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French Train Price and Reservation Question

French Train Price and Reservation Question

Old Sep 19th, 2001, 06:39 PM
  #1  
Jeannette
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French Train Price and Reservation Question

At the end of August, I made a train reservation on-line at sncf.com from Paris to Angouleme. When I received the e-mail confirmation, it said I had to collect my tickets by September 9. Since I wouldn't yet be in France, I assumed my reservation expired so I made another today. However, the price increased to 646FF from the original 486FF. Was there a large price increase since the end of August? Should I try to pick up the first tickets reserved using their confirmation code even though the reservation has technically expired? By the way, I'm leaving tomorrow morning. THANKS!!
 
Old Sep 19th, 2001, 10:30 PM
  #2  
Chris
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Sounds like you lost your discount for buying in advance.

Go ahead and try for the ones you previously reserved -- you never know!
 
Old Sep 19th, 2001, 10:31 PM
  #3  
Chris
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Oh, I should have explained -- sncf gives discounts for buying 30+ days in advance and a lesser one for 7+days in advance.
 
Old Sep 20th, 2001, 11:13 AM
  #4  
Christina
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yeah, I agree, the price went up because you got past the advance purchase period. The SNCF site outlines regulations as to when you have to pick up tickets from date of purchase. You can't buy tickets online way in advance to get a cheap fare and not pick them up for a long time until you get there, they have to be picked up within a short time of reservation online; this prevents lots of foreign visitors from getting cheap advance purchase fares. I think all advance purchase tickets (J8 or J30) have to be picked up within about one week of the reservation date. Anyway, I guess you can ask for them, but don't expect to get them.
 
Old Sep 23rd, 2001, 05:45 AM
  #5  
Sue
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Chris and Christina, perhaps you can clarify something for me (and it may help Jeannette too.)

As far as I can tell, J30 has to be picked up no later than 30 days in advance, J8 no later than 8 days in advance. If that's correct, then for most of us only J8 would be of any use?
 
Old Sep 23rd, 2001, 05:47 AM
  #6  
sue
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Sorry, I'm asleep this morning.

What I should have asked was, does the advance period refer to the number of days in advance of the train departure? Or does it refer to the number of days since making the reservation? I've read the SCNF site, and I'm still confused.
 
Old Sep 23rd, 2001, 02:31 PM
  #7  
Chris
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Hi Sue

I'm not sure I can help, but here goes:

It's my understanding that J30 discount means that you are buying the ticket 30+ days in advance of the train trip (J8, natch, 8+ days in advance).
 
Old Oct 10th, 2001, 07:51 AM
  #8  
Phyllis Stein
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I'm gently freaking out here -- I have just purchased Eurostar tickets from the SNCF website for December. I have received my confrimation e-mail, and it doesn't give me any "deadline" for picking up the tickets.

In fact, in Terms and Conditions, it says: "Holders of foreign-issued credit cards may collect prepaid orders from SNCF outlets and train stations by presenting the same card as that used for their booking ....Prepayment allows you to collect your order at any time -- right up to your train's departure time."

Have I missed something on the SNCF website? Or do those rules about picking a ticket up w/in a certain timeframe not apply to Eurostar tickets?
 
Old Oct 10th, 2001, 09:00 AM
  #9  
Phyllis Stein
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Well, I've answered my own question, but I'm still gently freaking out. Not until I went back to check my reservation number on the site did I see that they DO indeed expect me to pick up my tickets by next Wednesday -- impossible, I'm afraid. I pushed the button to cancel the reservation; the site indicated that my reservation has been cancelled; I have printed out the page from the SNCF site that gives directions about picking up prepaid tickets; I have received a confirmation from SNCF about the cancellation; I have called AMEX to find out what I need to do to contest a charge, just in case.

I'm beginning to think there is a jinx against this trip.... And now I am quietly freaking out over how to get from Paris to London without paying hundreds more than I want to. Arrrrgh.
 
Old Oct 10th, 2001, 11:53 AM
  #10  
Christina
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To clarify (I hope), these are the terms and conditions of picking up tickets ordered online from the SNCF.com website (I read them in the French section, I think they are in the English section also, but am not sure): the J30 fare is a discount (only on certain trains and/or dates) fare for tickets RESERVED 30-60 days ahead; the J8 fare is a more flexible discount fare for seats RESERVED 8-60 days ahead--these are generally nonexchangeable and limited refunds. Regarding pickup after online reservation, if you reserve less than 3 days before departure, you can pickup until 30 min. before departure; if you reserve 3-8 days prior, you must pickup within 2 days after the reservation date; if you reserve 9-62 days before departure (most J8 and J30 fares), you must pick up within 7 days after the reservation date. Thus, foreigners should not be expecting to get lots of online discounts from SNCF just because they can reserve a ticket by internet from their home country easily. Generally, these advance discounts will only work if you reserve online shortly before you go to France, and then you pick up the ticket within a few days of arrival and the ticket was wanted for a trip later on in your vacation--it works in that case. I did that last summer as I fit that criteria--reserved online from US with credit card on July 2, flew to Marseille July 4/5, picked up ticket at French train station July 7th and my ticket was for a train trip on July 12th--I got the J8 discount because I reserved 10 days ahead of my trip, but I picked it up within 7 days of the reservation.
 
Old Oct 10th, 2001, 06:14 PM
  #11  
Jeannette
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I am the original poster. I just returned from France and here's my story: I had my original discounted reservation and I'd made a second reservation a few days before I left at a higher price. I gave the ticket guy the original reservation which required me to pick up the ticket two weeks before I arrived. My original reservation was still in the system but they refused to give me the lower price. A supervisor was called and he conferred with the ticket guy and then the supervisor told me that the price was wrong but he didn't explain why and I was charged full price. But, they knew I'd made the reservation more than a month before. So, who knows?
 
Old Oct 11th, 2001, 05:26 AM
  #12  
Phyllis Stein
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Thanks for checking back in, Jeanette. It's so helpful to read about how your experience panned out.

I solved my problem (well, half of it) by telephoning the eurostar.co.uk number and buying my tickets with a credit card over the phone. Happily, I got the train times I wanted for a price even less than what is listed in the fare schedule; apparently, it's cheaper to go from Paris to London than from London to Paris. So I'm happy: inexpensive tickets on their way to me for the trains I most wanted.

I'll wait and see if SNCF charges me for the reservation I made and cancelled....
 

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