Booking reservations with a Eurail Global Pass. What is the difference between a Eurail Global Pass & a Swiss Pass? Want to book Bernina Express & the Glacier Express.

We have a global family class, what does it mean 1st/2nd class when making a reservation for both high speed and night trains? The reservation fees are different. Is the reservation fee for one way travel?

is there 1st/2nd class for the regional trains which do not require a reservation?

1st/2nd class for Bernia Express and Glacier Express, does it depend on which pass we are holding?

What is the different between a Global Pass and a Swiss Pass?
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  • Hi Cam,

    If you are purchasing a Eurail Pass, these are first class passes only for adults and children. Youth passes, those under 26, would be second class only.

    For the reservations, if you have a first class pass you would want to book your reservations in first class to match your pass. However, if there is only second class available, you can sit in second class but you would not get refunded for the difference in fare.

    The night trains vary in cost depending on the type of sleeping accommodations you wish to purchase. Reservations can also vary depending on the train company.

    For the Bernina Express and Glacier Express, you can book either class of service for the reservations. Please note that if you have a Eurail Pass, then part of the Glacier Express route will not be covered by that pass.

    A Global pass is valid for 24 different countries. The Swiss Pass is valid for Switzerland only.

    Thank you,
    Jen
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  • Dear Jen,

    Thank you very much for your reply and explaination to my questions. However, I am just wondering if the regional trains also have 1st class and 2nd class when using the global pass.
    regards,
    Cam
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) April 15, 2014 14:36
    Hi Cam,

    Within Switzerland. most regional trains will carry both 1st and 2nd class seating. Just like the vast majority of trains in Switzerland, regional trains don't accept reservations, so a rail pass would be all that is needed to board, be it in 1st class or 2nd class. In Switzerland, there wouldn't be very many trains that would only offer 2nd class seating, and these would typically be certain mountain railways.

    The Eurail Global Pass covers travel to 24 different European countries (including Switzerland), while the Swiss Pass is just for travel in Switzerland.

    For information on the Eurail Global Pass, you would click here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/eurail-global-pass/index.html.

    For information on the Swiss Pass, you would click here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/swiss-pass/index.html.

    In most cases, the multi-country Eurail passes would cover all the same that a single country pass would for a particular country. However, the Swiss Pass is different from other single country passes. It is unique in that it covers the entire Swiss Travel Network, including buses and boats. Therefore, it doesn't just cover the trains, as other passes do. The Swiss Pass also allows for entry to over 400 museums and discounts on various hotels and guided tours. A Eurail Select Pass that includes Switzerland or a Eurail Global Pass would not offer these bonuses.

    Also, even though a Eurail Global Pass includes Switzerland, it does not cover the portion of the Glacier Express route between Disentis and Zermatt. If you intend on taking the Glacier Express and will be traveling with a Eurail Global Pass, you would also still have to purchase the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare' ticket in addition to the pass, so that the ticket costs for the portion of the route between Disentis and Zermatt can be covered. You can purchase this ticket by clicking here: http://www.raileurope.com/activities/glacier-express-eurail-passholder-fare/index.html.

    In contrast, the Swiss Pass would cover ticket costs for the full route of the Glacier Express between St. Moritz and Zermatt, including the portion between Disentis and Zermatt.

    The Glacier Express also require reservations. You can purchase reservations for the full route of the Glacier Express between St. Moritz and Zermatt by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' from the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) December 28, 2016 20:47
      Update:

      Starting in 2017, the Eurail Global Pass will begin covering ticket costs for the stretch of railway on the Glacier Express line between Disentis and Zermatt. Therefore, the 'Glacier Express Eurail Passholder Fare' ticket would no longer be necessary to cover this segment.

      Seat reservations would still be necessary for the actual Glacier Express train itself from St Moritz to Zermatt (to go along with a rail pass).
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  • Hi Jeff,

    Thanks again for your reply and explanation regarding the differences between the two passes.

    May I also ask about seat reservation? I know that there are three different websites which allow seat reservations. The website in Italy allows reservation with an e-ticket which I think is the best and most convenient way; however, I have trouble finding the link to reserve seats. Also, I understand that it is possible to reserve the seats at the Milan central station which is where we are taking our first train. May I know if it is cheaper to reserve seats at the station than through online reservation?

    My other question is about seat reservation. Is the reservation fee for one way or two ways travel? When I search the trip from Milan to Florence with or without return dates, the fees are the same. We are traveling from Milan to Florence on the 28th of May and are returning back to Milan on the 31st of May, does it mean I just have to reserve the seats once with the return date? And if we travel just one way, then do I just ignore the return date?

    Thanks again for your help.

    Regards,
    Cam
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 21, 2014 16:00
      Hi Cam,

      I'm sorry, however, I would not have any information about websites other than www.raileurope.com or www.raileurope.ca. You would book reservations by going to either of these websites and clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' from the homepage.

      The vast majority of trains in Switzerland do not even accept reservations. Even if reservations happen to be accepted on a particular train in Switzerland, they are not at all necessary, and a rail pass is all that would be needed to board.

      In Switzerland, the only trains that will require reservations are the trains designated as specialty scenic trains, including the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express.

      In Italy, trains between Milan and Florence (Frecciarossa trains and InterCity trains) do require reservations in addition to a rail pass.

      If you do a round-trip, you would have to book reservations for both segments of the round-trip, the outbound and the return. To do so, I would recommend doing separate one-way searches for each segment of the round-trip (as opposed to one round-trip search) when you go to purchase reservations on our site under 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations'.

      If you happen to do a round-trip search instead of separate one-way searches, you wouldn't be shown the options for the return until you choose an option for the outbound when the results of your search appears. Once you select a train and fare for your outbound, you would then be shown the options for the return, and you would be able to proceed from there.

      Reservations are able to be purchased locally at the train stations, however, it is recommended that any reservations be purchased in advance, prior to departing for Europe. Scenic trains, for example, can sell out quickly, so I would recommend booking reservations for these trains as soon as possible. These trains can be booked once within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

      As we are a separate vendor from the actual rail networks, we have our own rates and are not able to account for what the cost of a ticket or reservation would be if purchased locally in Europe. Reservation costs can vary and are subject to market pricing. In some cases, they may be higher; but in other cases, they may be lower. At any moment, a particular train operator in Europe can change their rates for their own purposes.
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  • Hi Jeff,

    Thanks once again for your detailed reply and explanations. I really appreciate it.

    We are still in the process of planning and trying to figure out a plan that will suit us best. As this is our first travel to Europe so there is a lot of confusion and unknown. However, with your answers we are starting to feel more at ease and have some ideas on planning our trip.

    Thank you very much for your help.

    Regards,
    Cam
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  • Hi Jeff,

    I am just wondering if the 1 month global pass cover the journey from Milan to Tirano. Also, I start to worry about our pass as it only has our Family name and the initial of first name, will it cause any problem?

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Cam
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  • Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. I am relieved to know that our pass is okay. May I know if we need to fill in our journey in the pass voucher before boarding the train or it is only required for flexi pass? If we have to fill in our point to point stop, why? As ours is one month global pass so we can take any train any time and anywhere.

    Thank you and have a great day ahead!
    Cam
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  • Hi Jeff,
    Thanks again for your reply. Do you mean only flexi pass needs to write in that day's date while global pass does not need to?

    I am so sorry for troubling you again!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Cam
    • Jeff (Official Rep) May 09, 2014 14:51
      A Eurail Global Pass and a 'flexipass' are not mutually exclusive. A Eurail Global Pass can be flexipass.

      Rail passes may be offered in two formats: flexi and consecutive.
      Most rail passes are only offered in flexi form, but the Eurail Global Pass offers both options. A flexipass allows for a set number of travel days, which must be completed within a time frame of 1 or 2 months.

      'Travel days' on a flexipass refer to how many separate days you plan on using your rail pass. A rail day is a 24-hour period from midnight to midnight. You may take as many trains as you wish during the 24 hour time frame and still only use one day of travel on a pass. For instance, if you were take a day train from 'city A' to 'city B' and then take a connecting train to 'city C' on the same day, then you would only use up one day of travel on your rail pass. In contrast, if you were to take that connecting train to 'city C' on the next day, then you would use up 2 days of rail travel on your pass.

      In contrast, the consecutive day passes allow for unlimited train travel within a set time frame. For instance, if you were to purchase the 15 day consecutive pass, then you would be entitled to unlimited travel within that time frame of 15 days.

      You would only need to write in the dates with the 'flexipass' option of a Eurail Global Pass, as it would serve no point to do so with a consecutive day pass.
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  • Hi Jeff,

    THanks again for your reply. As our pass is a month consecutive global pass so I understand now that we are not required to write in the travel dates details which does save a lot of troubles.

    I have been trying to reserve the Glacier Express and buy the routes from Disentis to Zermatt which the pass does not cover. I have tried to reserve the whole route from St Moritz to Zermatt but failed from raileurope.com( book your compulsory reservation when using your eurail pass). It only allowed me to reserve the route between Disentis and Zermatt. I also failed in reserving the route between St Moritz and Disentis.

    My questions are:
    1. How can I reserve for the whole Glacier Express route from St Moritz to Zermatt and buy the tickets for the route between Disentis and Zermatt at the same time?
    2. If I reserve now, how long will it for the tickets to be delivered to me? Is it possible to collect them from the station as I am afraid the tickets may not reach us before we leave for Europe?

    Thank you.
    Regards,
    Cam
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    • Hi Jeff. We availed of the Global Pass and my question is, we do not have time for reservations since we have a very limited time during the travel. Does all trains that require reservation strictly require reservation? I mean? Is it impossible for us to hop in a train that requires a reservation if we do not have a reservation or we can still ride the train without it. Thank you so much.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) January 15, 2015 15:24
      Hello.

      Many trains do require reservations, yes. Trains that require reservations would not allow you to board unless you have purchased the reservations. Reservations are required on most high-speed trains, many international routes, and all overnight trains. Generally, high-speed trains connect most larger cities and more popular destinations in Western Europe, so it is likely that reservations would be required for many trips there.

      For travel with a rail pass, you would purchase reservations by clicking on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, entering the route, and indicating the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with when you're prompted (i.e. the Eurail Global Pass).

      Many trains that require reservations can sell out quickly, so it would be recommended to purchase reservations on such trains as soon as possible. Most reservable trains in Europe can be booked once within 90 days of an intended date of departure (or, in some cases, 60 days of an intended date of departure).
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