Eurail Global Pass Reservations - Seats & Costs

  • 19 September 2023
  • 3 replies

US citizens (wife & I) planning on traveling to 4 locations in July 2024 (London-Paris, Paris-Zermatt, Zermatt-Brussels, Brussels-London).  I want to buy 1st class pass and reservations. 

  1.  How accurate are the rates listed on the Eurail reservations that pop up?   My hope is to book all reservations through Eurail’s website/app.
  2. If I cannot pick seats, how do i insure we are seated together (and would like the facing seats)?
  3. When boarding a train that doesn’t require reservations, how do you know seats have not been reserved by someone?
  4. How does the 1st class and 2nd class noted on Eurail map to the Business class, Standard Premiere class, & Standard class I read about in the comments?

Best answer by thibcabe 19 September 2023, 07:03

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3 replies

Userlevel 7
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1. They are generally accurate, please note that they include the 2€ fee per person per train added by Eurail.

2. The system makes you sit together, don't worry. By booking through the company (DB German railways on your way to Belgium for example) you may have access to a seat map.

3. Either there are small screens or paper slips above the seats telling you that it's booked between which stops or either people don't bother with reservations. The former is the case in Switzerland, I've lived here all my life and never made one. Simply hop on and sit wherever you want. As a tip : the front and rear carriages are quieter.

4. Eurostar is an exception : Standard Premier is equivalent to 1st and Standard to 2nd. As far as I know Business Premier has the same seats as Standard Premier but tickets are more flexible and you have access to a lounge (unavailable with Eurail). In Standard Premier a small meal is served.

All other trains on your itinerary use 1st and 2nd class.

Userlevel 7
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1st class is a good idea for long journeys and the pass is much better value than regular tickets for it !

Some advice about reservations (1st class prices) :

- 38€ Eurostar : really unavoidable. Book early as this route is very popular and those trains have a passholder quota (exception)…

- a few choices for Paris - Zermatt : 39€ for a direct TGV to Geneva/Lausanne/Basel or 10€ limited fare, then 20€ for a TGV up to the border (Bellegarde/Mulhouse)

- Zermatt - Brussels : I'd recommend the route via Germany (optional free reservations) instead of Paris (mandatory expensive reservations). Trains in Germany (and other countries but not useful to you) can be booked free of charge with a 1st class pass by goong through the Austrian company ÖBB.

To complete my above advice don't bother booking a train between Visp and Basel but definitely book (even the day before) Basel - Cologne - Brussels.

Userlevel 7
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2 example itineraries :

- TGV Paris Gare de Lyon - Bellegarde 08:18 - 11:00 10-20€

- TER Bellegarde - Geneva 11:07 - 11:35

- IR90 Geneva - Visp 12:10 - 14:23

- RE Visp - Zermatt 14:41 - 14:51

If the TGV is delayed and you may miss the connection in Bellegarde speak to staff and they will probably let you stay onboard until Geneva. Nobody can board the train between Bellegarde and Geneva anyway.

From Bellegarde you have a lot of flexibility trains run every 30 min in Switzerland. Feel free to stop for a bit in Geneva, Lausanne, Vevey or Montreux.

- RE Zermatt - Visp 07:37 - 08:46

- IC6 Visp - Basel SBB 08:57 - 11:01

- ICE Basel SBB - Köln Hbf 11:13 - 15:04 free

- ICE Köln Hbf - Brussels 15:40 - 17:35 free

Also possible 2h later.

The 2024 schedule will be published some time in October, this is the current one but don't expect a lot of changes.

Don't hesitate to ask further questions.