Eurail First Class seat reservation

  • 22 February 2023
  • 13 replies
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I am trying to understand what you get with the First Class Eurail Global Pass ticket.  We will be travelling from London to Rome via train from the last week of April through to Mid May (a little over 3 weeks). We are going from London - Brussels - Paris - Geneva - Zurich - Venice - Florence - Rome - Amsterdam. 

We have not yet purchased our global pass, but If we purchase first class global pass do we still have to pay for the standard or first class seat reservations? For example, the app states that we have to pay an additional 44 dollars per person for first class tickets on the Eurostar from London to Brussels. Similar examples of needing to pay for a seat reservation include the trip from Paris to Geneva and all the trips in Italy. If we purchase a First Class Global pass would we still have to pay these seat reservations and if so would they be less than what is shown in the App?

 


13 replies

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. If we purchase a First Class Global pass would we still have to pay these seat reservations

Yes you must pay the seat reservation

and if so would they be less than what is shown in the App?

No, not if you buy the reservations through Eurail. Eurail adds 2 EUR per person and train in booking fee so if you make the reservation directly from the train company you save some money. 

You can also look for reservation free trains on all routes except for the Eurostar. The reservation free regional trains will take longer time though. 

 

 

 

So if majority of the trains we are riding are high-speed is there any benefit to having the First class global pass over the standard global pass if we are interested in riding in first class on the high speed trains?

 

Also, you mentioned regional trains, is there a way in the App or website to filter to see only regional options for a route e.g Paris to Geneva or Venice to Florence?

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If you select "no seat reservations required" in the planner, under filter options, you should be able to see only regional trains (or trains with only mandatory reservations) . 

Seat reservations are best avoided on relatively short stretches. Distances like Amsterdam Brussels, Brussels - Cologne, or Lille are just bad value. A seat reservation on Thalys or TGV connection cost almost as much as cheaper ordinary tickets.

But a lot of people know these tips and tricks by heart, so if you share your plans, you can get good advice here how to cut down reservation cost to a minimum :). 

The longer the stretch, the more worth it gets to get a reservation in my opinion. 

Paris Geneva has very expensive reservation fees. Tonget to Switzerland, from Paris it's best to only reserve to another station in France, like Bellegarde, Mulhouse or Lyon, and afterwards continue your journey via regional trains there. It brings you to lesser known, but nice places too that way :)

A domestic seat reservation in France costs 10 (or 20 if the quotum is reached) EUR in comparison to the almost triple (!) the cost of a  seat reservation on the direct TGV Paris-Lyon, even more in 1st class. 

Userlevel 7
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So if majority of the trains we are riding are high-speed is there any benefit to having the First class global pass over the standard global pass if we are interested in riding in first class on the high speed trains?

The benefit is that you can use first class on the train (but on most trains there is no snack/drink/meal included, but there are some exceptions). You get mostly only a better seating than second class. Depends from the route, operator and train.

So if majority of the trains we are riding are high-speed is there any benefit to having the First class global pass over the standard global pass if we are interested in riding in first class on the high speed trains?

The benefit is that you can use first class on the train (but on most trains there is no snack/drink/meal included, but there are some exceptions). You get mostly only a better seating than second class. Depends from the route, operator and train.

Just so that I am clear if we purchase the standard Global pass we cannot reserve first class seats?

Userlevel 7
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Just so that I am clear if we purchase the standard Global pass we cannot reserve first class seats?

Generally, no. Although in France there's a specific (more expensive) reservation to book 1st class seats for a 2nd class pass.

If you select "no seat reservations required" in the planner, under filter options, you should be able to see only regional trains (or trains with only mandatory reservations) . 

Seat reservations are best avoided on relatively short stretches. Distances like Amsterdam Brussels, Brussels - Cologne, or Lille are just bad value. A seat reservation on Thalys or TGV connection cost almost as much as cheaper ordinary tickets.

But a lot of people know these tips and tricks by heart, so if you share your plans, you can get good advice here how to cut down reservation cost to a minimum 🙂. 

The longer the stretch, the more worth it gets to get a reservation in my opinion. 

Paris Geneva has very expensive reservation fees. Tonget to Switzerland, from Paris it's best to only reserve to another station in France, like Bellegarde, Mulhouse or Lyon, and afterwards continue your journey via regional trains there. It brings you to lesser known, but nice places too that way :)

A domestic seat reservation in France costs 10 (or 20 if the quotum is reached) EUR in comparison to the almost triple (!) the cost of a  seat reservation on the direct TGV Paris-Lyon, even more in 1st class. 

Great information! I will definitely look at catching the train to other stations to cut down on costs. This will be our first trip to Europe so we are not yet train savvy. We are mostly looking at reservations because we keep reading (including the Eurail site) that a few of these routes get busy and it is better to reserve in advance we plan to be in Europe April 26 and going until May 18. We are travelling from to the following cities in the order provided London - Brussels - Paris - Geneva - Zurich - Venice - Florence - Rome - Amsterdam using the Eurail timetable to determine which train to catch. I have been looking at trains with the least number of connections (preference for direct) since we will be carrying luggage with us, followed by how quickly we get to the next destination. My biggest concern is getting to the station and we won’t be able to have our family of 4 sit together. Having not been to Europe I don’t know if that will be the case but as I said based on what I have read it appears that some trains are popular and get fairly full.

 

On a side note if there is a way to get from London to Geneva without paying all the Eurostar seat reservations fees that would be great to know.

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On a side note if there is a way to get from London to Geneva without paying all the Eurostar seat reservations fees that would be great to know.

No there is not, because only Eurostar gets via Channel Tunnel under the sea from London in UK (Island) to the mainland continent to France. There are also bus services (that get on the train to get on the other side but they thake longer and are not included in the pass or boat/ships. 

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Eurostar is very difficult to avoid, as it is the fastest and best connection from the UK to the continent.

  • From Brussels to Paris, you can avoid the hefty Thalys reservation fee by travelling with domestic trains in Belgium over Lille (Fr) and catch a domestic TGV there. Or take a train to Charleroi, then to Maubeuge, then Paris to avoid any reservation cost at all (but longer travel time of course).
  • Paris Geneve, I already mentioned before.
  • Geneve-Zurich does not need any reservation.
  • Zurich-Italy needs a reservation fee/surplus too on certain trains. Although I think you can avoid it by using local trains to cross the border, Am I right fellow community members?
  • Fast Frecce trains in Italy require a seat reservation per train.
  • If you go back to Amsterdam, from Rome, best find a route over Germany, that way you cut reservation cost much more than over France. Although it will increase your travel time a bit.

You can get your seat reservations via alternative ways too:

Check this extensive community made guide:

 

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  • Zurich-Italy needs a reservation fee/surplus too on certain trains. Although I think you can avoid it by using local trains to cross the border, Am I right fellow community members?

Correct, change in Lugano to a regional express. It doesn't even take much more time.

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Your only viable option to avoid Eurostar is to fly. Ferries are slow and will involve at least one overnight and transport to/from ferry terminal.

If you have first class passes on Eurostar the reservation fee, whilst higher than second class, does include an alcoholic drink and a light meal.

Unless you book well in advance with Eurostar the normal price will be far higher than a travel day plus reservation, especially for standard premier.

Unless Brussels is high on your wish list I would suggest Lille as a better first stop - hotels and food are as good but a lot cheaper. You can go on from there to Brussels for a day trip on local trains, and then onwards from Lille to Strasbourg for Switzerland.

Thank you for all the great responses. I just want to make sure I am clear on the first class Eurail global pass before I hit the purchase button. If we want to reserve first class seats on any train we first need a First Class global pass? 

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Thank you for all the great responses. I just want to make sure I am clear on the first class Eurail global pass before I hit the purchase button. If we want to reserve first class seats on any train we first need a First Class global pass? 

You need a first class Global Pass to use first class on trains. 

But, you don’t need a pass to buy reservations (with exceptions - booking via eurail.com is only possible if you have a pass. But most times you can book via alternative ways and most of the time they cost less). You need to board the train to have the pass (= ticket) and if needed a reservation. 

There are some exceptions with trains where you can pay the price difference between 1st and 2nd class normal fare tickets or like inside France for the TGV sometimes you can pay a upgrade by booking via travel.b-europe to get first class with an second class pass. 

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