Eurail pass ... Extra charges?

Aug 22nd, 2007, 12:42 PM
  #1  
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Eurail pass ... Extra charges?

I've noticed when I'm looking up schedules for train times and prices, even when I click that I have a rail pass there is still a charge. Once you have bought your ticket are there still more charges?
llorac is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 12:48 PM
  #2  
 
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Some trains require a supplement...I found this out today. The high speed ICE charges a supplement from Germany to France. I've never paid this in the past. I was told it is new.

Anytime you ask for a reservation, you will be charged for that. Some trains require reservations. No option.
scatcat is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 12:49 PM
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If seat reservations are required you must pay - usually about $4 but in Italy about $22 to ride Eurostar Italia trains

night trains railpass pays for train fare but not sleeping accommodations

Thalys trains Amsterdam-Paris charge pass holders sizeable supplements - about $35-40 in first class but you get a decent meal for that.

To get a good understanding of the European rail system and more about train reservations and supplements with a pass i always refer novice rail travelers to three good sources: www.ricksteves.com - site has lots of useful tips; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and on home page request the excellent free European Planning & Rail Guide that will answer questions like this - a great primer on European trains; and best of all, Fodorites who collectively have an amazing knowledge of european trains and railpasses and alternatives to railpasses, which can be great deals but not for everyone.

You may want to reserve specific trains when you buy your pass - however some agents won't do this because of the labor-intensive nature and no profit in reservations so ask when you buy your pass. Reservations for TGV in France i highly encourage you to make ahead of time as these can be very hard to make locally with a pass and there is a limit on the number of passholders allowed on many trains.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 12:54 PM
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I bypassed the rail pass on this trip and have definitely saved money. It seems like maybe they work best if you're taking a LOT of trains and going 2nd class?
slangevar is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 01:09 PM
  #5  
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I'm going Ancona to Florence Florence to Cinque Terre Cinque Terre to Paris which is sold out for pass holders on my date if i want to go at over night and then Paris to Amsterdam. Maybe it's better to pay as I go?
llorac is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 02:05 PM
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PalenqueBob:
Thalys trains Amsterdam-Paris charge pass holders sizeable supplements - about $35-40 in first class but you get a decent meal for that.

If you could be so kind to let me jump in here with a question for you - I will be taking the 925am Paris Nord to Bruge via Brussels. Will I get a meal on this trip?

I already have my tickets but it has no mention of a meal.

eurogals is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 05:38 AM
  #7  
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ira is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:08 AM
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A meal of some sorts is served i believe to all first class passengers but not those in 2nd class who get nothing for the about $15 except a seat reservation.

Meals are served on Paris-Brussels-amsterdam services but not sure about Brussels-Cologne.

It used to be meals were only served Mon-Fri when Thalys' targeted clientel, business types, would be riding but now at least as i understand it on weekends too.

I have not take the Thalys is a few years but when i did, in first class, it was a super meal - gourmet enough truffle-flavoured pate and lots of wine but not sure the scale of meals today.

But if you have 2nd class - no nothing.

Ist class meals are served at your seats.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 06:19 AM
  #9  
 
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The Thalys site http://tinyurl.com/2njz8g is non-specific about meals.
Catering offered in Comfort 1
Spoil yourself during your journey by requesting refreshments served directly to your seat on routes between Brussels <> Paris, Liège/Namur <> Paris.
Depending on the time of day, the on-board staff will be only too happy to serve you:
breakfast: a choice of drinks, croissants, cheese or cooked meats, fruit salad or yoghurt
a snack: a choice of drinks, sandwiches, cakes and fruit
a light meal: a choice of drinks, starter and mixed salad, bread and dessert.

I rode from Brussels to Paris last year circa the noon hour and was served a very nice lunch, which I didn't know about before I boarded.

hopscotch is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 07:26 AM
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Thanks, I will be in first class so I will look forward to my meal.

Appreciate your replies to my question.

eurogals is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 08:53 AM
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I'm going Ancona to Florence Florence to Cinque Terre Cinque Terre to Paris which is sold out for pass holders on my date if i want to go at over night and then Paris to Amsterdam. Maybe it's better to pay as I go?

well unless you go the online discount route on www.trenitalia.com - something not for the feint of heart it seems as the site is notoriously fickle and there have been tons of complaints from FodorFriends posting their frustrations

then at full fare as you go along i would think the EurailSelect pass, good in Italy, France and Benelux (Belgium, netherlands and luxembourg as one unit for pass purposes) will save you money, especially in first class which i always highly recommend for a myriad of reasons.

As for the Milan or Florence Artesia night trains being sold out - if you are checking the www.raileurope.com site this site is notoriously for saying sold out when the train may not even be loaded. I always advocate calling someone for a personal search instead of raileurope.com - i always advise BETS (800-441-2387) as they will talk to you on phone and are experts - it may not be sold out if your info comes from raileurope.com

unfortunately most of the trains you'll be taking do require reservations, the cost of which railpasses don't cover - they cover only the rail fare not reservations.

And if you just buy tickets along the way you will pay very high fares in France and especially on the Thalys train to Amsterdam - there are cheap advance fares but again can be hard to get - with a pass you can take any train - especially in first class and be able to make reservations once in Paris.

Some folks like to have mandatory reservations made when they purchase their pass and though i've never found any real problems reserving with a pass as i go along i don't criticize folks who want to pay a little extra and just have to show up for the train.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:56 AM
  #12  
 
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I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this website, but I thought it was interesting anyway - lots of pics of the Thalys trains, including some of the meals served:

http://www.tiny.cc/vymsq

Jolie is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 02:08 PM
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Jolie,
Excellent link. Those pictures show exactly what travelers will experience. Traveling Thalys 1st class is a pleasure.

PalenqueBob,
I've been told at the station booking office in Paris on the morning of departure that 1st class sleepers are sold out. Then on the train that night I discover that 1st class is nearly empty. I talk to the conductor and bump myself up where I belong with a EurailPass. This happened in a couple of other countries also. I don't know if the system is stupid or if a lot of people are no-shows.

Always ask -- never demand. And with a conductor or conductress always obey politely.

hopscotch is offline  
Aug 27th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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Hops: interesting experiences

system probably stupid unless a whole group did not show up. Sounds like train co is missing out on lots of bucks.

Many night trains i've been on have the words "lits frei" or whatever in local language - "beds free", which of course means available on the train itself and not that they are free money wise, of course.
PalenqueBob is offline  

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