Frequently Asked Question about the Alvia
Are there discounts on train tickets?
Yes. There are discounts available for certain train tickets.
The first type of discount is for advanced booking. This applies mostly to high speed trains and night trains that require reservations. For these trains, within the same category of service, rail carriers set aside different groups of seats at different prices. The cheaper seats have a limited availability or are reserved for sale within a certain time period before the train departure. Once this group of cheaper seats has sold out, or the booking window for those seats has passed, the next group of seats goes on sale, at a higher price, and so on. The closer to the departure date you book, the more expensive you will find the seats. This is why we always encourage you to book your seat in advance to get the best price.
In addition, certain trains offer discounts for youth, child or senior travelers. We always attempt to find the cheapest fares for your traveling party and get you the discounts you’re eligible for. This is why it’s important to accurately indicate the composition of your traveling party when requesting fares and schedules from our website. You may also have to enter the age of certain travelers, so we can determine whether they’re eligible for certain age-related discounts.
Do I need to do anything to my train ticket before boarding the train?
If you purchased and received a paper train ticket in the mail, there is nothing further you need to do.
If you purchased a print at home e-ticket, be sure to print your ticket before you leave home and keep your train ticket safe and secure. For Italo tickets, just print your Rail Europe email confirmation which includes your unique e-ticket confirmation code(s). This e-ticket confirmation code along with your photo i.d. will be checked when on the Italo train.
If you purchased a print at the station e-ticket, you’ll need to visit a self-service kiosk to print your train ticket (remember, you’ll need the e-ticket confirmation code included on your invoice). When retrieving your e-ticket in France at a SNCF kiosk, you will need to “stamp your ticket” (composter votre ticket as French say) prior to board the train. Would you have any problem to do so, just ask the conductor of the train to do it for you when you board the train.
View this video for tips on how early you should arrive at the train station, activating tickets & passes, and more!
What do I do with my luggage?
Once onboard you’ll need to find a place to put your bag(s). Small and medium sized bags typically fit on racks located above the seats. Larger suitcases and items can be stored in racks found near the train door entrance.
In addition, you’re responsible for your luggage. The railways assume no responsibility in case of loss or theft of baggage carried on board.
If you’re traveling on Eurostar, Thalys or a TGV, you’re limited to two large items per traveler (maximum 85cm in any one dimension), plus one small item of hand luggage. On most high speed train there’s room for luggage above the seats and for larger items at the end of each coach.
Be advised that when traveling on Eurostar, Thalys or any French train, you must properly label your bag(s) with your first and last name. In general, it is a good idea to keep luggage tags on your baggage for easy identification.
If traveling within Switzerland, our “Fast Baggage” option may be a convenient alternative for you.
How early should I arrive at the train station?
We advise travelers to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure. This allows you time to clear any security checks and locate the platform where your train will be departing. If you are departing from a larger train station (typically a city’s main station) and need to activate your rail pass prior to boarding, you will want to arrive even earlier to make sure you have enough time to get your rail pass activated and avoid doing a luggage-hauling sprint through the station.
Can I choose a specific seat when booking a train ticket?
At this time, we are unable to offer this service. Unlike airlines, most rail carriers do not offer the possibility to select your specific seat.
Do I need to buy a train ticket for children or infants?
In general, any traveler that will occupy a seat needs to purchase a train ticket. Children under the age of 4 may travel on your lap, though the exact age can vary by rail company. If you want them to have a reserved seat on a train that offers or requires a reservation, you would need to pay the same price as an older child on most trains.
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