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How do I pay for the seat reservation fee after the tickets are added to my Eurail pass?

  • 16 January 2023
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Userlevel 2
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do NOT make any RES early in YOUR day-as the system often translates the time to that still prevailing here in EUR=1 day earlier then. THis may also lead to birthdates in the data that are 1 day off.

This is only true for the Eurail website.

oh no, does that mean when I book seat reservations I should change my time to Europe time first to make sure no mess ups?

Indeed :)

Thanks a lot, this is a huge help :) 

Userlevel 7
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Oh no, it seems like I can’t fully trust the availabilities shown on the Eurail Planner APP.

The rail planner app cannot book any reservations, not does it show availability. It doesn't have any real time information and it is not updated frequently enough to be reliable. It should really only be used to register your journeys, not for any planning.

But can I still book Paris-Barcelona and return through Eurail website as @BrendanDB suggested?

Absolutely: https://www.eurail.com/en/book-reservations#/ (but only when the bookings are open, so from 25/01 CET.)

Userlevel 2
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Oh no, it seems like I can’t fully trust the availabilities shown on the Eurail Planner APP.

The rail planner app cannot book any reservations, not does it show availability. It doesn't have any real time information and it is not updated frequently enough to be reliable. It should really only be used to register your journeys, not for any planning.

But can I still book Paris-Barcelona and return through Eurail website as @BrendanDB suggested?

Absolutely: https://www.eurail.com/en/book-reservations#/ (but only when the bookings are open, so from 25/01 CET.)

 

Thank you :) May I please ask why the bookings are open from 25 January? 
Our travel date from Paris to Barcelona is April 17, which is still 92 days away so I tested it with April 15, and I could actually reserve the seats and make the payment. I thought needed to wait for another 2 days so I can make the reservation in Eurail website. But I don’t get it why the bookings are open from 25 January. 😯

Userlevel 7
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I don’t know either. The mysteries of the SNCF (French train operator) 😅. I just checked their information on the website, but it could be that it’s only valid for domestic TGVs.

Even experienced railers in Europe get a bit lost in all the different rules, systems and perks every now and then ;)

Guess international travel has a booking window that lies further in the future than the domestic TGV’s. I can see prices for ordinary tickets on the sncf app for your travel dates, so I guess you can try to reserve now then, I’m curious. Let us know if it works out :)

Userlevel 2
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https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm#Spain
Man in Seat 61 mentions using an agent to book seat reservations for Spain. 

https://community.eurail.com/members/malcolmak-1339

and MalcolmAK reports using the agent a couple of weeks ago. 

Userlevel 2
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I don’t know either. The mysteries of the SNCF (French train operator) 😅. I just checked their information on the website, but it could be that it’s only valid for domestic TGVs.

Even experienced railers in Europe get a bit lost in all the different rules, systems and perks every now and then ;)

Guess international travel has a booking window that lies further in the future than the domestic TGV’s. I can see prices for ordinary tickets on the sncf app for your travel dates, so I guess you can try to reserve now then, I’m curious. Let us know if it works out :)

Thanks so much for all your help Brendan :) Sure thing I’ll keep you updated how my bookings work out :)

Userlevel 2
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https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm#Spain
Man in Seat 61 mentions using an agent to book seat reservations for Spain. 

https://community.eurail.com/members/malcolmak-1339

and MalcolmAK reports using the agent a couple of weeks ago. 

OMG the SEAT61 one post has so much information and so detailed! I’ve only up to Czech Republic, it seems to have the answers to all my questions haha. Thank you so much for sharing these two links, I appreciate it :)

Userlevel 6
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https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm#Spain
Man in Seat 61 mentions using an agent to book seat reservations for Spain. 

https://community.eurail.com/members/malcolmak-1339

and MalcolmAK reports using the agent a couple of weeks ago. 

OMG the SEAT61 one post has so much information and so detailed! I’ve only up to Czech Republic, it seems to have the answers to all my questions haha. Thank you so much for sharing these two links, I appreciate it :)

Seat61 is indeed a great source of information!

I have some comments on some bits of your very nice itinerary, particularly on the Spanish bits.

Using an agent for reservations in Spain can indeed be useful, as they are otherwise hard to make (DB makes them but as far as I know only does them on physical tickets which need to be sent by post or collected from a German train station).

For the TGV's between Paris and Barcelona, SNCF can make them on the phone but it's probably best to indeed book them through the Eurail reservations portal (non-refundable €2 fee per ticket).

I see you've planned to take the Flixbus back and forth from Seville to Algeciras. Rail connections to Algeciras aren’t great, but there’s a daily direct train from Madrid that possibly doesn't appear yet in the railplanner app; possibly easier to spend the night in Algeciras on the way to Morocco (I wanted to suggest a night en route in Ronda on the way to Algeciras, but it looks as if the first train from Ronda doesn't allow reaching the 12:00 ferry to Tangier).

Travelling between Algeciras and Seville by train is difficult, and Seville is certainly worth a visit, so do take the Flixbus on the way back. As the buses seem to stop in Jerez, if you're interested in sherry you might want to get off there and continue onwards to Seville by train (reservation is compulsory)

The day trains between London and Scotland can be reserved for free, so ignore any site that tries to charge you.

Good luck with planning your trip!

Userlevel 2
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Thanks so much @Schelte :)

Foe the agent in Spain, do you have any to recommend? We haven’t had experience using agent for booking train tickets. My husband used to make reservation at the train station for the rest of his Spain trip while he arrived. I am a bit worried some seat reservations could be sold out if we book seats reservations for the rest of our Spain trip after we arrive to Barcelona. 

For the Paris - Barcelona I think I would book on the Eurail App :)
 

Our Morocco trip is a bit tricky, as I was trying to find some information of the easiest/fastest way to get to Tangier. I thought Tarifa would be the most convenient port to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, but I struggle to find a way to get to Tarifa from Seville. That’s when I found the Flixbus, however the tickets information of April hasn't appeared on the website yet. So I was still not very sure about how to get to Tangier from Seville.

I checked the timetable of the daily train from Madrid to Algeciras, it’s 15:05 - 20:32 each day, so therefore we won't be able to make it to the ferry but we don't really want to stay in Algeciras just for the night. We would prefer to stay in either Tangier or Seville for the night.

I just found a train from Madrid to Jerez at 7:05 - 10:51, it seems like a better way to get to Tangier if there is a bus from Jerez to Tarifa. So this way we can explore Seville on the way back instead of two half days before and after Morocco.

It would be highly appreciated if you know any information or alternatives to get to Morocco rather than the way we planned. I am really struggling to find reliable information online. 😬

Userlevel 6
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Thanks so much @Schelte :)

Foe the agent in Spain, do you have any to recommend? We haven’t had experience using agent for booking train tickets. My husband used to make reservation at the train station for the rest of his Spain trip while he arrived. I am a bit worried some seat reservations could be sold out if we book seats reservations for the rest of our Spain trip after we arrive to Barcelona. 

I have never used an agent, I generally try to book the seat reservations myself to save extra fees. It is however quite a puzzle, and not always possible.

Seat61.com recommends one: “To make Spanish passholder reservations in advance, email andy@railtravelcentre.com, the same rail expert that runs www.discoverbyrail.com. He can arrange passholder reservations in Spain, if necessary even at short-notice.  His normal handling fee is £17.50, but he'll reduce this to £12.50 if you quote 'seat61' in your email.  One handling fee is charged 'per booking', where a booking can be more than one passenger reserved on more than one train.  Remember to tell him if your pass is 1st or 2nd class.” https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm#Spain I also know Bart from Triptailor.be offers these too, he charges a booking fee of € 5.45 per seat. There certainly are others that can also offer this.

For the Paris - Barcelona I think I would book on the Eurail App :)

Good idea, assuming you mean the Eurail website. The Rail Planner app unfortunately does not allow booking reservations (yet).

It would be highly appreciated if you know any information or alternatives to get to Morocco rather than the way we planned. I am really struggling to find reliable information online. 😬

Unfortunately I’ve never crossed that bit by ferry so I can’t really help you. Maybe someone else has experience with that? I do recall hearing from people that took those ferries that they can be quite delayed due to weather, so maybe your onward connections are too tight.

Userlevel 2
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Thanks so much @Schelte :)

Foe the agent in Spain, do you have any to recommend? We haven’t had experience using agent for booking train tickets. My husband used to make reservation at the train station for the rest of his Spain trip while he arrived. I am a bit worried some seat reservations could be sold out if we book seats reservations for the rest of our Spain trip after we arrive to Barcelona. 

I have never used an agent, I generally try to book the seat reservations myself to save extra fees. It is however quite a puzzle, and not always possible.

Seat61.com recommends one: “To make Spanish passholder reservations in advance, email andy@railtravelcentre.com, the same rail expert that runs www.discoverbyrail.com. He can arrange passholder reservations in Spain, if necessary even at short-notice.  His normal handling fee is £17.50, but he'll reduce this to £12.50 if you quote 'seat61' in your email.  One handling fee is charged 'per booking', where a booking can be more than one passenger reserved on more than one train.  Remember to tell him if your pass is 1st or 2nd class.” https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm#Spain I also know Bart from Triptailor.be offers these too, he charges a booking fee of € 5.45 per seat. There certainly are others that can also offer this.

For the Paris - Barcelona I think I would book on the Eurail App :)

Good idea, assuming you mean the Eurail website. The Rail Planner app unfortunately does not allow booking reservations (yet).

It would be highly appreciated if you know any information or alternatives to get to Morocco rather than the way we planned. I am really struggling to find reliable information online. 😬

Unfortunately I’ve never crossed that bit by ferry so I can’t really help you. Maybe someone else has experience with that? I do recall hearing from people that took those ferries that they can be quite delayed due to weather, so maybe your onward connections are too tight.

Thanks @Schelte :)

I will contact Andy as soon as we finalise our trip plan, thanks for recommending him to us :)

I think I will write a separate post asking about how to get to Morocco easily from Spain. Hopefully someone would know :)

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

do NOT make any RES early in YOUR day-as the system often translates the time to that still prevailing here in EUR=1 day earlier then. THis may also lead to birthdates in the data that are 1 day off.

This is only true for the Eurail website.

oh no, does that mean when I book seat reservations I should change my time to Europe time first to make sure no mess ups?

Indeed :)

Hi @BrendanDB I have a question about changing our local time to Europe timezone when making reservations. I am a bit confused about this actually, wouldn't the timetable of the trains based on the local time of the departure and arrival destinations? Why would my time zone (Australia time zone) affect the reservation? I am just too dumb to figure this out and make sense of it. 😖

Userlevel 7
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It's a technical problem that multiple Australians faced when making reservations. 

If you are, down under, already in the next day in comparison to Europe, and you make a reservation for a train for a certain date, the system reserves on places not on day x that you want to travel, but on day x - 1 (because Europe is still in the previous day, in comparison to Australia) . So to avoid inconveniences and a lot of reebookings, best set your time zone to CET and you'll have the right reservations anyhow. :) 

Userlevel 7
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Hi @BrendanDB I have a question about changing our local time to Europe timezone when making reservations. I am a bit confused about this actually, wouldn't the timetable of the trains based on the local time of the departure and arrival destinations? Why would my time zone (Australia time zone) affect the reservation? I am just too dumb to figure this out and make sense of it. 😖

There has been reports that overseas travellers, especially from Australia, have had problems with getting the correct date on reservations made through the Eurail website. The solution to the problem has been to manually set the time zone to CET for the device used to make the reservations. 

Userlevel 2
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Thanks so much for the explanation and advice :) @BrendanDB @AnnaB 

I will change the timezone to CET for the rest of my bookings.

So far I have successfully booked seat reservation from London to Bruxelles Midi for 7th May, and also seat reservations for Bernini Express on 20th May.

Below are the screenshots of the E-tickets I received. Both tickers are showing the correct dates and time. Does this mean these tickets have no issues? Fingers crossed 😥

 

Userlevel 7
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Looks like it worked! Or the IT support team fixed the issue, but I don’t know of any official confirmation of this. So, best set it to CET to avoid any unpleasant surprises :)

Userlevel 2
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Looks like it worked! Or the IT support team fixed the issue, but I don’t know of any official confirmation of this. So, best set it to CET to avoid any unpleasant surprises :)

Oh thank god for that. I was so worried that these tickets were messed up as I forgot to change it to CET before making the reservations. 
In two days time I should be able to book the Bruxelles Midi to Amsterdam on the same day of 7th May. :) 

Userlevel 7
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Looks like it worked! Or the IT support team fixed the issue, but I don’t know of any official confirmation of this.

Or the reservations were not booked via Eurail but elsewhere. The Eurail/Interrail websites are the only ones I know that have this problem...

Userlevel 7
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Oh thank god for that. I was so worried that these tickets were messed up as I forgot to change it to CET before making the reservations. 
In two days time I should be able to book the Bruxelles Midi to Amsterdam on the same day of 7th May. :) 

It is not worth the money to take the trains requiring reservations between Brussels and Amsterdam. There are hourly reservation free IC trains between Brussels and Amsterdam. 

Userlevel 2
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Looks like it worked! Or the IT support team fixed the issue, but I don’t know of any official confirmation of this.

Or the reservations were not booked via Eurail but elsewhere. The Eurail/Interrail websites are the only ones I know that have this problem...

I booked on SNCB International for the London to Brussels one and Bernina Express was on the official website. I was going to book Paris to Barcelona and Brussels to Amsterdam on Eurail.com, I guess I better set it to CET first before book any seat reservations.

Userlevel 2
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Oh thank god for that. I was so worried that these tickets were messed up as I forgot to change it to CET before making the reservations. 
In two days time I should be able to book the Bruxelles Midi to Amsterdam on the same day of 7th May. :) 

It is not worth the money to take the trains requiring reservations between Brussels and Amsterdam. There are hourly reservation free IC trains between Brussels and Amsterdam. 

Thanks for the info @AnnaB :) Can I still book seat reservation for the IC trains to secure the seats just in case? If so, how do I book seat reservations for the trains with seat reservations not required? 

Userlevel 6
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The hourly intercity does not allow seat reservations - simply board with the active pass and chose an empty seat. When boarding in Amsterdam there generally should be seats available, particularly in 1st class. 

The Thalys seat reservations on this bit cost €20 per person (+ booking fee), and allows you to reach Brussels in about 1h50 instead of 2h50 with the IC. However, the Thalys reservations are not very flexible: you can change them once free of charge (if there are still passholder seats available) and if you want to cancel them they're only 75% refundable. With the Intercity, you can simply take any train you want.

Userlevel 2
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thanks so much for the info @Schelte I think I’d still try to reserve the seats as it’s a Sunday and also the day after the King’s coronation, so the trains could potentially be busier (my theory could be wrong 😬)

Userlevel 6
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thanks so much for the info @Schelte I think I’d still try to reserve the seats as it’s a Sunday and also the day after the King’s coronation, so the trains could potentially be busier (my theory could be wrong 😬)

Not our king that is being coronated, I doubt that will have much effect on traffic between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Kingdom of The Netherlands. The IC does get a bit busier on weekend days, particularly between Antwerp and Rotterdam, but since you're boarding at the first stop (Bruxelles-Midi) you should nonetheless find a spot easily. 

However, I can also recommend the Thalys; it's one hour faster, stops a bit less often (thus also leaving less chance for baggage thieves, unfortunately quite common on the IC) and has a reserved seats for you. Whether that's worth €20 per person is a personal decision (hopefully assisted by our comments).

I travel fairly regular on both, so I have these doubts myself quite regularly (tbf then I'm not travelling with a pass, so the prices are slightly different too). 

 

Userlevel 2
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Sorry I didn’t mean to offend anyone by the King of UK’s coronation, I just thought it’d be a massive event and maybe some people would like to travel to London and see it. (Just my thoughts 😬) 

Yes I am super worried about the baggage thieves that’s the main reason that we bought the 1st pass instead of the 2nd class to minimise the chance of our belongings/luggage getting stolen. :) 

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