Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Would Somebody Please Tell Me...

...why it's so freakin' difficult to book a train ticket around here?

We are going to Paris this year for Christmas (the hotel's already booked), and we'd like to go on the TGV (only 3.5 hours from Basel to Paris). I tried to book it a couple of months ago, and the rail employee at Basel's main train station told me that I wouldn't be able to book it until October 9th. So, this morning I went to the train station, and the person told me that he couldn't do it and that I'd have to call a 900 number in order to book it.

This evening, I called the 900 number, and the lady told me that I wouldn't be able to reserve the tickets until two days from now - October 11th - and that I'd be able to do it at the train station. My conversation with her took less than two minutes, and the call cost CHF 2.30 (about $2.00).

All I want are two reserved first class seats, side by side, going to Paris on the 21st of December and returning on the 25th of December. Is that so hard?

I'm getting annoyed! Hello...Air France???

Mon dieu!

6 comments:

cncz said...

Oh no. Do you still have the jeep? Or are you bored and feel like taking the train to mulhouse?
Go buy them in France. You'll save like 30 percent on the tickets. WHen I lived in Zurich before the AG, even paying a half fare round trip ticket to Mulhouse to go buy the tickets still saved us money, and that was in the days of the SLOW train via Vesoul. You can even reserve them online at voyages-sncf.com and then go pick them up with the card you used to pay.

christina said...

Oh geez. And I thought Deutsche Bahn (which is sort of one strike now but only when they feel like it) was annoying.

Expat Traveler said...

yeah go across to St. Louis or check on sbb.ch too. Maybe you can buy online there.. We never had trouble but we never bought that far in advance.

The Big Finn said...

cncz - I still have the Jeep, but I have to admit that going to Mulhouse falls into the "can't be bothered" category for me. I'm happy to pay the SBB surcharge for the convenience of buying the tickets at Basel train station.

et - I did try to buy the tickets on sbb.ch (significantly cheaper), but the problem was that I'd have to buy two individual tickets under each of our accounts, and I wouldn't be able to guarantee that the seats will be together. I'll gladly pay the SBB in-person surcharge in order to ensure 3.5 hours of snugglin' with Mrs. TBF to and from Paris.

Samantha said...

Have you tried buying them directly from the SNCF site? They have an option where you can either print your tickets online, or they'll mail them to you for free (even outside of France, I believe).

The website is: voyages-sncf.com, and it's not that hard to navigate, even if your French isn't that hot....

J said...

I agree with Samantha. When I bought my ticket from Cologne to Paris last year (Thalys), I had to book it through the SNCF website and it was mailed to me (no extra charge).