurich, and whether or not I should cancel my hotel in Milan.  It was hairy, to say the least.

I assumed that CIV rules would cover this in some way (they were CIV tickets from Germany to Switzerland and Switzerland to Italy) but had no idea how I was going to actually enforce it/get reimbursed.

The situation was a little unreal - after going down the west bank of the Rhine for a couple of hours, the train reversed direction because of line issues, went all the way back up to Cologne and then went back down the east side.  We viewed the same scenes from both sides of the Rhine on one trip, hours apart.  If it wasn’t for my onward connection it would have been quite the treat.

Anyway, I would be interested to hear how you fare with this in case it comes up again for me on a future trip.

[edit] I still don’t understand why they didn’t give us the option of getting off, sticking us on a bus or a taxi or even making us walk across one of the several bridges we passed and just getting whatever train was heading south down the other side.  It would have saved hours of travel and a lot of timetable consulting and worry as the afternoon wore on.

@zagmund wow, that sounds horrible! I’m glad you made it in the end! 

Actually, I have an update! I contacted Interrail. I did not expect them to give me a solution, as they state in their rules that they do not cover hotels in case of delays. However, they answered super quickly and gave me a refund! After a month fighting with DSB and SBB with no results, I got it solved super quickly with Interrail. I hope this can help other people in my situation in the future!

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Glad you got a result.

I got bounced between DB and Eurail when I had to pay out of pocket expenses to avoid being stuck overnight.

It was only about €50, and since I still don’t know what my actual rights were, I gave up after trying three times.

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