I’m frustrated

Problems booking on TGV

I have been trying to book through Rail Europe and I am so frustrated! First they tell me I can't book on the TGV on the second leg of my trip unless I pay $84 (after I've already agreed to pay a $36 reservation fee for the Brussels -CDG leg of the trip). Then after I give up and agree to the $84 charge they tell me I can't reserve because my trip is less than 3 days away! Since when is 21 minus 16 three? I count 5 days.

We thought we were doing the right thing getting a Eurail pass, despite how EXPENSIVE they were. But now we're wondering if it was a mistake. We never got the impression we'd be denied access to any trains in Europe. I think we were misled.

So what am I supposed to do now?
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  • Hi Beth,

    We are sorry for your frustration.

    A rail pass covers the ticket costs on trains between different cities in the country or countries included on the pass. When applicable, reservations are a supplementary cost to a rail pass (considering that any costs for needed reservations would be factored into the cost of individual point-to-point tickets, a rail pass still often works out to be the most economical option for travelers taking multiple trains while in Europe that cover more substantial distances.)

    With that said, reservable trains, especially in France, can sell out quickly, so it is recommended that reservations be purchased as soon as possible. If your trip is less than 3 (or 5) days from now, it is likely that the Passholder fares would already be sold out, in which case you would be quoted regular ticket prices. Since your travel is so soon, I would recommend calling us at 1-800-622-8600 to verify availability and consider your options.
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  • Hi Jeff,

    Actually, I am an agent with AAA and this is a response that I received from one of our members who is living overseas temporarily and apparently she has a rail pass. She tells me that she has no access to a phone and now she says that she is unable to receive this new reservation electronically and it has to be mailed to her...I'm just not that familiar with the whole process...sorry. Below is her latest response:

    OK. Now the problem is that they will not allow me to get e-tickets, either at the station or at home via my computer! The only way I can get my tickets is to have them shipped to me. This is risky...I live in an apartment building. I am only here temporarily, so I don't really have a mailing address. And it specifies that someone must sign for the delivery...so if I am not here 24/7 to collect the ticket I'm in trouble!

    This is so screwy. I love Europe, but I miss American efficiency. I'd have my e-ticket in the blink of an eye via my computer back home! The trains are great, but the bureaucracy is the pits. When we took our first train trip with the Eurail pass we went to the ticket window in Maastricht (a large city with an impressive train station) and the ticket master said, "I don't know how to do this." So we just got on the train and hoped that the conductor would know what to do. It was OK, we were able to use the pass.

    I think my only option is to start early in the morning and work my way from train station to train station, standing in line at the ticket counters to see if I can get on the trains. What a pain!!!

    Do you have any further advise that I can share with her?
    • Hi Beth,

      E-ticketing is not able to be offered as an option for all trains.

      Especially with regard to trains in France and the high-speed trains between France and the Benelux region, we strongly recommend purchasing reservations prior to departing for Europe. If your client is already in Europe and never purchased her reservations, she would purchase her reservations there locally. In Europe, reservations can be purchased at any station.

      If your client was to place an order with us from Europe, delivery to an address there would only be able to be arranged by calling us. We can be reached at 1-800-622-8600 or 1-847-916-1028. We are the United States-based seller of European tickets and passes for North American countries, and most of our tickets and passes are physical documents that would have to be shipped.

      Currently, only tickets for trains in certain parts of Europe are able to be issued as e-tickets and/or print-at-home tickets (domestic trains operating within France, some international trains between France and neighboring countries, the United Kingdom, Spain, and certain major routes within Italy).
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