Sneaky change to Thalys 1st Class reservations

  • 16 October 2022
  • 10 replies
  • 133 views

Userlevel 5
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  • Railly clever
  • 164 replies

The following is a reply to @Angelo‘s post at the bottom of the 

thread, which it took a great deal of mental strength for me to copy/paste elsewhere and thus preserve the sanctity and cleanliness of that most vital resource 😅

I suspect a fair few people would already have known about this development, but it needs to be heard loudly enough that as few 1st class passholders as possible find themselves disappointed; particularly given that this information hasn’t been updated on all parts of the Interrail website (https://www.interrail.eu/en/plan-your-trip/reservations/reservation-fees/international-train-reservation-fees).

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Definitely not topical (*sorry!*), but I have to say for the sake of consumer advice, that I’m glad now this booking fell through, because I then tried to book via Thalys’ own call centre. I found out that they have now stealthily removed the quota system that allowed a certain number of 1st class passholders into the excellent Premium class (with Paris & Brussels lounge access, meals, posh cakes and wine). It must have been quite a recent development, because even the booking agent didn’t know this had happened.

Up until this point, an advance-booked 1st class Thalys Interrail reservation was pretty much unique among the cross-border TGV family offerings in actually being very much worth the pricetag as a proper luxury experience, including when compared to the full-fare rate. Now all that is left - however early you book - is the standard TGV experience, just going a bit further north in burgundy velour, for a 200% price increase. Sadly Thalys now isn’t good value for passholders in either class :-/

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So, unless you’re really in a tremendous rush and/or are wealthy enough not to care, change at Lille when you’re travelling between France and the Low Countries :-)


10 replies

Userlevel 7
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Ok thanks for the information. I will change it from my overview.

Question, is it possible to book reservations for Thalys via Thalys call center?

Userlevel 5
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Ok thanks for the information. I will change it from my overview.

Question, is it possible to book reservations for Thalys via Thalys call center?

Yes it is, but they add a €9 surcharge.

(According to their website, they waive this surcharge for fares that are impossible to book online, but I’m not sure when/where this would ever apply - clearly Interrail and B-Europe passholder reservations are online enough not to qualify, even though Thalys don’t allow passholders to book on their own website.)

Even so, I had been going to go ahead with this €9 fee anyway, because I thought it would probably be worth the €7 over reserving with Interrail to know at the point of booking whether or not I had made the Premium quota.

That’s how the subject came up. The call-handler confirmed for me that on his booking screen he could only see Comfort class being offered for 1st class passholders, for every train on every day no matter how far ahead he looked.

Userlevel 7
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omg is this stupid to ask 9-euro fee to book it

Userlevel 7
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I have an update for SNCF reservations via Call Center, asked in the how to reserve tread, but I will continue here. 

@rvdborgt @EdM 

On Twitter the User @scheltehe has found out, that only the SNCF Call Center in Douai can sell Interrail reservations, but the other one in Nancy and Poitiers not.

But you can’t ask to speak with the one or the other. So, you need luck where the call center is to get a reservation. 

Userlevel 7
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On Twitter the User @scheltehe has found out, that only the SNCF Call Center in Douai can sell Interrail reservations, but the other one in Nancy and Poitiers not.

But you can’t ask to speak with the one or the other. So, you need luck where the call center is to get a reservation.

OMG… thanks for the info.

Did you mean to post a link to the twitter thread? Since I'm not sure what this Google Drive link is...

Userlevel 5
Badge +4

only the SNCF Call Center in Douai can sell Interrail reservations, but the other one in Nancy and Poitiers not.

But you can’t ask to speak with the one or the other. So, you need luck where the call center is to get a reservation. 

A very useful bit of information!

I assume based on my three calls all getting through to somewhere Interrail reservations were possible, that Douai hosts all of the English-speaking agents? If so, it’s probably only a lottery for French-speakers.

Userlevel 7
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A very useful bit of information!

I assume based on my three calls all getting through to somewhere Interrail reservations were possible, that Douai hosts all of the English-speaking agents? If so, it’s probably only a lottery for French-speakers.

We have seen a few complaints in this community from English speakers to whom SNCF refused to sell Interrail reservations. Sometimes repeatedly. So I'm not sure how it works.

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Sorry guys for the wrong link, he found out that Longueau can also book Interrail reservations but only in France. 

Here the Twitter tread: 

 

 

He called SNCF in french, so I would call in English. 

Userlevel 7
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I’d like to say I’m shocked but I’m not even surprised, this is just about exactly the level of needless stupidity and obstruction  that I expect from SNCF and French bureaucracy in general.

Userlevel 7
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I’d like to say I’m shocked but I’m not even surprised, this is just about exactly the level of needless stupidity and obstruction  that I expect from SNCF and French bureaucracy in general.

Unfortunately I have to agree.

I think we should add to the posts mentioning the SNCF telephone number that, when they say they can't book a reservation, to ask "Are you in the Douai or Longueau call centre?” and if the answer is “no” to hang up and try again.

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