Before Purchasing Tickets

There are some things that cannot be changed after tickets have been purchased. The following is a list of things to think about, which you may wish to mention to us at the time of your initial enquiry.

Seating Requests

If you have any particular seating requests please make these with your initial enquiry as we cannot always change the reserved seats later. We cannot guarantee requests but will do our best to ensure you have your preferred seats. Seating configurations vary across the types of trains in Europe.

We often have no way to tell which seats are forward or backward facing. If two passengers are travelling together and you prefer to travel forwards we recommend requesting two seats at a table facing each other as this guarantees that you have one forward facing seat.

A window seat is not necessarily next to a window, and we cannot always tell where the windows are positioned along the carriage. If there are particular seats you wish to avoid, or prefer, please give us the seat and carriage numbers and we will do our best for you.

Reservations for young children who do not require tickets can be made on TGV services within France, TGV Est services and on Lyria services from Paris to Switzerland for a small charge. On most other trains a child under the age of 4 requiring a seat will need a child ticket.

On some highspeed trains, particularly in France, it is possible to reserve a seat upstairs, giving a better view. There are also similar duplex trains used on other routes for example in Switzerland and Germany where reservations are not possible. Please ask if you would particularly like to sit upstairs or downstairs.

On some ICE services there is a panoramic section at each end of the train, directly behind the driving compartment. On occasion the driver may opt to frost the window blocking the view from the passenger saloon to the driving compartment. Please ask if you would like to be seated in this area.

On some French couchette trains it is possible to book a private compartment on payment of a surcharge. To have private use of a 6-berth compartment there must be at least 4 passengers, but just one person can book private use of a 4-berth compartment.

On the Elipsos TrenHotel three passengers can book exclusive use of a 4-berth tourist class sleeper compartment.

Some trains, including Eurostar and some TGV services, have a nursery area. These are four seats facing each other with either no table, or just a small table, to allow space for small children to play. If you are travelling with small children and would like to sit in this area please ask.

Type of tickets and classes of service

Thalys tickets can be purchased to "any Belgian Station", these must be requested at the time of the initial enquiry. Tickets will have "Toute Gare Belge" printed on them and will be valid on the chosen Thalys service and on any SNCB service required to reach the final destination. The entire journey must be completed on the same day. They are not valid on ICE services.

Eurostar tickets to Brussels can be purchased to "any Belgian Station" or "any Dutch Station", these must be requested at the time of the initial enquiry. Tickets will have "Toute Gare Belge" or "Any Belgian Station" or "Any Dutch Station" printed on them and will be valid on the chosen Eurostar service and on any onward service required to reach the final destination. A break of 24 hours is allowed in Brussels in either direction. They are not valid on ICE or Thalys services.

In general across Europe purchasing a first class ticket will give you a bigger seat, more space and a quieter environment. In most countries first class costs about half as much again as standard class. On some routes first class tickets include a meal, these are not always widely advertised, or reliable.

Classes of service on Eurostar

Business Premier and Standard Premier customers travel in First class carriages. There are 6 first class carriages per train and the number of carriages dedicated to Business Premier or to Standard Premier customer varies. E.g. a Monday morning train could have 4 Business Premier carriages and 2 Standard Premier carriages, when a Thursday afternoon train could have just 1 Business Premier carriage and 5 Standard Premier carriages. First class carriages are air-conditioned and feature comfortable larger reclining seats with power points at every seat (both European and UK compatible). Special meals can be pre-booked and include vegetarian, kosher, halal, vegan, diabetic, low fat, low salt and gluten free.

Business Premier customers have a 10-minute check-in and Fast-track security at London St. Pancras and access to Executive Lounges, Newspapers and magazines on board. A hot or continental breakfast, or after 11am a 3-course hot meal with choice of 2 main courses is served at seat with a selection of hot and cold soft drinks, wine, beer and Champagne. An Express breakfast option is available morning trains.

Standard Premier customers have a 30-minute check-in. A light cold savoury meal consisting of 3 "tasting" dishes, or before 11am breakfast consisting of bread roll, pastries and orange juice, and one complimentary drink is served at seat.

Standard class customers have Comfortable seats in air-conditioned carriages. There is a 30 minute check-in. (Direct Ski and Direct Avignon passengers are advised 60 min check-in). Two bar buffets where passengers can purchase a wide choice of snacks, drinks and light meals.

Children and other age related discounts

The age of a child varies across Europe, depending on the country a child ticket may be required and valid between the ages of 3 and 11 years or 6 to 17 years. If anyone in your party is under the age of 18 years please give us an exact age and we will then work out the correct ticketing.

On some routes "youths" are entitled to discounts. A youth is aged under 26 years on the date of travel. However youth tickets are not always the cheapest and so again, we recommend that you advise us if anyone in your party is aged under 26 years and we will calculate the best fare. For anyone travelling substiantially within France a "12-25 Railcard" may be worth considering. Please ask for the current price.

Senior discounts are available to passengers over the age of 60 on some trains, occasionally over 65. As with youth fares, senior fares are not always the cheapest but do tell us if anyone in your party may qualify. The French "Carte Senior" may be worth considering if you intend to travel within France several times during a year.