Passholders / Seat reservation guide

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What is a seat reservation?

A seat reservation is a guaranteed seat on-board a train. Seat reservations are compulsory for most high speed, international, and night trains.

Book a seat reservation with Rail Europe and enjoy a hassle-free trip.

Do I need to book a seat reservation?

If you have a train ticket, you don’t have to worry about booking a seat reservation. For trains operating in popular countries like France, Italy, Spain, UK and Sweden, we include the seat reservation in the train ticket price, so you don’t have to worry about it.

If you have a rail pass, you have to make sure that you’ve booked your seat reservation before boarding a premium train (high speed, international or night trains). However most regional trains do not require a seat reservation, so you can board them with a valid rail pass. See below which trains require a seat reservation.

Is it better to book a seat reservation when in Europe or online?

You can always book you seat reservation once you are in Europe, but remember that premium trains sell fast. To avoid unpleasant situations, when all seats all already reserved, we strongly recommend that you book your seat reservation in advance and online.

How far in advance can a seat reservation be made?

For almost all high speed trains, international trains and night trains, seat reservations can be made between 60 to 90 days in advance.

Which trains require a seat reservation?

Trains on which seat reservations are mandatory: Basically all premium trains require a seat reservation. Premium trains are classified as High speed trains, International trains and Night trains.

Below is a list of all popular trains which require a seat reservation:

Eurostar (International train operating between Paris, London and Brussels)
Thalys (International train operating between Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam)
TGV Lyria (International train operating between France and Switzerland)
TGV France-Italy (International train operating between France and Italy)
France-Spain high speed (International train operating between France and Spain)
ICE international trains (International train operating between German and neighbouring countries)
TGV international trains (International train operating between France and neighbouring countries)
Intercité trains (domestic trains operating in France)
Intercité de nuit (domestic night French night trains)

We highly recommend you reserve these trains as soon as possible. Seats are limited! Reservations on the above trains can be made between 60 to 90 days in advance.

Book a seat reservation with Rail Europe and enjoy a hassle-free trip.

Trains on which seat reservations are highly recommended: Some trains (mostly in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Poland, Czech Republic etc.) do not require a seat reservation but the rail company allows travellers to book a specific seat. In that case we say that it is highly recommended to book a reservation. By doing so, you will have priority over travellers who do not have a reservation and most importantly you won’t have to stand or change trains when some are sold out.

Trains on which seat reservations are not needed: Most regional trains, also known as local trains, do not require a seat reservation. If you are travelling with a rail pass, then you just need to board the train, find a seat and relax.

How to book a seat reservation?

Rail Europe provides an exclusive seat reservation service.

Book a seat reservation with Rail Europe and enjoy a hassle-free trip.

Why book a seat reservation with Rail Europe?

• You can book your seat reservation in your own currency, thus avoiding bank or credit card fees for foreign currency transactions.
• You can save time by purchasing your seat reservation directly from Rail Europe, instead of queuing at local ticket counters each and every time before a train.
• Buy in advance, have all your trips planned and you will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having all your travel documents ready.

How to travel without booking a seat reservation?

As an alternative to high speed and night trains, you can travel on board regional or local trains. Most don’t require a seat reservation, so you won’t have to pay any extra charge. Just fill-in your rail pass, sit back and relax!

In France, TER trains do not require seat reservations. TER trains serve all major towns and cities in France.

Seat reservation fees

Seat reservations are very affordable. They usually represent only a fraction of a full fare ticket. You can have an overview of seat reservation fees for domestic and international trains below:

  • Domestic trains

Austria
ÖBB Railjet trains
Reservation optional.
Indicative seat reservation fee: HK$28

Bulgaria
Express (Ekspresen) trains
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee:

Croatia
ICN Zagreb - Split
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: HK$9

IC Zagreb - Rijeka/Osijek/Cakovec
Reservation compulsory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: HK$9

Czech Republic
IC/EC (domestic journeys)
Reservation recommended.
Indicative seat reservation fee: HK$18

France
TGV
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: between HK$83 and HK$165

InterCités
Reservation mandatory or recommended (depending on routes).
Trains with mandatory reservation:
Indicative seat reservation fee: HK$55
Trains with recommended reservation:
Indicative seat reservation fee: HK$9

Germany
ICE/IC/EC
Reservation recommended.
Indicative seat reservation fee: HK$37

ICE Sprinter
Reservation compulsory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: HK$101

Italy
EuroCity (domestic journeys) and Le Frecce / Frecciarossa / Frecciargento / Frecciabianca
Reservation compulsory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: HK$92

Spain
AVE
Reservation compulsory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$92

Sweden
InterCity and Regional trains
Reservation recommended.
Indicative seat reservation fee: HK$28

SJ High Speed trains
Reservation compulsory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$64

  • International trains

Eurostar (France, Belgium, Great Britain)
Main cities served: London, Paris, Lille and Brussels.
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$818

ICE/TGV (France, Germany)
Main cities served: Frankfurt, Mannheim, Paris, Marseille, Stuttgart, and Munich.
Reservation compulsory only for international travel.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$120

France-Spain high speed (France, Spain)
Main cities served: Paris, Barcelona, Marseille
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$110

TGV (France, Belgium)
Main cities served: Brussels to southern France
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$83

TGV (France, Italy)
Main cities served: Paris – Milan
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$303

TGV Lyria (France - Switzerland)
Main cities served: Paris, Montpellier, Marseille, Zürich, Bern, Lausanne and Geneva.
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$147

Thalys (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany)
Main cities served: Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$276

  • Night trains and Scenic trains

Intercités de nuit (France)
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$83 for a reclining seat or HK$184 for a couchette

Bernina Express (Switzerland)
Reservation mandatory for panoramic train.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$74

Glacier Express (Switzerland)
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$92

Wilhelm Tell Express (Switzerland)
Reservation mandatory.
Indicative seat reservation fee: from HK$285

Prices are indicative and may be subject to variations, but in all cases they are always cheaper than a train ticket. This means that if you have a rail pass, you will only pay a fraction of a full fare train ticket.