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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 7
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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. 

Same counts for the IC when leaving from Bruxelles Midi, you should find plenty of places comfortably.

If there would be an effect of the Coronation, you'll find that on Eurostar and domestic UK trains. Not the rest of Europe. But you reserved Eurostar already so don't worry. 

I'lld still recommend the IC over Thalys. If you feel like it, you can have a nice short visit in places like Mechelen (unknown, but quite quaint) or Antwerp to stretch your legs to fully enjoy the Interrail /Eurail flexibility.

Unfortunately, thieves and beggars also greedily operate in first class too. It's not that that is closed of from the rest of the train. You should be a bit weary of people walking hastily across the train between Brussels-Midi - Central - North.

But one should not over exaggerate the risk of theft too. In bigger cities, wether it'll be in London, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin or Brussels, there's always a risk for pickpockets wherever you go alas. 

For comfort, I lived a long time in Brussels, and I still travel there very often. Never got stolen something once in 15 years :) If you just keep your valuables close to you, check it, keep a good eye on them and ignore the people handing out leaflets on the train or treat them with a healthy suspicion, nothing will happen. Railway staff keeps an eye on it too. 

Userlevel 2
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I also thought the 1st class carriages would have bigger rooms between seats that can leave the luggage right next to you instead of putting on the luggage rack at each end of the carriage. We are so chilled here down-under. I’ve never been pickpocketed once and we just leave our bags on the beach and go for a swim, come back two hours later the are still at the same spot, which make me have less awareness of theft, yeah we’ll definitely have to keep our eyes on our belongings and have awareness. It would be a nightmare if the iphone/iPad with all the train information on gets stolen. 😱

Userlevel 2
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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.

 

Hi @Schelte I have just booked seat reservations for Bruxelles Midi to Amsterdam on 7 May 13:22 for the Thalys train. On the tickets it shows carriage 032, however I couldn’t find carriage 032 on the seat map of Thalys train. Do you know if there is an actual coach number 032 or if the 032 stands for another carriage? I tried to change seats by putting in reference number and email address in on Thalys website but I didn't see the options of change seats :( Do you know if there's a way to change seat? Thank you in advance :)

 

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.)

Hi @BrendanDB I just tried to book Paris - Barcelona on 21 April, the seat reservation is now open I could book the 1st class for 2 people, the cost is 74EUR. The Eurail.com didn't seem to have an option of seat selection, do you know if any other sites offer seat selection/seat preference? TIA :)

 

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Hi @Schelte I have just booked seat reservations for Bruxelles Midi to Amsterdam on 7 May 13:22 for the Thalys train. On the tickets it shows carriage 032, however I couldn’t find carriage 032 on the seat map of Thalys train. Do you know if there is an actual coach number 032 or if the 032 stands for another carriage? I tried to change seats by putting in reference number and email address in on Thalys website but I didn't see the options of change seats 😞 Do you know if there's a way to change seat? Thank you in advance :)

Carriage 32 is in terms of layout the same as carriage 12 (and 22), but is used as number to allow multiple units run coupled together - otherwise you'd have two carriages with the same number (in this case I think it doesn't happen, but that train originates in Marne-la-Vallée instead of in Paris Nord so they do it by default). As far as I know, it is not possible to change the seat selection on Thalys, once they have been assigned.

Userlevel 6
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Hi @BrendanDB I just tried to book Paris - Barcelona on 21 April, the seat reservation is now open I could book the 1st class for 2 people, the cost is 74EUR. The Eurail.com didn't seem to have an option of seat selection, do you know if any other sites offer seat selection/seat preference? TIA :)

When booking through SNCF on the phone you are probably able to indicate a certain preference, but only limited (top/lower floor I think), but I asked last time and they don't get a seat map to chose from either. Since calling them to book this is probably quite expensive and a mess (international calls are expensive and they regularly have difficulties with credit cards being refused) and I think most seats are okay, I wouldn't worry too much. The view is also pretty decent from the lower floor and if you have a lot of baggage that might actually be nicer, but there are also racks on the top floor and it's a pretty long journey with sufficient time to board & alight at the termini in Paris & Barcelona. Bays of 4 might be the worst, but they should not be assigned unless you book for 3 or more (or unless there is no other availability) - at least when booking through SNCF. 

Note these reservations are refundable, except the €2 per ticket fee charged by Eurail.

Userlevel 7
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Indeed, no online reservation alternative for this connection.

I agree with @Schelte , and I’lld like to add that usually the lower floor is a bit quieter and more tranquil. There’s a bit less seats down. And the connections between the different cars (and also bar) is on the upper floor, so down you don’t get a lot of passage other than the passengers sitting there.

Userlevel 2
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Hi @Schelte I have just booked seat reservations for Bruxelles Midi to Amsterdam on 7 May 13:22 for the Thalys train. On the tickets it shows carriage 032, however I couldn’t find carriage 032 on the seat map of Thalys train. Do you know if there is an actual coach number 032 or if the 032 stands for another carriage? I tried to change seats by putting in reference number and email address in on Thalys website but I didn't see the options of change seats 😞 Do you know if there's a way to change seat? Thank you in advance :)

Carriage 32 is in terms of layout the same as carriage 12 (and 22), but is used as number to allow multiple units run coupled together - otherwise you'd have two carriages with the same number (in this case I think it doesn't happen, but that train originates in Marne-la-Vallée instead of in Paris Nord so they do it by default). As far as I know, it is not possible to change the seat selection on Thalys, once they have been assigned.

Is it also same as Coach 2? On the layout page from Thalys website, it only shows coach 1 to coach 8. If so I think seat 21 and 24 is the duo face to face with a table :)

Do all the TGV trains not support seat selection when booking seat reservations?

 

Userlevel 7
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Thalys uses different (single deck) train sets than the Paris-Barcelona.

Check here https://www.seat61.com/european-train-seating-plans.htm#France for France, TGV Duplex, Euroduplex 3rd generation I think.

It’s been a while since a booked a TGV seat with interrail for France. But I think that via 3rd party websites (like b-europe, or Eurail/Interrail), the seats are just randomly selected. But usually groups seats together.

But I wouldn’t worry much about your seats. First class is always relatively spacious, good location at the windows. And in the unlikely chance that you would accidentally be seated seperately, you can always ask fellow passengers to switch seats explaining the situation a bit. Happens quite often.

Userlevel 2
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Indeed, no online reservation alternative for this connection.

I agree with @Schelte , and I’lld like to add that usually the lower floor is a bit quieter and more tranquil. There’s a bit less seats down. And the connections between the different cars (and also bar) is on the upper floor, so down you don’t get a lot of passage other than the passengers sitting there.

Thanks for the tips @BrendanDB and @Schelte :)

Is ringing SNCF the only way to be able to select a seat/seat preference?

If I book the seat reservation through Eurail.com, does that mean I would get random allocated seats from the booking without ringing them?

I also tried to figure out the quickest/safest way to get to Nice from Amsterdam, these two trains seem to have longer time to allow transfer between Paris Nord to Paris Gare De Lyon which is 1h10m, would it be safe to book this train or would it be too risky?

Flight from Amsterdam to Nice on that day would cost 168EUR per person which is a lot more expensive than taking the train. :(

 

Userlevel 2
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Thalys uses different (single deck) train sets than the Paris-Barcelona.

Check here https://www.seat61.com/european-train-seating-plans.htm#France for France, TGV Duplex, Euroduplex 3rd generation I think.

It’s been a while since a booked a TGV seat with interrail for France. But I think that via 3rd party websites (like b-europe, or Eurail/Interrail), the seats are just randomly selected. But usually groups seats together.

But I wouldn’t worry much about your seats. First class is always relatively spacious, good location at the windows. And in the unlikely chance that you would accidentally be seated seperately, you can always ask fellow passengers to switch seats explaining the situation a bit. Happens quite often.

Do Thalys allow pass holders to book? I read a lot of articles on Seat 61, the recommended booking sites raileurope.com, thetrainline etc. are they all for non-pass holders? I couldnt find any options of add Eurail pass details.

If the TGV train seats can't be selected then the seat map is kind of useless, isn't it? unless booking via phone?

Userlevel 7
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I generally try to avoid switching trains in Paris. An hour is a bit tight, not much buffer in case of delay. And taking the metro/RER in Paris with luggage can be a nuisance.

There’s also 7 connections a day from Brussels to Lyon, often extended to Marseille. Switching in Lyon or Marseille is more convenient as it happens in the same station.

This looks like a good option for you (avoiding seat reservations on Thalys too)

 

Userlevel 7
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Do Thalys allow pass holders to book? I read a lot of articles on Seat 61, the recommended booking sites raileurope.com, thetrainline etc. are they all for non-pass holders? I couldnt find any options of add Eurail pass details.

If the TGV train seats can't be selected then the seat map is kind of useless, isn't it? unless booking via phone?

Yes, Thalys is bookable for pass holders via the B-Europe website. Not via the websites you mentioned. The places are very limited on thalys though, for pass holders. The seat reservation fee is also a lot. In most cases a normal Thalys ticket makes more sense, than a seat reservation + cost of a travel day. For Brussels-Amsterdam there’s always a good alternative with the Intercity service, without reservations.

Userlevel 6
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Indeed, no online reservation alternative for this connection.

I agree with @Schelte , and I’lld like to add that usually the lower floor is a bit quieter and more tranquil. There’s a bit less seats down. And the connections between the different cars (and also bar) is on the upper floor, so down you don’t get a lot of passage other than the passengers sitting there.

Thanks for the tips @BrendanDB and @Schelte :)

Is ringing SNCF the only way to be able to select a seat/seat preference?

If I book the seat reservation through Eurail.com, does that mean I would get random allocated seats from the booking without ringing them?

As I mentioned, they can't really chose either. I would simply book them through Eurail to avoid the hassle - there aren't really bad seats on that train, for instance as far as I know all have windows.

I also tried to figure out the quickest/safest way to get to Nice from Amsterdam, these two trains seem to have longer time to allow transfer between Paris Nord to Paris Gare De Lyon which is 1h10m, would it be safe to book this train or would it be too risky?

Flight from Amsterdam to Nice on that day would cost 168EUR per person which is a lot more expensive than taking the train. :(

 

That transfer is doable, with RER D running fairly frequently and taking just 10 minutes from station to station (add some time to get to the RER platforms & waiting time though, so it still is tight). You can also take an earlier journey to Paris to be sure, as there can always be some disruption (including on the RER).

The RER (Paris express suburban rail) is not covered by Interrail, but tickets can be bought in the Thalys bar (go as soon as you're leaving Amsterdam, they only have a limited number), on the app or if you're passing through Paris earlier.

Don't book the Thalys & TGV through Eurail, but separately through the two different b-europe pages (or on the phone with SNCF, if you call them for the Barcelona one).

Userlevel 2
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I generally try to avoid switching trains in Paris. An hour is a bit tight, not much buffer in case of delay. And taking the metro/RER in Paris with luggage can be a nuisance.

There’s also 7 connections a day from Brussels to Lyon, often extended to Marseille. Switching in Lyon or Marseille is more convenient as it happens in the same station.

This looks like a good option for you (avoiding seat reservations on Thalys too)

 

Thank you :)

I had a look at Brussels-Lyon-Marseille options, the train will still arrive in Marseille late of the day (after 5pm), we still prefer to go to Nice directly otherwise we wouldn't have plenty of time in either Marseille or Nice. 

Userlevel 2
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Indeed, no online reservation alternative for this connection.

I agree with @Schelte , and I’lld like to add that usually the lower floor is a bit quieter and more tranquil. There’s a bit less seats down. And the connections between the different cars (and also bar) is on the upper floor, so down you don’t get a lot of passage other than the passengers sitting there.

Thanks for the tips @BrendanDB and @Schelte :)

Is ringing SNCF the only way to be able to select a seat/seat preference?

If I book the seat reservation through Eurail.com, does that mean I would get random allocated seats from the booking without ringing them?

As I mentioned, they can't really chose either. I would simply book them through Eurail to avoid the hassle - there aren't really bad seats on that train, for instance as far as I know all have windows.

I also tried to figure out the quickest/safest way to get to Nice from Amsterdam, these two trains seem to have longer time to allow transfer between Paris Nord to Paris Gare De Lyon which is 1h10m, would it be safe to book this train or would it be too risky?

Flight from Amsterdam to Nice on that day would cost 168EUR per person which is a lot more expensive than taking the train. :(

 

That transfer is doable, with RER D running fairly frequently and taking just 10 minutes from station to station (add some time to get to the RER platforms & waiting time though, so it still is tight). You can also take an earlier journey to Paris to be sure, as there can always be some disruption (including on the RER).

The RER (Paris express suburban rail) is not covered by Interrail, but tickets can be bought in the Thalys bar (go as soon as you're leaving Amsterdam, they only have a limited number), on the app or if you're passing through Paris earlier.

Don't book the Thalys & TGV through Eurail, but separately through the two different b-europe pages (or on the phone with SNCF, if you call them for the Barcelona one).

I just realised there is an earlier Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris when I looked up on b-europe.com. Somehow when I looked up trains from Amsterdam to Nice with transfer in Paris on Eurail.com it shows the 9:11am train was the earliest one.

The second segment from Paris Gare De Lyon isn't available on b-europe as there seems to be only Paris Nord on the website. Can I book the Paris Gare De Lyon to Nice Ville one on Eurail.com?

I think the booking on Eurail.com will be open around 13 Feb for the 13 May train.

If we take the 13:54 train in Paris Gare De Lyon, that would give us over 2 hours to transfer from Paris Nord. it seems like a less risky option despite it’s going to be a whole day sitting on the train. 😬

 

 

Userlevel 7
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There are two b-europe website; one for Thalys/Eurostar/TGV Belgium-France (which you already used) and a travel.b-europe website; for reservations for domestic French TGV services. The second leg (Paris-Nice) should be done via the latter in this link: https://travel.b-europe.com/Eurail-GE/en/booking-tgv#TravelWish. There’s a book fee of 4 EUR per order (so booking more trains in one go, saves you some money), in contrast to the €2 booking fee of Eurail per train and per ticket.

You’ll need the pass cover generator as well:

 

Userlevel 2
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Thanks so much for telling me the travel-b-europe website, I didn't even know this website existed at all. 😬

I will book the second leg (Paris - Nice) on this website later on 🙂 Just tested with an early date and it didn't seem to allow seat selections either :(

I have already generated the pass cover number with a link @AnnaB shared last week 😊

Userlevel 7
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Thanks so much for telling me the travel-b-europe website, I didn't even know this website existed at all. 😬

I will book the second leg (Paris - Nice) on this website later on 🙂 Just tested with an early date and it didn't seem to allow seat selections either :(

I have already generated the pass cover number with a link @AnnaB shared last week 😊

 It will be available from wednesday 25/01 normally, then SNCF opens up bookings until 31/05.

Userlevel 2
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Thanks so much for telling me the travel-b-europe website, I didn't even know this website existed at all. 😬

I will book the second leg (Paris - Nice) on this website later on 🙂 Just tested with an early date and it didn't seem to allow seat selections either :(

I have already generated the pass cover number with a link @AnnaB shared last week 😊

 It will be available from wednesday 25/01 normally, then SNCF opens up bookings until 31/05.

Thank you @BrendanDB :) I’ll try on Wednesday and I’ll make sure to set my laptop to CET time :)

Userlevel 2
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There are two b-europe website; one for Thalys/Eurostar/TGV Belgium-France (which you already used) and a travel.b-europe website; for reservations for domestic French TGV services. The second leg (Paris-Nice) should be done via the latter in this link: https://travel.b-europe.com/Eurail-GE/en/booking-tgv#TravelWish. There’s a book fee of 4 EUR per order (so booking more trains in one go, saves you some money), in contrast to the €2 booking fee of Eurail per train and per ticket.

You’ll need the pass cover generator as well:

 

Hi @BrendanDB , sorry for bothering you again.

Just now I tried to book seat reservation for Paris Gare de Lyon to Nice Ville on the link you sent me, in the seat preference options, if I want duo face-to face with a table, which option should I pick to get those seat with highest chance? I am worried if select “seats facing each other” then we would be allocated with two aisle seats of a club four 😥; would “seats around a table” be two seats face-to-face around a table or it would be possibly two seats in a club four around a table? I am so confused...😖

 

Userlevel 7
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I don't really know. Could be both. I think seats facing each other is the safest bet. Last time I selected "around a table" it was a club of four. 

Userlevel 2
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I don't really know. Could be both. I think seats facing each other is the safest bet. Last time I selected "around a table" it was a club of four. 

oh I see, I’ll select “seats facing each other” then 😬 somehow I thought you knew everything about European trains haha 

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.

Hello @Schelte , it’s me again 😬

I finally finalised the dates and time of the trip in Spain and emailed Andy the agent today. He said he couldn't make the booking for me as I won't be in either UK or Germany before Spain and he only issues paper tickets. I was wondering if you know any other agents that are based in Barcelona, maybe we can pick up the tickets from their office or maybe they can post to our accommodation in Barcelona. (We will be staying in Barcelona from 21-25 April, then take the train to Madrid on 25 April. After that we are going  to Seville on 27 April, so therefore we need to book these two trains. It will be only 4 days before the train to Madrid, and 6 days before Seville when we arrive to Barcelona. We really don't want to not be able to have tickets available when we get to Barcelona and try to book in the train station. it would be a disaster as the rest of the trip have already been booked.😶

Userlevel 7
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I wouldn’t worry about these reservations too much. Between Barcelona and Madrid are a lot of trains each day, so if you book on arrival in Barcelona, you should be still able to get some reservations…
Also for Madrid-Sevilla… especially as you travel on a Monday and Thursday… this are not the most busy days of the week.

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