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Post Tour Rail Travel from Vienna to Munich

The Rail Europe site would not allow me to see our two seat assignments until after I paid for our 2nd class tickets. I then discovered that our seat request was not honored and that we have been assigned seats very far apart from one another and their help bot says there is nothing I can do about it! I cannot try to move my wife and I closer together on the same train. I cannot upgrade if that is necessary. I cannot cancel and rebook for another time. I cannot even speak with someone in customer service? Frustrating! Anyone have any advice?

Posted by
5164 posts

My that does sound frustrating. It will be little comfort to you to be told this is why 3rd party sellers (rail Europe) are best avoided in favor of purchasing directly. Rail Europe does have a customer service number but you may need to wait until the holiday weekend is over to get through to them.

Unless your travel dates are immediate, I would just wait and contact their customer service on Tuesday or Wednesday. If you find that you still don’t have a satisfactory outcome, my next suggestion would be to go to the train station when you first arrive in Austria and see if the ticket agent there can’t help you sort this.

It may help to remember that the worst possible outcome here is that you and your wife sit apart for 4 hours. Not optimal, but not the end of the world either.

Posted by
1490 posts

Rail travel in Europe, lesson 101: Always buy the tickets from the company which operates the train, i.e. not from resellers, booking offices or travel agents.

As you have already paid a premium price for your tickets - a reseller won't offer you bargain tickets like €37 - don't worry about the seating. First of all, every seat in the cars of the train is marked when reserved. Feel free to walk through the train and take any seats not marked for reservation. Best would be that one of you waits with the luggage while the other is looking for free seats, giving a call when successful.

Otherwise you could go on OEBBs website - the company which most likely operates your train - and buy two seat reservations for €3 each for your train. You proceed like buying tickets, but in the final step you state "have ticket already" and continue with seat reservations. If the train is a RailJet then you can select the seats from the floor plan of the cars.

Posted by
3458 posts

Sorry , but I can't offer anything other than to echo Carol's comments . In future , don't purchase tickets from resellers .. I make this trip fairly often between Vienna and Munich , and buy the tickets from DB ( German Railways ) or Oebb ( Austrian State Rail ) Doing this trip again next Autumn .

Posted by
4690 posts

It will not be hard for you to find two unassigned seats and sit together on this journey. I have a feeling that you can still buy a seat reservation online at oebb.at for a few Euro if you plug in your train information. You can also go to the Hauptbahnhof in Vienna to the OEBB office the day before your trip and buy your seat reservation, again for a few Euro.

Next time, as others have said, buy your tickets from the actual train company - not a travel agency.

Posted by
3026 posts

I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I find myself scratching my head as to why the website sat you so far apart when it completed your order. Weird. If you ever talk to a real person, I would ask them if they know why that happened. I’m looking forward to hearing your report back as to how things work out.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for all of your replies. We were finally able to get our tickets. The German line was the real culprit as far as not being able to see our seat assignments until after we paid. So we bailed on that. The ÖBB Austrian line was not a problem for seat assignments but it did take three days and more online attempts than I can count to finally get the tickets paid for on one of our our credit cards. Impossible to speak with anyone by phone but finally got a customer service person via email. Although they tried to be helpful, they could not solve the payment problem. Visa and MC both assured me there were no security hold issues on my cards. Finally, after days of trying the charge went through. I was then able to get ÖBB to confirm via email that we did have the tickets and our seats. I would have tried to book in Austria but our connections are too tight to take a chance on finding trains fully booked. So, hopefully we’re good. Thanks again!.

Posted by
4690 posts

So did you lose money on your Rail Europe tickets? You should easily see the car and seat number on your OeBB ticket. Trains don’t sell out - that just isn’t a thing. If there are no seats, people stand. It’s not like an airplane where you show a ticket to board.