help with thayls train

Jan 27th, 2004, 03:56 PM
  #1  
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help with thayls train

could some kind soul give me some insight into the Thayls train from Paris to Amsterdam. We (husband and myself)will traveling one way from Paris to Amsterdam first week of April.
*** what class of service?
*** any discounts available?
*** need to pre-purchase?
Thanks for any advice!!!!!!
deb0402 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 04:13 PM
  #2  
 
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I can only say that it is a very nice train -- top notch. I've traveled on it a couple times between Paris and Amsterdam. Yes, you need to reserve in advance including seat reservations. I know of no discounts other than it is included on some rail passes, which is what I've used and gone first class.
Patrick is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 05:25 PM
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Unless you get some great deal, I would pay the money for 1st class. It isn't markedly different. These trains, like the TGV's are very modern and comfortable and the ride is fast. But yes, you must have reservations as Patrick said.
McBetsy is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 05:44 PM
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1. I would choose second class because the savings are substantial and it is comfortable enough, but it wouldn't be all that bad of a splurge to go first and it's about a four-hour trip, I believe.

2. I'm not aware of discounts available on a one-way ticket, but perhaps someone else knows more.

3. Yes, you need to pre-purchase and seat reservations are required on the Thalys, however, there is more than one way to accomplish this.

Some people arrange to receive their tickets in Europe, which saves some costs. Some people simply buy them after their arrival.

If you want to have your tickets in hand prior to leaving on your trip to Europe, my understanding is that RailEurope is the exclusive U.S. source. This involves paying a $15 shipping charge (for the pair of tickets) and a $7 per ticket "premier fee". Just eyeballing your pair of one-way tickets, that would come to around $257 total, with add-ons included, through:

www.raileurope.com

The basic ticket price is $114 each and that matches with the 90.50 Euro price on the Thalys site.

RailEurope does not offer the LOWEST possible fares, such as you may be able to get in Europe. (On a one-way ticket, I'm not sure how much difference that makes because the best deals often involve round-trip travel.)

If you would feel more comfortable talking with someone on the telephone, here is a toll-free number for RailEurope from a shipping manifest I had laying around:

1-800-782-2424

If that is not the correct number to call and book, I'm quite certain that they can direct you.

Flyboy is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 05:54 PM
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I have traveled the other direction, in October. We bought our Thalys tickets at the airport at Amsterdam 3 days ahead of time; the price for Thalys includes the required seat reservation.

In April, I don't see why you couldn't buy your tickets at Gare du Nord early into your Paris visit. (or any major rail station, I suppose).

The discounted tickets are round-trip, and trickier to purchase ahead; you need to maneuver thru the online system as if you're a resident, then I think you can pick them up at a ticket office with the same credit card you booked with. There's some timing issues, that is, you can't book too early (outside 60 or 90 days?) but may miss them if you wait too long.

We've only bought 2nd class, but that was nice enough.

If you do a search in the forum for "Thalys" you will get plenty of previous posts with lots of information.
Travelnut is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 06:56 PM
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deb0402,
We recently (Dec 26) took the Thayls from Amsterdam to Paris, then Paris-Amsterdam (Jan. 4). I got very busy at work and didn't remember to book in advance on www.thalys.com (just plain forgot). If I had booked 2 weeks or more in advance, we could have purchased a non exchangeable/non refundable Smilys ticlet for 69 euros one way. If I had booked 5 days in advance, we could have purchased a Librys fare for 90,50. Alas, I waited too late (4 days prior) and the Netherlands rail site, which thayls.com sent me to, wouldn't accept my booking. We had to wait and buy our tickets at Schipol the morning of arrival. At Schipol the computers were down, they couldn't make any reservations on any train, so we had to board and buy our tickets from the conductor. By that time, there were no 2nd class seats available except in a smoking car, where we sat for a few minutes, until the attendant found us seats in first class. Our first class fare purchased on the train cost a whopping 143,50 p. p.! By not pre-purchasing, of course, we paid top dollar. (I've since learned from my mistake). The 2nd class seating seemed rather tight.
For the 3 hr. 50 min. ride from Schipol to Paris we were actually glad we were in 1st class, although it was very! expensive. The ride from Amsterdam isn't high speed or non-stop until Brussels. We were served a cold lunch with wine on the ride from Schipol to Brussels, then a light snack from Brussels to Paris. On the return trip, we departed at 6:55 p.m. and were served a cold dinner on route to Brussels with light snack between Brussels and Schipol.
The Thalys is very comfortable.
Maribel is online now  
Jan 27th, 2004, 07:07 PM
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On the www.thalys.com site I see standard fare one way from Paris to Amsterdam is 147 euro in First, and 100.90 in Second. Most trains change in Brussels, but there are several that go straight through.
Patrick is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 12:45 AM
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ira
 
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Hi deb,

You can purchase your ticket online from
www.sncf.com

The LIBRYS price is 90.5E for 2 cl.
ira is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 01:10 AM
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You can travel even cheaper, with a SMILYS ticket, which has a few restrictions. This is a MANDATORY ROUND TRIP: Return ticket compulsory. Non exchangeable. No refundable. Only in 2nd class (which is OK).
But ... the price is only 69 euro (roundtrip, of which you just use the first part).
If you want this kind of ticket, book asap 'cause there's only a small number of seats available at this tariff.
You can book online thru www.thalys.com (don't forget to enter a fictitious return date). And always keep in mind that the ticket is NOT refundable nor exchangeable.
MyriamC is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 01:12 AM
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Since you are traveling the first week of April which is Easter week. I would most definitely buy your tickets in advance.
Nidwaldner_Chris is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 02:15 AM
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MyriamC is right, but remember, Thalys is not like the airlines, there are no penalties if you don't use the return portion of the ticket--toss it away if you don't plan to return. (I am surprised there is not some sort of underground black market in selling off un-needed return tickets.)
While Thalys still offers good service, I am starting to see signs that they are cutting back on some of the things that made Thalys special. The seats are starting to look a little threadbare, the meal trays aren't always working (they won't come up, or if they do, they won't go back down), and last month I rode Paris-Brussels (first class) on a train that had a couple of loose inside ceiling panels that kept flapping down over people's heads. Also, the Thalyscope magazine has deteriorated--it used to be a very clever monthly, with lots of surprisingly good "insider" tips, now it's a quarterly and the content is pretty bog standard tourst stuff.
BTilke is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 02:15 AM
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MyriamC is right, but remember, Thalys is not like the airlines, there are no penalties if you don't use the return portion of the ticket--toss it away if you don't plan to return. (I am surprised there is not some sort of underground black market in selling off un-needed return tickets.)
While Thalys still offers good service, I am starting to see signs that they are cutting back on some of the things that made Thalys special. The seats are starting to look a little threadbare, the meal trays aren't always working (they won't come up, or if they do, they won't go back down), and last month I rode Paris-Brussels (first class) on a train that had a couple of loose inside ceiling panels that kept flapping down over people's heads. Also, the Thalyscope magazine has deteriorated--it used to be a very clever monthly, with lots of surprisingly good "insider" tips, now it's a quarterly and the content is pretty bog standard tourist stuff.
BTilke is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 02:16 AM
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Ooops, sorry for the double post!
BTilke is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 02:20 AM
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If the Thalys seems expensive or is fully booked, book on one of the TGVs which run every half hour from Paris to Brussels, then get the hourly intercity train to Amsterdam.
GeoffHamer is offline  

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