COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Using ITALIARAIL for booking reservations

Using ITALIARAIL for booking reservations

Old Jun 15th, 2015, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,198
Tom_mn: I believe that's exactly what I said. What you're describing is because of the search algorithm used by Italiarail, which is described in point numnber 3 in the post from Italiarail.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2015, 12:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,371
This is quibbling, but I would say not.

The trenitalia algorithm is making the decision that preserving the free child fare is paramount, but it doing so costs the whole party more: in order to get the child free it must go with a fare that is nearly full price, i.e 4 nearly full price fares with the child free.

The ItaliaRail is trying different scenarios and then coming up with the cheapest overall fare: Putting the 4 adults on the 2-for-1 and then charging nearly full fare for the child, i.e. 3 nearly full fare tickets. So, much cheaper because 2 are riding free.

The other case is less complicated, ticketing different fares like economy and super ecomomy fares at the same time.
tom_mn is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2015, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,198
Trenitalia isn't trying to preserve the Bimbi gratis fare at all costs. I've many times found cheaper two-for-one or super economy tickets where the Bimbi gratis was ignored. The reason that's the cheapest fare they found was that they never separate the group into its components and search for each separately to compare that with what they could get buying the five tickets as a group.

For instance, we're taking my granddaughter (and daughter) to Venice in July. In one direction, there were enough super economy tickets left for all of us, so it didn't show the Bimbi Gratis price at all.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2015, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,371
It seems we are not disagreeing. As you say and I found out, it's more than just a matter of ItaliaRail being willing to book super economy and economy fares in the same purchase, the website will break the group into subgroups, price them individually, then sum them. So ItaliaRail can offer substantial discounts for group travel, sometimes anyway.

Of course getting super economy for all is best.
tom_mn is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2016, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 8
I must be blind, I tried to book in euros but find no way to do that on the new site?

Clearly there is a foreign transaction fee within the $ price. Why not be upfront and display it separately as my bank does? Sneaky doesn't really sell well. It appears to be about 1% which is actually the visa network fee only rather than that fee + fee some card issuers charge for so called "convenience" and nothing more). None of my cards charge either fee so the 1% adds up.

Also, I assume that the seat61 tip of saving the $5 booking fee still applies. I agree that $5 is VERY GOOD VALUE for being able to get fares for groups that TrenItalia won't offer, and a big value is being able to book more than 2 trips before the TrenItalia site times out (10 min max) and makes you start all over!!! Unfortunately, my group (typically only 2) wants to select seats to pick them near the restrooms and facing vs across specifically. I don't see seat selection on this site either?

Finally, on May 11th (viewed today 1/14), the regional trains from Venice to Ravenna via Ferrara at 16:42 for 28 euros don't even show on ItaliaRail. Note that Trenitalia DOES allow booking regional trains 4 months in advance too. I also think I booked Saturday 2 for 1 fares on TrenItalia for my trip back in April. I did find a slightly cheaper fare on ItaliaRail for one of the many trains I booked for that trip - don't know exactly why.

The ease of use (not required to know Italian city names and much faster and displays more choice per window and longer timeout) really are a big improvement over TrenItalia. Much easier to use. For those who choose to spend the time dealing with the quirks of TrenItalia, you MAY save a bit or have a bit more selection, but for most who don't want to take the time to learn and use TrenItalia, the $5 is a real bargain. Getting it refunded via quick email request makes that an even better option although these guys really do deserve that minimal fee.
uds0 is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2016, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Ok, the secret handshake to change currency is to click on the about or contact us link in the upper right corner. Why not display currency dropdown by default?
uds0 is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2016, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Oh, and to avoid frustration, change the currency BEFORE you spend a half hour adding your 10 trips to the cart because the cart will be EMPTY after changing the currency!!! Really? Should be warned or fixed to save many heartbeats and frustration.
uds0 is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2016, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Currency example:

Venice to Ravenna for 2 5/11/2016:
30.80 Euro x 1.10 $/euro = $33.88 vs $36 booked in $.
uds0 is offline  
Old Aug 20th, 2018, 08:38 AM
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 1
ItaliaRail - never use them for booking train tickets in Italy

ItaliaRail attempts to fill a gap that does not exist. Trenitalia has a website in English that is very user friendly. In addition, Italia Rail does not give any discounts. I paid USD 60 extra for the ticket I bought from their website which I could have easily bought on Trenitalia had I cared to look at their website first. I would never buy anything from ItaliaRail again (even if they introduce cheaper tickets). Let me tell you why:

ē They have an extremely poor customer service. Their agents wonít give you any information that you are looking for. They ignore the question and paste sentences in their responses. I doubt if they even read the questions.
ē Most important though, if your train gets cancelled or if itís delayed or if you want to cancel your ticket, you have the right of reimbursement depending on the terms and conditions associated with the fare of the ticket you purchased. However, thereís a caveat. You canít apply to Trenitalia directly for reimbursement if you used ItaliaRail to book your ticket. Trenitalia will ask you to have ItaliaRail approach them for a refund and rightly so. Italia Rail, however, will wash their hands off the matter by stating that they are only a third party vendor and have nothing to do with refunds. In other words, donít expect any intervention or help from Italia Rail. This is the response that I got from ItaliaRail:

Why be involved at all if you have no way to communicate with the train operator whose tickets you are selling to unsuspecting travelers? They have left me high and dry on two occasions when I had to resort to buying new tickets!

I highly encourage you to give ItaliaRail a miss. I had two nightmarish experiences with them and ended up losing a lot of money which I could have easily had reimbursed had I bought my tickets directly from Trenitalia. Please consider using the Trenitalia website instead.
jellyboon is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2019, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 9,084
Just to add to this old thread. We used ItaliaRail for five train trips last autumn. The ticket prices were the same and even lower on a couple of trips than Trenitalia. No problems whatsoever.

From The Man in Seat 61: "ItaliaRail is easier to use, all in plain English with English-language place names - and it can be cheaper than if there are 2 or more of you. It's an online agency which sells Trenitalia tickets in Ä, £, $ or Au$.

maitaitom is online now  
Old Apr 22nd, 2019, 09:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Still better IMO to go to the source to buy your own tickets - no need for middleman but if tickets are cheaper then but many are more folks say.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 12:48 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,198
Although I've never used them to book tickets, I think the best way for a non-Italian speaker to book tickets in Italy is now . They sell both Trenitalia and Italo tickets, as well as tickets for many regional bus lines. The prices I've checked are identical to those on the Trenitalia website (including applicable discounts), and they say there is no booking fee. Not only that, you can often buy international tickets from them, instead of making separate purchases from several national rail companies.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 05:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 48,538
I have used trainline many times to book tickets, and yes, I agree it is by far the easiest way, especially for people who are uniquely anglophone, to book tickets in Europe. The prices are identical to those of the national railways, all discounts are applicable, you have identical access to information about handicap services and luggage, etc., you don't have to know the European names of places, they have reliable contact information, and they definitely do not charge booking fees.
StCirq is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Yes no reason to use or any third-party booking agent except which ties into national rail prices and as St Cirq says easier often than
PalenQ is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Jan 7th, 2011 08:44 PM
Air Travel
Oct 28th, 2010 04:59 AM
May 6th, 2010 05:17 AM
Jan 5th, 2005 04:54 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information