Why are fixed travel tickets so complex?

When choosing the Fixed travel option, consisting of point-to-point travel tickets, it’s important that you understand the complexity this can bring.

Train Operators

Each European country has its own national train operator with its own ticket system and its own website.  Additional to the national train operators, there are also private operators with their own booking systems. 

This means that booking train tickets via point-to-point tickets can get complex for some itineraries. Also, not all train operators accept online bookings and payments. For those train operators, the Travel team will not be able to make bookings.

European train operators also do not open the reservation for ticket bookings in advance. Some train can be booked already half a year in advance, others only 60 days prior to your travel date. More information on this can be found below. 

Ticket Delivery

Ticket delivery is also impacted by this. In a lot of cases, tickets will be sent to you digitally and you can print them yourself. Other tickets have to be collected from a self-service machine, and in other cases they’ll be sent to you by postal mail.

Timetable Changes & Impacts

  • European railways all change their timetables at midnight on the 2nd Saturday of June. 
  • Very occasionally, trains are cancelled because of the work on the line, and will not run on your travel dates. 
  • Discussions between train operators rail infrastructure companies can impact reservations to open late for certain train bookings. This can also lead the Travel team not able to book certain train tickets. This can happen for a weekend, or for odd dates, even when other trains are open for booking.

Booking in Advance

In general, train tickets are bought not so far in advance. This means that train operators mostly open for bookings only 90 days in advance. below a non-exhaustive overview. Keep in mind this information can change!

60 days ahead

Some central & eastern European countries will only allow us to book train tickets 60 days in advance.

90 days ahead

The general assumption is that European train bookings open bookings 3 months in advance.

180 days ahead

The following trains can be booked up to 6 months in advance: 

  • Eurostar (London-Paris/Brussels)
  • iDTGV trains (France)
    iDTGV are a special type of French TGV which open up to 6 months ahead. However, there will be just two or three trains on the route. If you wait a bit longer, the regular TGVs will be available and you'll have dozens of options to choose from.  
  • German Railways (DB)
    For international routes to or from Germany, it may depend on the partner railway. For some inwards international journeys, e.g. Prague to Berlin, you'll find that www.bahn.de/en will sell you a ticket 6 months ahead but cannot provide an optional seat reservation to go with it as this has to be sourced from the partner railway's reservation system which still only opens reservations 3 months ahead. 
  • Austrian Railways (ÖBB)
    Not all journeys open up 6 months in advance. International trains such as Nightjets are included, but for some international routes to or from Austria it depends on their partner railway
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