Are Interrail aware of the reservation problems?


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I last used an Interrail 30 years ago as a young man, I’d love to go again with my son, but the awful ‘reservations’ problems that I’ve been learning about on almost all trains in France and Spain (also elsewhere) is making me think twice!!

I really don’t mind paying E10 for a reservation on a high speed French train or E8 for a Spanish train, but the huge bureaucracy involved just to make a reservation seems ridiculous, in 2022! Phone calls, ticket offices, calling German railways, Belgian railway website, cover numbers, what the hell is going on! Without reservations you can’t easily plan - OK if you’re a student with 3 months to spare, not so good if you’ve only got 7-10 days.

However, I do understand that Interrail Management can’t control the policies of national railways. So the main subject of this post is: are the Interrail Management aware that there are 2 simple things they could do to make their customers’ lives much, much easier? Yes - their customers!

  1. Update the app to allow E20 French reservations. It allows E10 reservations, why on earth is it impossible to offer E20 ones? Surely this is easily fixable. Forcing customers to (apparently) spend half an hour on the international phone to SNCF just to reserve an E20 seat is crazy.
  2. Provide a Cover Number with all digital passes. It seems this Cover Number is critical to make reservations - apparently it can be provided ‘on request’ with a substantial delay - so why isn’t it just provided automatically for every customer when they buy their pass? If Interrail promote digital passes, surely they have to provide the codes to make it easy to use?!

Does anyone on these forums have contacts with the Interrail staff, to ask if these things are being tackled?

Nanja 3 months ago

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. We've taken your feedback to make the following improvements: 

Update the app to allow E20 French reservations.
In July the change was made to not offer €10 fares but only €20 as they are not limited to number of seats. With connections to the system we are using to book there are limitations we are dealing with. Therefore, at this moment, it is not possible implement it technically. 

Provide a Cover Number with all digital passes.
We released the '’pass generator'’ for customers to be able to retrieve a Pass Cover number themselves: 

 

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12 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

I hope that I will have a meeting with some of the Eurail staff in near future. The Pass Cover Number issue first on my list and the issue with the 20 EUR TGV reservations not far behind.

I know that @seewulf and @rvdborgt have raised many issues with Customer Support.

Regarding the Pass Cover Number issue I was told that there should be a solution coming soon, but I have no idea what that will be.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

I know they've been working on the 20€ reservations for quite some time now. On the other hand, I haven't seen that working ever on the Interrail website (that is: since I became involved in this community) and I don't know what's keeping them from implementing it properly.

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

@cyberbub  There is a small section here in the Community where some experienced travelers post current problems/issues, wrong or missing informations on the websites. But it looks like actual the maintarget of Eurail is to solve the high income of CustomerSupport Requests. As i havent seen one of the Community Managers recently online and if just shortly :)

@rvdborgt  post atleast once per week something in this section

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@cyberbub  There is a small section here in the Community where some experienced travelers post current problems/issues, wrong or missing informations on the websites. But it looks like actual the maintarget of Eurail is to solve the high income of CustomerSupport Requests. As i havent seen one of the Community Managers recently online and if just shortly :)

@rvdborgt  post atleast once per week something in this section

 

Yes, it’s fair that they are focusing on the customer support requests. But by fixing 2 or 3 key technical problems, they would have a lot fewer customer support requests! :-)

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

@cyberbub  There is a small section here in the Community where some experienced travelers post current problems/issues, wrong or missing informations on the websites. But it looks like actual the maintarget of Eurail is to solve the high income of CustomerSupport Requests. As i havent seen one of the Community Managers recently online and if just shortly :)

@rvdborgt  post atleast once per week something in this section

 

Yes, it’s fair that they are focusing on the customer support requests. But by fixing 2 or 3 key technical problems, they would have a lot fewer customer support requests! :-)

 

Just by supplying pass cover numbers with mobile passes orders they would reduce a significant amount of work which is a problem that has no external issues at all.

 

On the main points you stated, my take is that unless Interrail are willing to tackle the behaviour of certain rail companies then there is not likely to be much progress. It is clear that making it intentionally difficult for passholders to obtain reservations is a deliberate tactic to reduce the numbers using these companies fast trains while keeping their cut of pass sales revenue.

My stance on it would be an ultimatum to these railways to fix these issues or have their % of revenue cut to 0.

I can understand if their problem is a belief that there are too many passholders taking seats they could sell for more to other customers. Perhaps an alternative solution to this could be found and I can think of a few options.

The truth is that Interrail is no longer the free roaming ticket it once was, the proliferation of mandatory reservation services has ended this way of traveling in many regions and it isn’t coming back.

The most important thing is to end the current situation where Eurail/Interrail passes are effectively a bait-and-switch con for many people. Sold as a cheap and hassle free way to access the European rail network only for customers to find out after purchasing that they have to jump through increasingly complex hoops or are already stuck with a product fundamentally unusable in the way they were led to believe before they bought it. Far too many end up having to spend money or alter other travel plans at the last minute to resolve the situation. Treating people this way is just wrong, expecting to get away with it because they are tourists is pretty despicable.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

It effectively in essence all boils down to 3 countries and then their Hi-speed (superfast )trains. Including for most the fast trains overtheborder to/fro FRance, incl. €*-but thats also effectively all SNCF. It thus hits the British most ,as they have no other option to get on rails out of that island.

Threaten to SNCF will lead to nothing-more likely is then to happen what was in the stakes some years ago-NOT valid on any such hi-speed train. You also have to look at the significant amount of fraud that always hung around this ticket and that the ONLY REServation option was opening the gates wide for that-hence SNCF and Tr-It withdrew it.

This pass is not made for just carting off a few 1000 Km on hi-speed to get the nice feeling you´re helping environment by not flying. Its to discover the  many forgotten corners and areas in Europe.

For me the more nasty aspect the the total absence of international trains in South-East Europe.

Plus that-as passes are mostly used by completely unexperienced and clueless juniors-its also the pest of all these planners that send the people all on the same lines-as they are the fastest. Proper own thinking also seems to have been forgotten.

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. We've taken your feedback to make the following improvements: 

Update the app to allow E20 French reservations.
In July the change was made to not offer €10 fares but only €20 as they are not limited to number of seats. With connections to the system we are using to book there are limitations we are dealing with. Therefore, at this moment, it is not possible implement it technically. 

Provide a Cover Number with all digital passes.
We released the '’pass generator'’ for customers to be able to retrieve a Pass Cover number themselves: 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. We've taken your feedback to make the following improvements: 

Update the app to allow E20 French reservations.
In July the change was made to not offer €10 fares but only €20 as they are not limited to number of seats. With connections to the system we are using to book there are limitations we are dealing with. Therefore, at this moment, it is not possible implement it technically. 

@Nanja 

I find it quite a stretch to call this an improvement.

Did you check with your legal department whether it is allowed to sell reservations for 20€ when 10€ reservations are available? At the very least, you should mention on the reservation website that you're currently not selling 10€ reservations and they may be available elsewhere.

Is there a plan to improve this, i.e. to offer 10€ reservations again? If so, by when?

Userlevel 6
Badge +9

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. We've taken your feedback to make the following improvements: 

Update the app to allow E20 French reservations.
In July the change was made to not offer €10 fares but only €20 as they are not limited to number of seats. With connections to the system we are using to book there are limitations we are dealing with. Therefore, at this moment, it is not possible implement it technically. 

@Nanja

I find it quite a stretch to call this an improvement.

Did you check with your legal department whether it is allowed to sell reservations for 20€ when 10€ reservations are available? At the very least, you should mention on the reservation website that you're currently not selling 10€ reservations and they may be available elsewhere.

Is there a plan to improve this, i.e. to offer 10€ reservations again? If so, by when?

At least this explains why my recent searches have shown reservation for seats at 20 euros rather than 10.

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

@rvdborgt, I'’m sure all necessary checks have been done by the relevant team before implementation. if you do not agree with the decision or have any further doubts, please file a complaint via customer support. I will pass on your request of having this information on the website. As mentioned, at this moment it is technically not possible to offer both. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

 As mentioned, at this moment it is technically not possible to offer both. 

I'm sure that's the case. But I specifically asked by when you plan to do this. At least I hope there is a plan to resolve this rather unfortunate situation, is there?

Additionally, when do you plan to mention on the reservations page that you currently don't sell the 10€ reservations?

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

Currently, there is no information (yet) on how this will be tackled and its timeline. 
The request has been forwarded to the relevant team. I expect the information to be added to the website after the weekend but will keep you informed. 

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