Booking seat reservations

  • 16 November 2021
  • 15 replies
  • 207 views

Hello!!

I have bought an Interrail Pass and now I’m checking which of the trains require seat reservations.

For many of them, I cannot purchase this via the eurail website. In this case, do I have to purchase the individual train tickets (on different websites) as if I don’t have an Interrail pass?

What if I wait to buy my seat on the day right before departure?

 

Thank you


15 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Please specify for which trains you would like to book reservations, so people can make suggestions.

You should never have to buy train tickets, just reservations. Your Interrail is your train ticket.

Exactly what I thought and I don't want to buy tickets when I don't have to. The following trains that I'm unable to reserve via Eurail:

 

Lyon Part Dieu to Barcelona-Sants

Barcelona-Sants to Valencia Joaquin Solorolla

Valencia to Alicante

Alicante to Madrid 

Madrid to Barcelona

Barcelona to Valence TGV

Userlevel 7
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Lyon - Barcelona and Barcelona - Valence: there's currently an issue with the Eurail reservation system that prevents successful bookings for TGVs France - Barcelona. @Nanja, do you already have a fix date? However, since reservations for TGVs France - Barcelona can only be issued on paper and would have to be sent via post, you could just as well call Deutsche Bahn and order them there: +49 30 2970 (available 24/7, normal phone rates). Do stipulate you want them sent via the post and can't collect them from a DB ticket machine. Belgian railways via phone should also be an option although I fear their phone number is more expensive than DB's.

As to domestic Spanish reservations: Spanish railways have deliberately made these unavailable for other railways/distributors to book. You can book them by phone via Spanish railways (with some limitations), see this page and look for "Spain", or alternatively book at a Spanish ticket office. Belgian railways and Deutsche Bahn still claim (in their tariff documentation) they can also book Spanish trains, but I very much doubt that is still correct.

Thank you so much for this response!!

I will give those numbers and call and go from there

Userlevel 6
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Hi, we have checked it rvdborgt, and there seems to be no issue with the train carriers system sending data to our system. This means that if the message '’book an alternative option..'’ appears, it is because the train is fully booked for Pass holders. 
Heartree, if you can provide me with the dates and times you want to travel per route, I can have a look at them. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Hi, we have checked it rvdborgt, and there seems to be no issue with the train carriers system sending data to our system. This means that if the message '’book an alternative option..'’ appears, it is because the train is fully booked for Pass holders. 

It would be better if this is explained on the page where this error appears, so people understand why they should look for an alternative.

Userlevel 6
Badge +7

Yes, I agree - like discussed in one of the other topics. Due to incomplete data from carriers we cannot specify the reason per error. What we can do, is to name some of the possible reasons. This has already been flagged as improvement point with the relevant department. 

I’ve been on hold for a long time over multiple calls to Deutsche Bahn...doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. 

The Spanish number unfortunately didn’t give me an English option, but I’m thinking to reserve those on the day. 

Thank you for your help

Userlevel 6
Badge +7

Thanks Heartree for providing the below dates and times of your routes, through a private message:

'’Lyon Part Dieu to Barcelona-Sants is on 8th December at 2:28 PM
Barcelona-Sants to Valencia is on 8th December at 8:15 PM
Barcelona-Sants to Valence TGV Rhone-Alpes is on 12th December at 9:10 AM
(the domestic Spanish trains I'm thinking to reserve on the day before departure)'’

I've checked them:
 
The Lyon Part Dieu to Barcelona - Sants on 8th December at 2:28 PM is sold out for Pass holders. This train is also sold out for the 9th of December but still available for the 10th. On the 9th there is still availability for the train (although not direct).

Barcelona- Sants to Valencia is not bookable through our reservation system. You can book the reservation at the train station.

Barcelona- Sants to Valence Rhone- Alpes seems to be fully booked is not necessarily fully booked but is currently not bookable through our reservation system as there is a problem in connecting to and retrieving the information from Renfes booking system. Therefore you are advised to either book the train leaving at 08.15 AM (which is still bookable) or to book the 9.10 AM train reservation at the station.

Cheers, 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Barcelona- Sants to Valence Rhone- Alpes seems to be fully booked is not necessarily fully booked but is currently not bookable through our reservation system as there is a problem in connecting to and retrieving the information from Renfes booking system.

That's very unfortunate for these sparse trains with very few possibilities to book them. Any idea when it will be fixed? That train at 9:10 is already open for sale so it will be filling up quickly.

Hello!!

I have bought an Interrail Pass and now I’m checking which of the trains require seat reservations.

For many of them, I cannot purchase this via the eurail website. In this case, do I have to purchase the individual train tickets (on different websites) as if I don’t have an Interrail pass?

What if I wait to buy my seat on the day right before departure?

 

Thank you


Travelling from Amsterdam to Coimbra (Portugal) and back again for meetings 10 days ago, I ran into the following:
 

  • Reservations on the Thalys from Amsterdam to Paris I got on b-europe.com
  • I got the reservation on the TGV from Paris to Bordeaux (and back again from Hendaye to Paris) via the Interrail/Eurail site.
  • Calling the RENFE international reservations line didn’t work as the person who helped me said I couldn’t book by phone without going to a RENFE station.
  • There’s currently no Interrail-compatible train across the Spain/France border at Hendaye/Irun, but you can walk across the border between Hendaye and Irun (about 30 mins walk) or take a Euskotren train from Hendaye to Irun or San Sebastian - it cost me €2.75 from San Sebastian to Hendaye.
  • When I got to Irun RENFE station, the person at the reservations counter said I couldn’t book middle- or long-distance trains there and needed to go to a long-distance station. They gave me a platform ticket and my Interrail pass covered me for the local RENFE train to San Sebastian.
  • The ticket counter in San Sebastian was able to get me a reservation on any Spanish train with availability, except for the TGV from Barcelona to Paris. They didn’t know why they could not book that.
  • I discovered later that the reason I couldn’t get a reservation on the TGV from Barcelona to Paris was because there were track works for 4 days in Agde (France) and the line was closed.
  • Unfortunately there are only trains into Portugal between Vigo and Porto and Badajoz to Entroncamento, so I had to take a bus from Salamanca to Coimbra and back again.

Whilst Spanish trains run well, it’s certainly not easy for anyone outside the country to make reservations, and especially not on an Interrail ticket. Which is a pity, as it makes travelling sustainably much more difficult. The sad thing is that this is probably easy to fix in IT terms - RENFE should just give Interrail (or Deutsche Bahn or b-europe) access to the Spanish booking system.

Userlevel 6
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Unfortunately, this is something on Renfes side, so all we can do is to flag and hope for them to improve. 

Userlevel 6
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Hi SamCritch, thanks for taking the time to share your elaborate feedback. You are right with saying that it is not easy to make reservations for Spanish trains at the moment. While indeed much of the things mentioned are related to the carrier, we will take along the information and use it for improvements wherever we can. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Unfortunately, this is something on Renfes side, so all we can do is to flag and hope for them to improve. 

Indeed. RENFE have a long history of being their own worst enemy.

Interrail reservations for domestic RENFE trains by other distributors (such as other railways and Eurail/Interrail) were possible until the beginning of 2020 and then RENFE didn't want that anymore and discontinued that possibility.

Maybe we should all file a complaint.

[It's a Spanish form on the English pages - sigh. Sugerencia = suggestion; queja = complaint]

Maybe if we generate enough complaints, they'll see it as a problem.

Unfortunately, this is something on Renfes side, so all we can do is to flag and hope for them to improve. 

Indeed. RENFE have a long history of being their own worst enemy.

Interrail reservations for domestic RENFE trains by other distributors (such as other railways and Eurail/Interrail) were possible until the beginning of 2020 and then RENFE didn't want that anymore and discontinued that possibility.

Maybe we should all file a complaint.

[It's a Spanish form on the English pages - sigh. Sugerencia = suggestion; queja = complaint]

Maybe if we generate enough complaints, they'll see it as a problem.

 

Thanks @rvdborgt (and @Nanja) - good suggestion on the complaint filing - I filled in the form and asked them to i) allow reservations online for Interrail tickets and ii) (re)introduce a train from Salamanca to Coimbra (where there is already a track in place - in fact the recently-cancelled SudExpress night train from the French border to Lisbon ran on it I think).

I also stressed how not allowing reservations online just means it’s still easier for most people to fly, which is so last year. ;-)

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