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Trials,Tribulations, and a few Tips: Online Tickets with SNCF

Trials,Tribulations, and a few Tips: Online Tickets with SNCF

Old Apr 12th, 2010, 06:52 PM
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Trials,Tribulations, and a few Tips: Online Tickets with SNCF

Backstory:
(If you just want some tips without any background, just scroll down to "Some Tips" below)
Today I decided to book my tickets on SNCF using MorganB's guide (stored on my computer in the file name "Travel Treasures").  All of a sudden, clicking on the little British flag in the corner took me to, OMG, RailEurope.  I thought, "Maybe I just have to do this in French and/or pretend I'm French now".  Fine--I can read a bit of French.  I found a few fares I liked, clicked and somehow ended up on a page asking me for my postal code.  "Oh oh, I guess we're not in Kansas anymore."


Realizing I was out of my depth, and quickly seeing that there was no new edition of MorganB's guide on Fodors, I called for help on the forums.  While waiting for the cavalry to come, I did some more searches which confirmed that RailEurope was now the agent for all-things-American with the SNCF.  I saw one post directing another poster to the "Seat61" website, a site that had been so helpful when I made reservations with RENFE, the Spanish rail system. I tried that, but somehow, I still kept ending up on RailEurope.


Back to Fodors Forums, I found mention of the idTGV fares its direct website URL, so I visited idTGV.com and played with that site for awhile, entering a few aller/retour schedules to see how everything went.  I thought I probably could do OK with that link.  I went back to the Seat61 site one more time just to make sure I hadn't missed something, and by wading through some of the explanation on one page that did NOT take me to RailEurope, finally hit gold with the section "Booking the SNCF in French".  From there on in, the info and screenshots were invaluable.


Because I wanted to check both PREM and idTGV fares together, I decided to book through the SNCF site in French. While there was an attractive PREM fare, I was able to find the idTGV fares at the EXACT times I actually needed to be at my destinations. Great. It took my credit card without any problems. Great.  I got a confirmation page, I had a link to print the confirmation page which worked, and then PROBLEMS. The link to print tickets took me to "Page Not Found."


Not to worry--I'd wait for the email.


The emailed confirmation came through swiftly, but once again, the link to print the tickets kept taking me to "Page Not Found".  I went back into the SNCF website, entered my Numero du Dossier and Nom Associer, and my reservation came up. Good. The "Imprimer Voter Billets" link took me to...."Page Not Found."  Thinking that perhaps SNCF was a bit behind, I waited for ten minutes and tried everything again.  "Page Not Found,"  "Page Not Found".


I wrote an email to SNCF in my fractured French and another SOS on this forum.  SNCF confirmed my email, but of course, they were done for the day and they would have to get back to me.  Wondering if I should just call my credit card and stop the transaction, I first thought about everything that could have been wrong:



  • Adobe Reader Version?  Latest version.

  • Internet Explorer version?  Latest version.

  • Credit Card didn't go through? Temporary charge showed up fine

Then I thought about how Macs often had problems with Safari and had to use Firefox.  Could it be an IE problem?  Sure enought, I tried Firefox, found my reservation as before on the SNCF website, and then hit the "Imprimer" link.  It workednbsp; I was taken to an official reservations page to print the names of my party, and then I could print all my tickets.


I found it ironic that when I got to the page from which I could actually print our tickets, there to the right were two little guides (see below).


Some Tips:


1) Seat61 DOES have a rather good guide to booking your tickets in French, but just going to the website can lead you down lots of paths to, you guessed it, RailEurope.  Instead of "passing jail", go directly to this URL:
http://seat61.com/France-trains.htm#How to use voyages-sncf.com
and scroll down until you see this heading:
"So is there a catch?  Do I have to book in French?"
You will able to find detailed explanations with screen shots.  You really don't need to know French with this help.  By checking these fares on SNCF, you get to see ALL the fares.


2) If you know you want to book idTGV (often cheaper than anything else and something you can print at home), you might want to go directly to the www.idTGV.com website.


3) If you successfully navigate, buy, and confirm your reservation but cannot get anything further to print (provided you bought PREMS and idTGV and chose that option), try using Firefox instead of Internet Explorer.


4) On my "names of party page" for my idTGV reservations, I saw two PDF guides in the corner that would have been helpful BEFORE I got to this pagenbsp;



5) Last but not least, do remember that you not only can print PREMS and idTGV, you can also save the tickets to file and then email them as attachments if necessary.  I have always been able to keep a back-up file of my PREMS this way in cyberspace, and when I've had to meet other parties at the station, they have been able to print out their own tickets without problems.


I'd offer to answer any other questions that you have, but bear in mind, I'm sort of a grade "behind" right now.  Then again, sometimes having someone who won't think your question is stupid is often nice!


 

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AlessandraZoe is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2010, 07:11 PM
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Sorry About the Gibberish! Erasing my whole-hearted attempt to make this entry more legible with HTML, I accidentally hit "Submit" instead of "Preview" before I could check out how it came up on the Fodors site.

Ah well, that has been my day. Here is the "translation":

Backstory:
(If you just want some tips without any background, just scroll down to "Some Tips" below)
Today I decided to book my tickets on SNCF using MorganB's guide (stored on my computer in the file name "Travel Treasures"). All of a sudden, clicking on the little British flag in the corner took me to, OMG, RailEurope. I thought, "Maybe I just have to do this in French and/or pretend I'm French now". Fine--I can read a bit of French. I found a few fares I liked, clicked and somehow ended up on a page asking me for my postal code. "Oh oh, I guess we're not in Kansas anymore."

Realizing I was out of my depth, and quickly seeing that there was no new edition of MorganB's guide on Fodors, I called for help on the forums. While waiting for the cavalry to come, I did some more searches which confirmed that RailEurope was now the agent for all-things-American with the SNCF. I saw one post directing another poster to the "Seat61" website, a site that had been so helpful when I made reservations with RENFE, the Spanish rail system. I tried that, but somehow, I still kept ending up on RailEurope.

Back to Fodors Forums, I found mention of the idTGV fares its direct website URL, so I visited www.idTGV.com and played with that site for awhile, entering a few aller/retour schedules to see how everything went. I thought I probably could do OK with that link. I went back to the Seat61 site one more time just to make sure I hadn't missed something, and by wading through some of the explanation on one page that did NOT take me to RailEurope, finally hit gold with the section "Booking the SNCF in French". From there on in, the info and screenshots were invaluable.

Because I wanted to check both PREM and idTGV fares together, I decided to book through the SNCF site in French. While there was an attractive PREM fare there, I was able to find the idTGV fares at the EXACT times I actually needed to be at my destinations. Great. It took my credit card without any problems. Great. I got a confirmation page, I had a link to print the confirmation page which worked, and then PROBLEMS. The link to print tickets took me to "Page Not Found."

Not to worry--I'd wait for the email.

The emailed confirmation came through swiftly, but once again, the link to print the tickets kept taking me to "Page Not Found". I went back into the SNCF website, entered my Numero du Dossier and Nom Associer, and my reservation came up. Good. The "Imprimer Voter Billets" link took me to...."Page Not Found."

Thinking that perhaps SNCF was a bit behind, I waited for ten minutes and tried everything again. "Page Not Found," "Page Not Found".

I wrote an email to SNCF in my fractured French and another SOS on this forum. SNCF confirmed my email, but of course, they were done for the day and they would have to get back to me. Wondering if I should just call my credit card and stop the transaction, I first thought about everything that could have been wrong:

Adobe Reader Version? Latest version.
Internet Explorer version? Updated.
Credit Card didn't go through? Temporary charge showed up fine.

Then I thought about how Macs often had problems with Safari and had to use Firefox. Could it be an IE problem? Sure enought, I tried Firefox, found my reservation as before on the SNCF website, and then hit the "Imprimer" link. It worked: I was taken to an official reservations page to print the names of my party, and then I could print all my tickets.

I found it ironic that when I got to the page from which I could actually print our tickets, there to the upper right were two little guides I could have used before I got to that page.

Some Tips:
1) Seat61 DOES have a rather good guide to booking your tickets in French, but just going to the website can lead you down lots of paths to, you guessed it, RailEurope. Instead of "passing jail", go directly to this URL:

http://www.seat61.com/France-trains.htm#How to use voyages-sncf.com
(This isn't coming up a complete hyperlink, but copying/pasting in the browser DOES work).

and scroll down until you see this heading:
"So is there a catch? Do I have to book in French?"
You will able to find detailed explanations with screen shots. You really don't need to know French with this help. By checking these fares on SNCF, you get to see ALL the fares.

2) If you know you want to book idTGV (often cheaper than anything else and something you can print at home), you might want to go directly to http://www.idTGV.com

3)If you successfully navigate, buy, and confirm your reservation but cannot get anything further to print (provided you bought PREMS and idTGV and chose that option), try using Firefox instead of Internet Explorer.

4) Again, on my "names of party page" for my idTGV reservations, I saw two PDF guides in the corner that would have been helpful BEFORE I got to that page: http://www.ventes.idtgv.com/howto/fr-FR/howto-print.pdf
http://www.ventes.idtgv.com/howto/fr...o-exchange.pdf

5)Last but not least, do remember that you not only can print PREMS and idTGV, you can also save the tickets to file and then email them as attachments if necessary. I have always been able to keep a back-up file of my PREMS this way in cyberspace, and when I've had to meet other parties at the station, they have been able to print out their own tickets without problems.

I'd offer to answer any other questions that you have, but bear in mind, I'm sort of a grade "behind" right now. Then again, sometimes having someone who won't think your question is stupid is often nice!
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2010, 08:42 PM
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Thanks AlessandraZoe for you time in putting this together.
I successfully printed my own tickets a few years ago with help from Fodors but the site has gone through some changes since then I think. I am about to book this years tickets in a couple of weeks so crossing my fingers!

One thing I have done in my 'dummy runs' this year is just using Google translate on the SNCF page which has been useful. Not sure why I didn't do that before.

Glad you got yours sorted any way. Have a great trip.
ozgirl is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2010, 09:05 PM
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How sweet of you to say so, OzGirl. Good luck with the printing! The screenshots from Site61 actually helped me along enough that I didn't need the Google Translate, but you can bet I needed it for the email I received from SNCF after I alerted them to my "je ne peut pas imprimer mes billets" situation.

BTW, I re-tested the printing link on IE after my success with Firefox. STILL didn't work--IE still kept taking me to "Page Not Found". Could be a temporary situation, but given today's experience, I'll sure start with Firefox the next time.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2010, 09:10 PM
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And here's another link that I used:
http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/franc...in-french.html
AlessandraZoe is offline  
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