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European Railroad Discussion > Dynamic Pricing on European First-Class Trains

Date: 09/25/18 15:14
Dynamic Pricing on European First-Class Trains
Author: reindeerflame

I have a number of European rail segments coming up in October, most of which were booked 3 to 6 months ago.  I thought I would compare the price I paid with the fares now being charged less than one week out to demonstrate the benefits of early booking.  The early fares are limited to specific trains, and in some cases may be canceled in advance of the travel date for a 19 Euro charge.

All prices quoted are for 2 persons in 1st class.

Amsterdam-Berlin:  119,80 Euros when booked; 299,80 Euros today.
Berlin-Fuessen (Bavaria):  87,80 Euros when booked; 195.80 Euros today.
Venice-Rome: 135,80 Euros when booked; 179,80 Euros today.
Rome-Naples: 86,80 Euros when booked; 95,80 Euros today.

The overall savings on these four segments amounts to 341 Euros, or about US$ 395 with the current exchange rate.

Sleeper fans will be happy to learn that our Munich-Venice sleeper, which we booked for 278 Euros in August, now shows as sold out.  A key irritation was how difficult it was to book the sleeper,and that our desired choice, the direct Munich-Rome sleeper, is not running at all on our travel date October 6.  Either is the Munich-Milan sleeper.  We finally had to settle for a sleeper compartment without shower on the Munich-Venice sleeper, which thankfully is running..  Both the Austrian and German railroads were generally unhelpful in responding to inquiries on whether any overnight service would be operating, responding with bureaucratic boilerplate.  Even the Man-in-Seat 61, who can be quite helpful, assured us that all these trains operate daily, as they have "for years" and asked us not to doubt that...and also not to book so early.  "Most Europeans book a trip like this no more than a few weeks out, but certainly not 6 months out".

Final observations:  shorter distance trips tend to have the same prices regardless of when booked, such as Fuessen-Munich.  Another short trip (Berlin-Leipzig) on the ICE actually dropped slightly in price.  But overall, it does pay to book early.

Three of our segments will have construction/maintenance underway, which is a record for me.  As a result, we will have 3 changes of train Amsterdam-Berlin, as the trains will not start in Amsterdam.  The announced schedule changed twice from the time we booked it.  Even though our tickets are for a certain departure, under German rules we can "take any train" if our booked service does not exist.  We made new seat reservations (without transportation tickets) on the new trains for an additional charge of Euro 4.50 each, and will plan to use our existing tickets for the transportation charge.

Date: 09/28/18 15:30
Re: Dynamic Pricing on European First-Class Trains
Author: Duna

Good info. There's some big savings to be had.

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