Change TGV reservation CDG to Strasbourg

  • 21 March 2022
  • 4 replies

I have a reservation to arrive at CDG on a Friday in May this year and hope to depart soon after for Strasbourg by TGV and know a reservation is required.  It is sometimes slow and difficult to get from the plane through immigration and customs.  I should have 2 hours between arrival and departure of the TGV (morning).  There is another 2 hrs 23 minutes later.  Since arrival is on a Friday morning I expect the TGV demand to be high and am watching it now.  If I were sure of the trip I could make a reservation now but plan to wait about another month.

One strategy is to book the earlier departure knowing that if the plane flies at all I could make the later TGV.  Another is just the opposite, i.e. book the earlier thinking that if it becomes clear that I can’t catch it in time I could possibly change the reservation to the later TGV.  My wife will be waiting at CDG and will know the status of the flight and could make the change if it is clear we wont make the early TGV.  She will be at the TGV station in early morning and if that’s the way to make the change, she could do it there.

The problem is that I cannot get a straight answer about the ability or process to make a TGV reservation change.  I’d appreciate info about that. 

Also, any advice about the plan in general is welcome.  (I’ve written to the Eurail office and got a non answer saying that reservation changes are controlled by the operating rail company, and I wrote SNCF and got a confusing answer.)  Another confusing thing is that the reservation page very often reads “seat availability unknown” even for a train leaving that day even when a reservation can be purchased.  How can that be?

Elsewhere in this forum I read some very interesting info regarding TGV and ICE reservations from Germany through France and one contributor suggested trying the Belgian rail operator.  This TGV through CDG originates in Belgium, I think, so maybe I could get a straighter answer from them. 



Best answer by rvdborgt 21 March 2022, 15:34

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Userlevel 7
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AFAIK, “seat availability unknown” means the booking module could not determine how many pass holder seats are still available. For some trains, it gives an indication whether there are still many or not so many seats available.

Belgian railways say that passholder reservations for domestic TGVs in France can be exchanged or reimbursed before the departure time of the booked TGV. For an exchange, passholder seats must still be available in the new train you want to book.

I'd expect SNCF to have the same policy since in the background, Belgian railways book TGVs through the SNCF system and they would also have co-ordinated conditions with SNCF. Where the TGV originates is not important.

If you possibly want to exchange a reservation in France, then maybe it's a good idea to book via SNCF directly, which can be done via phone (+33 1 84 94 3635, press #85 for English).

Userlevel 7
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The BEST strategy@ airports is always to book the latter-perhaps, maybe you can change to the earlier IF IF IF etc. If ou book the earlier one and cannot reach it-then its money gone
you did not clearly state from where you fly in, but if Its ICA=over the oceans-arr times of such flites can vary a lot-and often from the US VERY late. I have quite some experience in that from former job.

The arrival is terminal 2, tomorrow it’s 2A, a few days ago it was 2E, but I don’t think that matters much with regard to my inquiry.  I’m tracking the record of this flight and it has been almost consistently early.

The first response above was very helpful.  I went to the Belgian rail site for reservations and their change and cancellation conditions were almost clear: 

“ Refund without cost until 3 days before departure; with 15 euro cost from 2 days before departure until departure of the train (TGV); with 40% (maximum 12 euro) cost from 2 days before departure until departure of the train (INTERCITES). Not refundable in case of exchange within the 30 minutes before departure of the train. Not refundable after departure. Cancelled tickets can be refunded up to 60 days after departure.

Exchange Conditions: Exchanges* without cost until 3 days before departure; with 15 euro cost from 2 days before departure until departure of the train (TGV); with 40% (maximum 12 euro) cost from 2 days before departure until departure of the train (INTERCITES). From 30 minutes before departure of the train, maximum 2 exchanges* but only for the same day and same journey. Not refundable after exchange in these 30 minutes before departure. Not exchangeable after departure. *The eventual price difference in charge or advantage of the customer must be paid or reimbursed.”
(As I read it, if you decide to make a change, wait until 2 days before departure and pay no more than 12 euros, or is it 15 euros?  And “two exchanges the 30 minutes before departure…?)  No, I just caught on: they mean two different train types, TGV vs INTERCITES, so I can forget all after “15 euros.”  (I didn’t recognize train type INTERCITES.)
I would rather ride into Paris and take a German ICE, or even TER, but the RER goes to Paris Nord, from which we’d need to go to Paris Est, and my wife hates the Paris Metro and changes in general, so I’m trying to avoid that completely.
Thanks for the helpful and clear and prompt responses.  I am no neophyte.  Last visit we took the Ouigo TGV from Est, very cheap and fine, to Strasbourg, without a rail pass, but that was a couple of days after arriving at CDG.  I want to be sure this goes well, for my wife’s sake.
If anyone has any other thoughts they’d be most welcome. 
Userlevel 7
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@Jojo Williams I'm not sure where you found these conditions but if you took them from the normal booking website of Belgian railways, then you can ignore them, since then they don't apply to pass holder reservations. Here's what you see when booking a pass holder reservation:

By the way, Paris Nord and Paris Est are very close to each other. They're 1 metro stop apart but it's only 10 minutes on foot.